Make-up & Limited Mobility

Make-up & Limited Mobility

“Come on Maddi, we’ve got to get moving. We’re meeting your sister for dinner in 30 minutes,” my mom yells up the stairs. I’m looking in the mirror, adjusting my skirt. “That wasn’t so bad,” I tell myself. I managed to get myself dressed for dinner without any assistance.  Now for the hard part – makeup!

I move over to the vanity and pick up my makeup brush with a shaky, tenuous grasp. How on earth am I going to do this?

I‘m left-handed, but after I suffered a stroke that left (pun intended) me paralyzed on the left side, I had to rely more on my non-dominant right hand to complete tasks. I found myself using my right hand a lot more than I ever had before. Until I built up new strength and coordination with my left hand, I would not be able to use it to write, type, or put on my makeup. I had to find a way to compensate.

Having a beauty routine has always been important to me, and I had always enjoyed the transformation that accompanied my makeup routine. But after my stroke, I had much bigger things to worry about then putting on makeup. I didn't even begin to consider the option again until many months later, and when I did, I decided that I wasn’t going to let the fact that I had a stroke stop me from looking and feeling my best. I desperately wanted to get back to the “normal” activities I had once taken for granted. And if I didn't always necessarily feel 100%, I decided that at the very least I could look like I was. 

Learning to apply makeup after my stroke was a huge hurdle. Since my dominant hand was paralyzed, I had to teach myself how to use my right hand to put on the makeup, and I very quickly learned that I lacked even the most basic level of coordination with my right hand. I guess this just goes to show how much I relied on my left hand for everything.

So I started practicing. Every morning for months, even if I didn't have anywhere to go, I would sit down at my vanity and practice penciling on my eyeliner and brushing on my mascara. And after many a stray mascara line, I gained confidence and a (slightly) steadier hand. I adapted. 

Long-term goal would be to engage both of my hands equally in the makeup process, but until then I am learning to use my right hand. Because applying makeup can be rather challenging for a stroke survivor, I was ecstatic to learn that L’Oreal developed the HAPTA, a smart and precise lipstick applicator for users with limited hand dexterity. I am very excited about the launch of this new technology to assist people like me with limited arm and hand mobility to execute the basic everyday task of applying lipstick. Putting on makeup shouldn’t be hard, it should be enjoyable. I look forward to trying the HAPTA and seeing how this exciting innovation eases the stress of applying lipstick for users with disabilities.

Maddi at the Go Red Fashion Show, hosted by the Bridgewater Mall in conjunction with RWJ Barnabus Health and featuring all heart disease and stroke survivor models. Follow Maddi @maddistrokeofluck
Models at the Go Red Fashion Show

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