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Towards the Realization of a Society That Helps Us Both Physically and Mentally Sound

Establishing the “Blind Makeup Lesson Program” with Visually Impaired Women
Visually Impaired Women Applying Makeup Without Using Any Makeup Tools
Japan Care Makeup Association

The Japan Care Makeup Association is striving to provide support for visually impaired women, who often shy away from applying makeup. By establishing the self-makeup program for those who can no longer do makeup even if they want to, who stopped applying it, or who have just given up trying.

A Full Makeup Possible in Just About 20 Minutes for Women Who Have Just Given up on Applying Makeup

Kaho Oishi, founder of Japan Care Makeup Association, launched the association in 2010 with a few visually impaired women. She has been working on the healthcare for the visually impaired through makeup, which improves the QOL (Quality of Life) of handicapped people such as the elderly, those with dementia and mental illness with most efforts going towards helping visually impaired women. It initially started in 2008, when Oishi, who has a beautician’s license, was working as a volunteer staff member for visually impaired women. She found that a lot of visually impaired women have given up on makeup application. She believes that makeup can potentially serve as a foundation for rehabilitation, increase the level of self-affirmation and confidence. All of this helps to encourage the women to go out more often and become more social. There were some ways to apply makeup for the visually impaired but they require special tools and assistance from others. Oishi looked for ways to do one’s makeup without assistance from others and came up with “Blind Makeup Lesson Program”, which just required their own hands and fingers as makeup tools. “The fingertips of visually impaired women are very sensitive,” she said, “Just put some powder on the fingertips and make sure the powder is placed on them. Using both of your hands like windshield wipers with the same pressure and the same speed, you can evenly apply eye shadow, eyebrow makeup and lipstick very well.

Approximately 120 visually impaired women have taken “Blind Makeup Lesson Program” so far. Among them were three totally blind transgender women, who said that they hadn’t tried it before but had always wanted to.

One of the staff members and a then student, Megumi Matsushita, lost her sight at the age of 41 due to retinal detachment. “I couldn’t keep the lipstick in place with conventional methods and I couldn’t shake off the pressure of how others saw me and I eventually lost confidence.” she said, “Then, I gave up on makeup, became hesitant to go out and stayed indoors more often, but then started taking the lessons hoping that I could at least focus on the lips with my limited sight.” Now Megumi has mastered a full makeup session in about 20 minutes. “Now more people find me more approachable asking, ‘Do you need any help?’” she says, “Maybe because I put on makeup and keep my appearance up, sending out message that I am, in fact, positive. To those who are having a hard time like I once was, now I’d like to make as many people as possible smile through the “Blind Makeup Lesson Program”

Becoming “Makeup Instructor”, Some of Whom Are Sighted People
Website Swamped by People Both from Japan and Abroad

A strong desire to spread “the blind makeup” that Matsushita and other staff members have has been realized with the support of the Pfizer Grant Program. Oishi said, “First of all, I started out by launching a website that made it possible for visually impaired women to listen to the content without viewing it on screen. The total average hits for website range from 20,000 to 50,000. Now it is inundated with requests and inquiries of the lessons not just nationwide but also from abroad, including Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore and others. Just the other day, a totally blind Peruvian woman named Wendi came all the way to see me and participated in the lesson, saying ‘I’ve always wanted to take the lesson since I found the website.’ She had a firm will to share blind makeup with her friends in Peru who are also visually impaired and worked very hard to translate a Japanese blind lesson textbook into Spanish.”

Oishi bases her head office in Osaka and provides private lessons. In light of the recent increasing demand from home and abroad for blind makeup, she has launched training workshops for the makeup instructor, who teaches visually impaired women how to apply blind makeup.

“Although the qualification targets sighted applicants, the training is going to be provided by the visually impaired women who have mastered the blind makeup. The word “visually impaired” can mean many things. It can mean total blindness, weak eyesight, congenital blindness to acquired blindness and so on and each person sees things differently. Each of them needs instruction that suits their needs and it is visually-impaired instructors’ job to communicate in an easy-to-understand way. In other words, it is significant for visually impaired women to provide blind makeup through the understanding of their situations.” One of the instructors in training makeup artists for visually impaired women, Fusae Onuki, is taking a lesson while working as an orthoptist at an ophthalmic clinic and she says, “Having been working as an expert for providing rehabilitation for 30 years, I was suddenly convinced by a totally blind woman when she said, ‘I feel wind and temperature totally differently when I’m wearing an eye mask and when I’m not.’ Then, I found out that you can actually “see” from the wind that blows your eyelash. Now I’m learning what we could not possibly have noticed at the medical front, things we tend to see from the sighted people’s point of view.

Mrs. H lost her eyesight when she was in the third grade in junior high school and she is also helping with the training workshops for makeup instructors that teach how to do blind makeup for visually impaired women. The workshop is amazing in that we work hand-in-hand with visually impaired women to find out how to make “blind makeup” easier to learn. It would be great if I could become a bridge between visually impaired women and sighted women.”

Strong Desire to Establish “Care Makeup”
The Contents of Counseling Released on the Website

After launching the website and receiving emails asking for counseling, which was initially answered one by one by replying via email, the contents were organized in the form of “Q&A” and released on the website. There are videos which are categorized by age group showing visually impaired women from their 20s to 70s applying blind makeup. “In addition to the release of the videos and the making of DVDs for instruction, I am thinking about providing workshops at various places to increase the number of makeup instructors and spreading “blind makeup” nationwide and abroad. Besides, I’m going to create multilingual webpages to meet the needs of people all around the world. I’m excited to interact with visually impaired women around the world through the blind makeup.” said Oishi enthusiastically.

One point to note is that academically speaking, “makeup therapy” has not fully been established as complementary and alternative medicine. To achieve this, Oishi has been dedicated to the research on therapy, rehabilitation, appearance care (*) in the form of makeup. “Working collaboratively with doctors, physical therapists and occupational therapists for further verification, I hope that blind makeup will become useful in a wide range of fields like medical care, nursing care, welfare and so on.” So Oishi has a great deal on her plate.

* Appearance care refers to any type of support professionals may provide to regain lost confidence for those who may have lost it due to illness, disorder, accidents and so forth.
Pfizer Program
Community Support and Public Research Support for the Healthcare of the Mind and Body

Pfizer Program is a social action program launched by Pfizer in 2000. With the grant provided to
the public activities and research that tackle various social challenges regarding “the healthcare of the mind and body”, which is something that cannot be met just by providing medicine. The program aims at realizing “a society that helps us become physically and mentally sound”. Since
its establishment, it has provided support for more than 300 projects. It has been giving aid for further development of public activities in cooperation with special non-profit corporations, Civil Society Initiative Fund in planning and administration.
http://www.pfizer.co.jp/
Japan Care Makeup Association

Japan Care Makeup Association was established in 2010 and it seeks to improve the OQL of women by making their desire to “be beautiful” through makeup into a reality. It provides support and care for those who have stopped wearing, cannot wear and have given up wearing makeup due to their disorder, illness, aging, dementia and so on. As part of their support, the association has been trying hard to spread “blind makeup”, which targets the visually impaired.

Website: http://www.caremake.jp/
Inquiry: info@caremake.jp

Here to donate:
Japan Post Bank
Account Number 14050-36804311
Japan Care Makeup Association