Blind influencer Lucy Edwards: ‘I was open to the beauty world before the beauty world was open to me’

Lucy Edwards chats to Prudence Wade about how her relationship with make-up changed after losing her sight.

Lucy Edwards’ relationship with make-up shifted when she became blind
Lucy Edwards and her guide dog Lucy Edwards’ relationship with make-up shifted when she became blind

Influencer and disability activist Lucy Edwards’ wedding day was unique, as her now-husband walked down the aisle blindfolded.

Edwards is blind, and says the decision to blindfold her sighted partner Ollie Cave last year was down to her mixed emotions about that wedding tradition.

“The stereotypical ‘walking down the aisle and seeing your bride for the first time’, that was quite painful for me in some ways, because we didn’t want the narrative to be that,” Edwards, 28, explains.

“We also wanted to take the control in our hands, knowing that Ollie’s life and my life is, in so many ways, such a non-visual one and we see beauty in that.”

She says the blindfolding was their way to “make a stand that he sees my blind life as just as valid as a sighted life”, and he initially got to experience her wedding dress the same way she did, through what Edwards refers to as “finger eyes”.

Aged eight, Edwards was diagnosed with sight loss related to a rare genetic condition called incontinentia pigmenti following a routine visit to Specsavers. In 2013, she underwent a major operation in a bid to save her sight, but afterwards she could see close to nothing and is now blind.

Before going blind, Edwards says that while there was “so much worry about my disability at home and my whole childhood was going to the eye hospital”, she also remembers wildly experimenting with beauty at the same time.

She was constantly dyeing her hair and playing around with make-up, something her peers weren’t necessarily allowed to do.

Edwards with her husband, Ollie Cave
Edwards with her husband, Ollie Cave

Edwards suggests it’s because her mother thought she “might not see herself [in the future]. We always had that looming.”

While Edwards admits “I’d always be that one who had make-up and beauty at the forefront of my mind”, things changed when she became blind.

“When I first lost my vision, I thought it [beauty] wasn’t for me. There was nothing online that was accessible in terms of content – I couldn’t follow the tutorials anymore,” she says.

“It was so scary to be blind, and so scary to be branded with all these stereotypes: blind people are frumpy, blind people don’t wear nice clothes, because they can’t pick them themselves. And blind people don’t wear make-up, because they don’t really care about what they look like because they can’t see in a mirror any more.

“All of these were making me drown a little bit.”

Birmingham-based Edwards had to learn so many new things as a blind woman – how to use a guide dog, pour a cup of tea and more. While it was all “overwhelming”, she says one of her priorities was remastering beauty.

“I was like, I need to find my sense of self again. I am Lucy – I’m blind Lucy now, but I need to understand that I don’t have my sight. How am I going to do this make-up and feel my sense of self again?”

The road to learning make-up as a blind woman was a tricky one.

“I would spend hours and hours – no exaggeration,” she remembers. “My sister would audio describe tutorials to me and I’d spend hours on one tutorial. I would go back and forth, back and forth to her room – her room was next door to mine – and I’d be like: ‘Alice, have I blended in the foundation?’

“I spent hours on one application of one thing. And she’d tell me the truth – she’d be like, ‘Lu, it’s really, really orange’. And then I’d cry.”

It might seem harsh, but Edwards adds: “I love that about her, and I love that about my family – they are so blunt, but that was what I needed at the time, even though I didn’t know it.”

She’s so appreciative of the time her sister spent audio describing things to her, but says it highlighted a stark fact: “I was open to the beauty world before it was even open to me.

“In 2024, I am the face of Pantene, but that wasn’t my reality 10 years ago when I lost my vision. It wasn’t like that, I didn’t see anyone out there that was going through the same thing as me.”

Slowly but surely, Edwards built up her confidence, particularly when she mastered eyeliner and eyeshadow. She posted her first ‘get ready with me’ video in 2014, and was blown away by the response, remembering comments like: “I didn’t expect a blind person to be on a visual platform doing their make-up.”

Now, Edwards has 1.8m followers on TikTok and 196k on Instagram, where she posts about all aspects of life as a blind woman. She’s written the book Blind Not Broken, backs disability charity Sense and co-hosts a podcast with her husband, But I’d Never Marry A Blind Woman.

So how far has the beauty industry come in the decade since Edwards lost her vision?

“As a whole, we’re seeing more representation in campaigns and people wanting to take diversity and inclusion initiatives more seriously,” Edwards says.

“I think ultimately, we’re not seeing the product representation that we need. I’m still ferreting around my make-up bag, spending hours Braille labelling everything that I need, or strategically buying different products – my powder is Charlotte Tilbury and that feels a certain way. And my bronzer is Nars, which is a square not a circle.

“I don’t have the luxury of being able to buy one brand, because I get so confused.”

While some areas of the beauty industry are progressing – such as Pantene bottles having the addition of NaviLens codes to boost accessibility in store – she says it’s time for the make-up world in particular to get “a kick up the bum”.

Lucy Edwards and her husband Ollie Cave are supporting Sense and its Sensational Tea Party fundraiser. To find out how you can get involved and host a tea party, visit