I have been extremely short-sighted most of my life. Not a little short-sighted, but really, really, short-sighted. Without my glasses, my focal point is so close to my nose my eyes cross and I can’t actually focus. Unless I have my glasses on or contacts in, I am functionally blind. I can see colours and vague blurry blobs which my brain translates into objects for me, but only if I happen to know, or can make an educated guess about, what they are.
I often mistake my black backpack for my black dog. I discover the mistake when the bag unexpectedly growls at me.
Without contact lenses, I can’t easily apply make-up because I can’t see what I’m doing. I can’t get close enough to the mirror to focus without the brush or wand or whatever I’m using bumping the mirror. About the only thing I can manage is tinted moisturiser (blends easily with fingers), clear eyebrow gel and mascara (the brushes go sideways, so they fit between me and the mirror, and the lack of pigment means I can’t muck it up) and lip stain. If I’m really desperate, I can whip my glasses on and off while I dab at my face, but it’s time consuming and I still can’t do my eyes properly.
More recently, another issue has arisen: even when my contacts are in, I can’t see my reflection clearly because I’ve developed age-related long-sightedness. Close to the mirror, I can’t focus. Farther away, I can’t see detail. Aargh.
So now I have a magnifying mirror, and I’ve found it works fairly well when I have my contacts in. But there are days when I simply can’t wear my contacts, whether because I’m tired or ill or have hayfever, and on those days I’m stuck with the same problem as with the regular mirror: glasses off, can’t see; glasses on, can’t do eyes. And of course, the days on which I can’t wear my lenses are the days on which I really feel like I want make-up – usually because I look tired or ill or both.
Solution: on days without contacts, stick to stuff that can’t go wrong. Tinted moisturizer, clear mascara and brow gel, luminous powder dusted on with a kabuki brush, a pretty lip stain and loose hair. Luckily the glasses hide the eye bags.
[3 December 2015]
Other adventures in make-up