Personal Self-Care

For most of us, it's a matter of personal pride and dignity to care for our personal needs independently. In this section, we'll give you tips and techniques that can help you maintain your independence in a number of personal areas that are of prime importance, including:

VisionAware Peer Advisor Mary Hiland: Grooming My Eyebrows with Vision Loss

Mary Hiland

Peer Advisor
Mary Hiland

One of the most important pieces of advice I received from a counselor when I was a freshman at Ohio State University was that I needed to have my eyebrows shaped.

Back then, in 1963, there was no such thing as an office for students with disabilities, so I was sent to a professor of a course called "Exceptional Children" in the College of Education. She gave me a braille writer and some advice I have heeded ever since then.

A Helpful Mentor

Professor Hunt not only told me my eyebrows needed shaping, but she also took me to her beauty shop where she got hers done. As we walked, she pointed out landmarks and cues that I could use in remembering my way. The next time I went, I walked there myself. Because I had very little vision, I had to pay someone to wax my eyebrows, which other women could do for themselves, with some good tweezers and a mirror.

Waxing My Brows: How It's Done

My esthetician spreads warm wax on the part of my brows that need to be taken off. Next, she presses some cloth strips or special papers over that wax. The next part sounds painful, and it is! The strips are ripped off the area like a Band-Aid, and with the wax come all the unwanted eyebrow hairs. A good esthetician will do this quickly and then press the skin with fingers to ease the pain.

Finally, she spreads some soothing cream on the affected area to prevent redness. Yes, there is pain, but it only lasts for a few seconds, and then it's over.

There are no doubt more elaborate ways of dealing with shaggy or overgrown eyebrows, but many women like me still go through it on a regular basis. I do it every three weeks, even though friends might say my eyebrows look fine. I prefer to get them done before they grow out too much.

Readers please note: VisionAware does not recommend that you try this technique at home. We do recommend that you always visit a professional for waxing your eyebrows. Always request a patch test before waxing and discuss any health issues or medications with your esthetician.

Other Facial Hair

Now that I am much older, I routinely have to pluck chin and upper lip hairs, but these I can manage myself. With one hand, I locate the offending hair, and with the other hand and with the aid of a pair of blunt nose tweezers, I can usually grab the offending hair and yank it out. It’s important to use tweezers that have a flat nose, not pointed, so you have a little leeway with the exact location of the hair. For this reason, I keep track of my favorite tweezers and always keep them in a safe place.

There are days when I just can’t seem to grab that little hair poking up, so I resort to using a disposable razor. I just have to fight down the revulsion of the stigma of shaving my chin. But nobody knows, except for you. Getting old is not pretty, but a well-groomed face gets me a little closer to pretty!

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