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A woman gets ready for her day by sitting in front of a magnifying mirror with makeup.

Makeup and Macular Degeneration: Application Tips and Tricks

Previously: Makeup & Macular Degeneration - Is It Safe?

Makeup application can really be a struggle for someone who’s losing their vision. Macular degeneration often causes loss of central vision and that, in turn, can make it hard to see what needs to be seen in order to apply makeup.

Makeup and macular degeneration

Does that mean those of us with vision loss can’t or shouldn’t wear makeup? Of course not! Some of us enjoy or prefer wearing makeup every day, while others wear it for special occasions. Have a date and want to wear makeup to accessorize your already beautiful self? You can! If you want to continue to wear makeup despite the challenges you face with macular degeneration, keep reading!

Tips and tricks for applying makeup with low vision:

1. Go neutral

Using neutral colors makes it much more difficult to see any mistakes made. Bright red lips or a dark eyeliner may be harder to apply than more neutral colors.

2. Ask for help

Do you have someone who can help you each day? Can they help you apply your makeup when needed? Or can they help you by doing a simple and quick check to make sure you didn’t get your mascara on your eyelid?

3. Use assistive devices to your advantage

There are magnifying mirrors that allow you to get really close and personal with yourself. I remember my mom having one of these when I was growing up and thinking, Whoa! Why? Now, I use mine all the time... especially for doing tedious things like plucking my eyebrows and applying eyeliner.

4. Seek good lighting

A bright, well-lit room helps so much when trying to apply makeup.

5. Go by feel

This one isn’t easy at first and takes some practice (more on this to come later), but it’s a helpful trick to have up your sleeve.

6. Play around with current trends and blend, blend, blend

I don’t know about you, but some of the latest makeup trends aren’t always that easy for me to apply. A smokey eye? I usually end up looking like I got punched in the face, so it’s important to play around with your desired look before the day of your event or date.


I recently wrote an article titled Makeup and Macular Degeneration: Is It Safe?. This article discusses how to safely continue wearing makeup despite a diagnosis of macular degeneration. Makeup can expire or harvest bacteria and mites so it’s important to follow safety tips in order to keep our eyes safe while wearing it.

Practice makes perfect

With the threat of losing my central vision constantly dangling over my head, I have really been trying to prepare myself for what happens next. When I have some extra time on the weekends or on my days off, I try to remember to practice putting makeup on with my eyes closed or with the bathroom lights off. This helps me to see just where I lack in my makeup skills.

When I make mistakes, I go to YouTube! Here, we can easily watch tutorials of visually impaired or blind individuals applying their makeup and giving tips. My personal favorite is by Molly Burke on her YouTube channel called 'Mirrorless Makeup'.

Permanent tattooed makeup

For anyone brave enough to try it, there is also always the option of having your eyeliner permanently tattooed onto your eyes. This can even be done in some doctor’s offices and not just in tattoo parlors. I have three tattoos, but I just don’t know that I could let the needle and ink that close to my eyes, as it is pretty painful and scary to think what might happen if the doctor were to slip.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

If you have any tips or tricks that I failed to mention, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to learn something new to try!

We don’t have to give up the things we love,

Andrea Junge

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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