Adaptive Makeup tips and hacks for people with fine motor weakness disabilities.

When makeup is used to enhance a person’s natural beauty, it can be incredibly empowering. This is especially true for people living with chronic conditions & disabilities. As the saying goes, when you look good you feel good, and when you feel good, you look good. No matter who you are, finding a good makeup trick or two goes a long way.

If you’re a makeup junkie like I am, (sandwiched between pilates & facials in my monthly “self-maintenance” expenses) there’s nothing that a trip to Sephora can’t at least temporarily fix.

In my insecure moments, (like on a dance floor when I look & feel uncoordinated) reapplying  the perfect shade of bold lipstick gives me the shot of confidence I need. When I have slept poorly due to neuropathy pain (or from worrying about my kids getting hurt & 101 other things I can’t control), a quick dab of under-eye concealer (and 3 cups of strong coffee) helps me to look awake and feel somewhat human.

Makeup can be transformative both physically and emotionally. A simple swipe of bronzer has the power to not only bring color to pale cheeks, it can also reflect & radiate positive energy, bringing warmth to our lives.

But for many of us living with hand grip issues, tremors, and neuropathy due to conditions like MS, CMT, Arthritis, & Parkinson’s (to name a few), finding adaptive makeup brushes and tools that we can use (without looking like a 3 year old did our makeup), can be a challenge. If you have fine motor deficits, you will likely relate to my Post, How To Get A Grip When You Literally Can’t.

But fortunately (and finally), times are changing. With the recent interest in adaptive fashion (see my list of adaptive fashion stores here), several beauty brand companies have hopped on board the inclusivity train. Here are a few of them along with some of my favorite disability friendly makeup products and hacks:

Grace Beauty

adaptive makeup tip or hack
adaptive makeup tip or hack
adaptive makeup tip or hack

Grace Beauty is a new brand scheduled to launch soon. Designed specifically for beauty lovers with disabilities, Grace has created a line of makeup tube & bottle attachments to help people with fine motor challenges achieve better grip and control of their makeup products. These adaptive makeup products are exciting to me!

Grace’s first product line focuses on mascara attachments. They will offer three different styles of attachments; The Ring Grip, best suited for people who have an extremely weak grip, the Safe Grip, designed for better control, and the Square Grip, which attaches to both sides of your mascara tube, making it easier to open and hold!

Please note that I have not personally seen or tested Grace Beauty’s products myself (not for lack of trying) and cannot completely recommend. But, the concept is awesome!

Fortunately, although my hands aren’t great (I have a progressive neuromuscular disease called CMT), I am able to apply mascara without needing special attachments. I have found that the shape of both the mascara brush and the casing can make all the difference. I can’t wait to try these adaptive makeup brushes!

adaptive makeup tip or hack

I’m currently loving Benefit’s (full size) BadGal Bang Mascara with it’s textured ridges & amazing brush, as it provides awesome grip and when used in combination with my Easy DIY mascara shield hack. I get killer lashes without the typical smudges all over my face & clothes.

Pump It Up

adaptive makeup tip or hack

If holding small objects is not in your wheelhouse of skills, then pump bottles of any kind should be in your toolbox of “things that make life easier”.

From foundations to skincare products, pump style bottles are the way to go. Instead of twisting or gripping, the subtle movement of pushing down on a lid can easily dispense your favorite product. Most liquid makeup or skincare products can be depotted (removed from its original container and transferred to something more practical) and placed in a pump style bottle to make them accessible .

I’m a big fan of Drunk Elephant’s Airless Pump Moisturizers. Not only are they easy to use, they also dispense the just right amount of product so you’re not over using and running out of expensive skin care products every month. The ingredients are all vegan and non-toxic and the company states they are “dedicated to customer’s internal health and external skin care health…If there’s any DOUBT, it’s OUT.”

The Eyes Have It

adaptive makeup tip or hack
adaptive makeup tip or hack

Does your attempt at a smokey eye or winged eyeliner leave you looking like you just left the football field or boxing ring? Or, maybe your fine motor challenges have prevented you from experimenting with eye makeup all together?

If this is the case, you may want to try one of Lancolm’s extra long eyeliners . They come in a ton of different fun colors like mossy green, dusty purple, and signature black, so you can play up your eyes with a bold pop of color or stay classic and neutral with black. They do need to be sharpened. Although they say not to use regular electric sharpener on eye pencils (they are soft and can get destroyed), I used mine with this pencil and it was fine. I also use these easier to grasp and twist dual sided sharpeners that I found on Amazon.

If hand tremors have been holding you back from trying the winged eyeliner look, there’s another cool product that’s helping people with disabilities do their makeup. The Vamp Stamp was founded by celebrity makeup artist and co-founder of the Beauty Blender, Veronica Lorenz.

