Beauty masterclass helps make retail accessible

Blind and partially sighted (BPS) people in Greater Manchester were given the opportunity to gain some top tips on how to apply makeup and skincare at a beauty masterclass.

The event, organised by Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council (SLC) in partnership with Manchester Arndale, welcomed some big brands including Morphe, Boots, Kiehl’s Skincare, and Lancôme.

BPS attendees were invited to spend time with the makeup and skincare technicians to gain top tips and advice, and build shopper confidence. Ahead of the event, Greater Manchester SLC delivered vision awareness sessions to all technicians to raise awareness of how to best support blind and partially sighted customers.

A make-up artist with Greater Manchester SLC member, Ada Eravama. Ada is applying product to her cheek with the assistance of the makeup artist.

A make-up artist with Greater Manchester SLC member, Ada, who is applying blusher.


Building confidence

Rachael Foley, Greater Manchester SLC member, said:

“The event was amazing. It was great to see makeup and skincare brands joining together and demonstrating to blind and partially sighted people that it is possible to apply makeup and skincare products when you have limited or no vision.

“For me, it was great to be able to ask the skincare experts which products would best suit my skin type. I also got makeup advice on how to apply eyeshadow, blusher and lip gloss.”

Mary Gilbertson, who is also a member of the Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council, added:

“This event has increased my confidence to go into Manchester independently and shop for makeup.”

Anthony Gough, Greater Manchester SLC member, discussing skin care products during the make up event. They are seated at a desk, the technician is holding an iPad.

Anthony Gough, Greater Manchester SLC member, talking to a skincare specialist during the event

Making retail accessible

This event was organised as part of Greater Manchester SLC’s ‘make retail accessible’ project.

They created the event to increase the confidence of BPS people when shopping for and applying makeup and skincare products.

SLC members also wanted to make brands more aware of the challenges that BPS people face. This is so that, when they meet visually impaired customers, they are better able to support them.

Gill Currie, SLC member, said:

“For me, being part of this event was a great experience. All the makeup and skincare technicians were so friendly and encouraging. I personally learnt a great deal about applying makeup.”

Debbie Ross, Business Manager for Kiehl’s in Boots, Market Street, Manchester, said:

“The event really well. The guests loved engaging with us and talking to us about their skin concerns. Many said that after seeing us, they would have the confidence to come and see us in store for further advice.

“We were able to give people complimentary samples to take away and everyone loved this.”

Throughout the event attendees could move round the different brands. They were also shown in a non-visual way how to apply makeup and skincare products. For some, this was for the very first time.

A makeup artist with attendee, Naomi Ullmann. Naomi is talking to the makeup artist, whilst holding a lip gloss brush up to her lips ahead of application.

Naomi, one of our attendees at the make-up event, with a make-up artist

Building on our success

Kelly Barton, SLC Engagement Manger North West, said:

“We were delighted to put this event together. We know how important makeup and skincare is to many blind and partially sighted people. But also recognise that some people just don’t have the confidence to give it a go.

“It was great that people who came along to the event could try makeup for the very first time, whilst others got to try something new. We are hoping that, following this event, we can now work towards organising a styling event that will include clothes brands too.”

Deborah Hatfield, Marketing Manager at Manchester Arndale, said:

“It was a pleasure to host the first beauty event at Manchester Arndale.  Our ongoing relationship with Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council is so important and key to making retail more accessible.”


Kelly Barton, Engagement Manager for the North West, photographed talking to a Lancome representative. An attendees is shown sitting in the background during her one to one with a skincare specialist.

Kelly Barton, Engagement Manager for North West England, photographed talking to a Lancome staff member

Join us

Passionate about making a difference? Want to influence positive change? Our Sight Loss Councils, led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, are recruiting new members. Join us today!

We use our lived experience to create positive change for others. Together, we tackle local issues and work with businesses and service providers to improve the accessibility of their services.

Join us to help ensure visually impaired people in your area can live the lives they want to lead.

You’ll get the opportunity to create positive change for others, meet like-minded people, have a voice, feel valued, receive training and learn or enhance your skills. If you’re interested in public speaking or honing your social media skills, there’s something for everyone to get involved in.

Join us

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Publication date: 16 October 2023

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