Applying makeup when you have Parkinson's

Some people with Parkinson’s have a tremor or struggle with dexterity, which can make it more difficult to apply makeup. Here we share tips that may help. 

  • Sit down at a dressing table or bathroom counter for example, rather than standing up. If you have a tremor, resting your elbow on a surface can help give you more stability.
  • Use a mirror on a wall or stand so it will stay in a fixed position.   
  • Consider using palettes that can be opened without using much force. Slimmer-style or single palettes can be more fiddly to open.
  • Pump-style bottles can be easier to dispense liquid makeup, such as foundation, from rather than tubes. 
  • Use brushes that are thicker as they can be easier to grip. You can also try putting a rubber band on the end of a brush to help with grip. 
  • Creams can be easier to blend than powder, so you might find cream eye shadow or blusher for example, easier to use.  
  • Using a mascara shield that you hold over your eye can help stop smudges when you apply mascara. 
  • Think about what part of your makeup routine takes you the longest to do and start with that area first. For example, eye makeup may involve more precise movements, so start with this first when your hands are strongest.
  • If you find it difficult to apply lipstick carefully, you may find it easier to put some on your finger and use your finger to apply it to your lips. 
  • For eye liner, aim for short strokes on your eye lid and then you can connect these lines, rather than doing a single line in one go. 
  • If you smudge makeup as you put it on, use a cotton bud with a small amount of makeup remover on to tidy up areas at the end. 
  • Take your time and don’t rush. 

An occupational therapist can show you different ways to do a task more easily, or give you advice about using strategies, techniques, gadgets, or equipment where you need them. Find out more about occupational therapy.