Veronica herself experienced fine motor deficits after she was diagnosed with a benign spinal cord tumor in 2013 . Veronica created The Vamp Stamp to help make putting on makeup easier for others with disabilities.

adaptive makeup tip or hack
adaptive makeup tip or hack

So I went to my local Ulta to test the Vava Voom Winged Vamp Stamp   (that’s me in the image above) I really like the stamp part (although it could be longer) but the problem was with the eyeliner pods. If a product aims to help people with fine motor problems put on makeup, then why would they not think to use something other than eyeliner pods with tiny caps that have to be held and twisted on and off? Fortunately, Vamp Stamp does sell their stamp by itself which you can use with any eyeliner of choice. Hmmm, I have an idea. I wonder if the stamp would work as well if it was dipped into moistened eyeshadow pads instead of annoying liquid eyeliner pods? Definitely worth another trip to Ulta to experiment…don’t ya think?

Speaking of Caps

adaptive makeup tip or hack
adaptive makeup tip or hack
adaptive makeup tip or hack

If you struggle with opening small makeup products, removing caps and holding onto things, here’s some simple hacks: Rubber tubing or pencil grips! They fit onto anything that is round and shaped like a pencil. Think eyeliners, liquid lipsticks, even some eyebrow products. Place a rubber grip on the end and now your favorite makeup product is easier to open. Another easy hack for getting a better hold on makeup and tools (Think perfume bottles & nail polish bottles) is to tie rubber bands onto them. Or, (this is my favorite one) you could always use a universal ring holder attachment 

Invest in the Right Makeup Brushes

adaptive makeup tip or hack
adaptive makeup tip or hack

A good makeup brush is an essential in every woman’s life. If you struggle with neuropathy issues or arthritis, look for makeup brushes that are longer and thicker to help with comfort and grip. I use the amazing Artis makeup brushes but there are several less expensive versions.

My favorite makeup tool is my long handled beauty sponge as it allows me to blend my eyeshadows and clean up mistakes, which there are typically a ton of. Speaking of mistakes, I just started using these Makeup Remover Cloths at night and love how easily they take off my makeup, even waterproof mascara.

Conclusion

I hope this post has inspired you to grab your makeup brushes (or buy some new ones) and start your day looking and feeling great!  Did you learn anything new? Do you have any makeup tips or hacks? I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments section below.

Xoxo

Lainie

13 Comments

  1. I’m so happy I found this website. I struggle with putting on makeup and getting dressed. I am gonna try some of these tips and products. I’ll be following from now on. Thank you

  2. Love the rubber band idea for nail polish. I’ve been using the round grippers to open up jars. Also, thanks for the long brush and sponge handle idea. Great info!
    xoxo
    Tori

    • Tori,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read & comment. I’m so glad you got something from the Post. Try the sticky cell phone ring grips too. They work similar to what I would imagine the Grace attachment will. ?

  3. My strength and coordination do not play nicely together, so putting on perfume is a challenge. I’ve learned to buy spray perfume only. I set it on the front of my vanity with the opening facing me. I then lean over and use pressure from my chin to spray the perfume. This position gives a direct hit to my upper chest area.

  4. You have listed some great tips here. I use the rubber band tip almost daily to open jars and bottles. Every home should have a drawer with some rubber bands.

  5. Just found Eyemajic! Eyeshadow stencils, you pick your colour trio, press and slide on eye and your shadow is ON! You can blend and play after it you want but the hard part is done in seconds! I’ve bought the matte one, you get 5 stencils in a box so I’m hoping this is going to solve my bad makeup technique and lack of skills! ?

    • Dolly, I just saw this…not sure why it didn’t notify me. I’m excited about this…How is it going? Will you send a video to my email & show others? Xo Lainie

  6. Thank you so much for this blog! I use grippers on my pencils and spoons, but it didn’t even occur to me to use them on makeup brushes for some reason. You’ve just given me one of my joys back. I’ve lost 25% of hand functionality and it’ll only get worse. Makeup is the only thing that gives me a modicum of confidence and I was depressed being unable to use it much. Thank you so much for these tricks and products I can switch to as I need to.

    • Hi Miranda,

      Your comment made me cry. I’m beyond happy that this blog found its way to you & that has helped you will be able to implement a hack you already know to makeup. I’m excited for you to have that joy of putting on & wearing makeup again and hope a little normalcy and the dose of confidence makeup brings will help you get your groove back. I also suggest using an elevated cushion or stacked books etc to be able to use as an arm rest when putting on your makeup. This may help you to get a better grip without having to lift and tire your arm etc. .please let me know how it goes! Seriously …I would really love to know – 💜 Lainie

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