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Dyspraxia and grooming

There are times when we all want to look our best. Fair or not we are judged by how we look. Woman in particular can spend hours on hair and make up. I have always admired those women who can do these amazing hairstyles or perfect make up. They look stunning. When you have dyspraxia these things can be difficult.. Looking nice is important to us all but so many grooming tasks involve skills that we struggle with.
Even at my age I still find this very frustrating.

Putting on make up requires the same skills as drawing and colouring in. The colour for my eye shadow and blush never goes quite where I want it to. When I try to draw a line with eye liner it is crooked and often I smudge it. I have even been known to poke myself in the eye with the mascara brush. AS I am sure you can imagine that is not a pleasant experience. I have to be careful or I end up looking like a panda bear. No matter how hard I try my lipstick seems to always go over the edge of my lips. everyone else makes it look so easy but when I try it never works.

My daughter tried to teach me to use an eyelash curler. The only thing I managed to do is to poke myself in the eye with it. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get hold of my eyelashes with the curler. She tried patiently to show me how to do it but it was obvious that I just wasn’t going to be able to do it.I think false eyelashes look great and I would love to wear them. Tahnee didn’t even try to show me how to put them on because we both know it just isn’t going to happen. To be completely honest I am just a little afraid that I may glue my eye closed. It may sound ridiculous but believe me it is entirely possible.

Putting on nail polish is another thing that can be difficult. It’s a bit like painting which people with dyspraxia tend to avoid. The worst thing is that when you put nail polish on your right hand you have to use your left hand to paint them. It doesn’t matter how hard I concentrate I always paint over the edges of my nails and get my fingers. It really is not a good look. Tahnee decided to put some false nails on me.She carefully glued them on for  me. I would never have been able to do it especially on my right hand.  They looked really good.
”How do you do anything with these on ?”I asked.
”Just use your fingers and not the nails” she said.
This would be a relatively simple task for most people but not for me. I just couldn’t co ordinate my fingers to avoid the nails. I had lost the first nail within an hour. Tahnee glued it back on but I lost it again. I was again left frustrated with yet another thing I couldn’t do to look nice.

I guess the only positive thing in all this is that 3 out of 4 people with dyspraxia are male and therefore don’t need to wear make up. They of course have a different problem -shaving. I hate shaving my legs and under my arms and I cant imagine having to shave your face everyday. All I can say on the subject of shaving is thank goodness the electric razor was invented.Anyone who thinks it is impossible to cut your self with a safty razor has clearly never met anyone with dyspraxia.

Doing my hair can be another area of difficulty. I have to have a simple hairstyle that I can just brush and leave. I never seem to do hair bands up tight enough and they end up falling out. My parting is often crooked and I cant seem to manipulate hair clips to go where they are supposed to. I have burnt myself with a curling wand on more then one occasion. I never seem to wind my hair in the right direction or tightly enough.
Curlers always seem to get caught in my hair.

Then there was the time my dentist decided to show me how to use dental floss. It was fine until he gave me the mirror and some dental floss and told me to do it. I tried and tried bit I could not get the dental floss between my teeth, It sounds ridiculous but i really can’t do it. If anyone else has problems with dental floss take heart. I cant remember what they are called but you can buy these plastic handles with a small piece of dental floss on,they were probably designed for children but they are much easier to use.

Unfortunatly there isn’t much we can do to improve this situation. If anyone has any tips or suggestions I would love to hear them. However short of winning the lotto and affording to pay someone to do my hair and make up ,I will just have to make the best of the situation


Sharon Beaumont

I am a single mother of 4 who has lived with dyspraxia for several decades. My hope is that by sharing my experiences I can help to raise awareness of dyspraxia. I trained as an Education Assistant but found some areas of this to be a difficult career if you have dyspraxia. Currently I am an Information Technology Student and am trying to teach my self to speak French. I love travel, writing and anything French.

  • Hi!
    I have just come across your page after frustratedly looking at youtube make up tutorials for hours on end and looking worse than when I started, just able to see again after drawing across my eye in liquid eyeliner.

    When I straighten or curl my hair I do it in layers using huge scrunchies and do something like getting a drink or cleaning make-up brushes between layers or my hands cramp up and I get frustrated from it not going how I want it to, I feel your pain, quite literally.

    Thanks for posting this sometimes you feel silly for not being able to do things as well as others so nice to read.

    Jessica Harvey

    January 15, 2016

  • Hi Jess.
    Thank you for your feedback. Problems doing hair and makeup are one of the most frustrating things I find with dyspraxia. Especially on special occasions. I have also tried hair and makeup tutorials and end up looking like a panda. It isnt fair because we all want to look our best. 🙁

    Sharon Beaumont

    March 2, 2016

  • I’m relieved to hear I’m not the only one struggling and flummoxed. It is very frustrating. I never feel as pretty as the other girls and am embarrassed about my makeup skills. My younger sister complained that I never helped her with makeup but she has to help with mine. Somehow I don’t even understand the processes but even when I do I can’t get anything even. I can’t even let nail varnish dry before smudging and ruining it.Sometimes I get so frustrated and upset I don’t even want to leave the house as I think it looks so awful. How do other females know how to do all these things? It would be great if there were one on one sessions with a makeup tutor for dyspraxics to practice VERY SLOWLY over and over. Unfortunately in our society makeup is an expected life skill so to have help with it would be wonderful.


    November 24, 2016

  • Hi Nicola,

    I totally agree help with makeup would be great. If it is a special occasion my daughter will sometimes help me. My makeup never seems to stay on or I smudge it and look like a panda.I avoid nail varnish . It is difficult enough to do with my right hand but when I need to use my left hand it is a complete disaster. It is frustrating as we are not on a even playing feild with other women.

    Sharon Beaumont

    December 29, 2016

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