10 Tips for Doing Makeup When You Have Limited Fine Motor Control


Having a love for makeup can be tough when you have a disability that affects your hand-eye coordination and your fine motor skills. Dyspraxia affects my ability to grasp my makeup tools in the correct way, and my constantly shaking hands mean that winged eyeliner — and sometimes even lipstick – is the hardest thing in the world.

Just because these things are hard, it doesn’t mean I can’t do them. I’ve practiced long and hard to do my makeup to a standard that is both fun and professional, and my determination has recently landed me a job as a makeup artist for Estee Lauder. But while I would say I’m good at doing my makeup, each morning is met with frustration when something doesn’t go my way.

Below I have put together my top 10 tips for doing makeup when you’re dyspraxic – or if you have another condition that affects your fine motor skills.

Tip 1: Ditch the foundation brush.

Although many makeup artists and beauty gurus have long moved on to beauty blenders, when you’re starting out a brush seems like the
most logical way to put on makeup. Because of the way I grasp brushes, I found it was easier to simply move on to using a beauty blender or my hands. Both are legitimate ways to apply foundation – and your hands can be a more effective tool than you think! You can get a more natural finish using your fingers, as your natural body temperature warms the foundation up and makes it easier to apply.

Tip 2: Celotape is your best friend.

This is actually a fairly common technique when it comes to doing winged eyeliner – but it makes all the difference. Through this, I’ve managed to learn how to do wings without the use of tape. The tape allows you to decide what angles you want your wings at, and how long you want them. It also allows you to make all the mistakes without messing up your makeup! On days where my hands are particularly shaky, or when my dyspraxia is particularly bad, I always go to this method for help. It makes all the difference. Tape also applies to doing eyeshadow when you want a super neat edge!

You can either use normal tape, or you can invest in tape just for doing your makeup – they come in a variety of colors, and some even do rainbow colored tape!

Tip 3: Brows

The easiest way I’ve found to do my brows is using a very precise brow pencil – specifically the ones you can twist up. I get lazy sharpening normal eyebrow pencils, so twist up pencils are a godsend. They’re easy to use, and as they have such a small tip it makes it less likely for you to mess up. However, just this on its own won’t make brows perfect. After doing your brows, use a tiny bit of concealer to clean up underneath. This will give you a clean, defined brow.

Tip 4: Blending eyeshadow

Blending eyeshadow can be a bitch. This is why I like to stick with using a limited number of brushes when it comes down to it – specifically two fluffy brushes and a flat brush. I use one fluffy brush to apply color, and the other to blend out to help me get a seamless blend. The flat brush I use to add color when I feel it needs to be stronger – but I always go back to using the fluffy brush to blend.

Tip 5: Blush

When I apply blusher or bronzer, there is only one way to do this for me – have separate brushes for blusher and bronzer, and then have
another big brush to blend it all out. Using one brush for each has led me to find that the blush will be uneven or unblended. After applying and blending the best I can with the first brush, I go in with a clean, large fluffy brush to help it look more flawless.

Most importantly, stay away from liquid blush. I have yet to figure out a way for my dyspraxic self to make this look good and blended.

Tip 6: Sit Down

If you’re like me and you don’t have a space like a desk to do your makeup on, and only have a long standing up mirror, don’t do your makeup standing up. Sit down in front of the mirror and do it – this will allow you to steady your hands, and you won’t have to hold things when doing any part of your makeup. You can simply put it down on the floor, and then focus on what you’re applying.

Tip 7: Organize yourself

Dyspraxia and organization don’t exactly go hand in hand, but I’ve found doing makeup in the morning a lot easier since I organized my makeup into categories: face, eyes, brows, lips. This allows me to follow a structured routine with my makeup, and allows me to remember to put products on (such as mascara – before I organized my makeup, it was the one thing I always forgot to put on).

Tip 8: Lipstick

Take. Your. Time. Don’t rush putting lipstick on, whether it’s a bullet lipstick or a liquid lipstick. Learn the shape of your lips, and apply slowly and carefully. Rushing can lead to many mistakes.

Applying a lipliner can also help with the application – but again, go slowly with the lipliner. Apply to the bottom lip first, starting in the center and working your way to the corners. On the upper lip, make a cross with the lipliner where your cupid bow starts, and then line your upper lips from there. A lipliner can help your lipstick look neat, and prevent it from running.

Tip 9: Conceal

Concealer is your best friend. Made a mistake? A little dab of concealer can help you fix it right up.

Tip 10: Don’t Rush

Take your time. You aren’t going to become a makeup guru overnight. Practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and give yourself time to get used to a new technique. Don’t let people tell you that because you have problems with your motor skills, or because you’re dyspraxic, you can’t do certain things.

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Thinkstock image by Didecs.


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