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My Makeup Routine

There is a sign in the office of my electrologist that says "Electrolysis is a commitment to yourself for yourself." In so many ways, I can relate this to other parts of my life. There are few things in this world that you can be really proud of that do not require dedication. Looking good is no different - it takes dedication. Sure, we all want to be beautiful with a flip of a switch, but there is joy to be had in the journey to becoming what we desire.

Although I am the first admit that I am no makeup artist, I have learned a few things over the years that tend to work fairly well with me. I picked up some things from friends. I picked up other things when I had professional makeovers. I picked up more from reading the websites from other gals. I also picked up some more from Kevin Aucoin book Making Faces. It is my hope that you might pick up a thing or two by reading about it. If you have any suggestions, I'd like to hear them.

Makeup can be really fun. I truly enjoy the primping that goes with making me look pretty. I like it more when the results are good. Fortunately, I had another t-girl to help me early on. She was my "Drag Mom" who taught me the basics of makeup, CD tricks for passing, and most importantly, it is OK to be transgender!

With me, my transformation starts with body hair - or should I say, getting rid of body hair. I don't like it on a girl and I don't like it on me when I am a girl.

First, I take my "beard trimmer" and trim off most of the hair on my body, leaving only around 1/4 - 1/2 inch of hair. I even trim my eyebrows. No girl looks good with caterpillars for eyebrows. Even guys with neatly trimmed eyebrows look better. Just don't trim them down too much that the hairs do not overlap. What works really well is to trim them to a fairly long length and then hold them in place using clear mascara. When using clear mascara on the brows, it is best to do so after appling your foundation.

I pick up bleach cream at my local pharmacy (the CVS brand is good, Jolene works well too). You find it is the section near hair dyes and bikini wax. It is essentially chlorine and cold cream.

I use the entire batch on my entire body from the neck down. After 20 minutes or so, take a quick shower to get the bleach off your skin and you find that all of your body hair is blonde and much less noticeable. With short, blonde hair, you look fairly feminine enough but still have some hair left for when you go back to boy mode.

I usually don't stop there as I enjoy a perfectly smooth body without any hair except on my head... I continue by drawing myself a nice HOT bath and pour myself a glass of wine. With my Schick Intuition razor, I shave my body - my legs, chest, arms, underarms, etc. The nice thing about trimming and bleaching before shaving is that if I miss something, it likely will not to be noticed.

If I am attending a conference, I use an epilator to rip the hair from my body. After an epliation, I can go for a week without shaving. I try to epilate a few days in advance since this can be a painful experience that leaves me red and bumpy like a plucked chicken for a day or so.

Next comes removing the beard and you need a close shave - and don't even try with a cheep disposable razor. Go out and buy a Mach3 Turbo. Pull your skin taught as you shave to maximize how much hair your remove. Wash your face again and then wait at least twenty minutes to allow any nicks to stop bleeding. Even if you don't see any nicks, they are still there!

Follow up with clear gel antiperspirant. I apply this all over my face and neck. I do this so that if I am out dancing I won't start perspiring and ruin my makeup. Although not a 100% guarentee, using antiperspirant under the makeup works remarkably well.

After I allow the antiperspirant to dry, I apply moisturizer. I use it all over my face and neck - including my forehead and eyelids. It is really important to do this in order to make your makeup go on smoothly. I like Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer. Not only is it a good moisturizer, but it also doubles as a sunless tanning lotion. It comes in three shades to closely match your current completion.

Next comes the foundation. Many people use Dermablend as a beard cover. It is good if you have rough skin, discolorations, lots of dark hair visible under the skin or just want very complete coverage. You can get it at the Macys. You can also read about it on their website. Personally, I have found the Dermablend cream to be better that the jar product. If you don't have a really heavy beard that requires a lot of camouflage, you may be better off with a product that is less heavy. Better yet, I recommend finding a good makeover professional (who does drag, such as Jamie Austin or Amanda Richards) to get something better from them. I end up getting mine from makeup artists who give makeovers at different conferences. I have friends that swear by various MAC products... I buy two colors of the cream. The first color should match my beige skin tone as closely as possible or be slightly lighter. The second color is "red." If you can't find "red" colored beard cover, red lipstick can be used as a substitute.

I put a small amount of the beige beard cover cream on the back of my hand. My body heat warm it up and soften it so that it goes on more smoothly. I mix a very small amount of red into the beige so that it is slightly darker than my facial skin tone and then add a drop or two of moisturizer. With a cosmetic sponge (buy them at a pharmacy - they are cheep and help keep your hand clean), I dab on the cream over my entire face, eye lids, neck, etc. and then blend it all in. Unless the beard cover matches your skin tone very well, make sure to blend the makeup across your earlobes and ears too. Next, I mix a very small amount more of the red and then dab this over the darkest parts of my beard. I then blend it in. When I am done with the blending of the beard cover, I make sure not to throw away the makeup sponge. I'll use whatever makeup on it is left for a touch up later on.

On top of the beard cover goes the setting powder. I buy two shades - again one that matches my skin tone (usually a medium translucent) and one somewhat darker. I start off with the first and heavily apply the powder everywhere. I then add some (but not much) of the darker powder under my jaw line (to accentuate the jar), the tip of my nose (to shorten it), and on the lower half of my cheeks (to make it appear as my cheek bones are more pronounced). The Making Faces book does a great job at demonstrating how different shades of powder can be used to sculpt a face.

Now, I grind the powder into the beard cover using the powder puff. You want the powder worked deeply in so that it chemically mixes with the foundation cream. I mean really grind it in. To the point where you fear that you are removing the cream itself. If you find that your foundation smudges too easily or feels wet, then you are not using enough powder. Actually, it is hard to use too much powder since you can easily brush off any excess.

Now I wash my hands and then wait 10 minutes. I pick out something to wear, have a glass of wine, whatever…

After the powder has had time to set, I brush all excess with a good blush brush. With a sponge, I blend the foundation so that there are no harsh lines or streaks. Since I no longer have a heavy beard (electrolysis is wonderful!), I often follow up with a bit of moisturizer on a sponge to smooth out my face and remove any excess foundation.

At this point, I start on my eyes. For the top lids, I use white colored eyeliner for the inner third followed by liquid liner for the remaining two-thirds. I use eyeliner pencil for the lower lids. I use black liner for evenings and a brown for daytime. I use a nice light eye color on the inner half of my lids, a slightly darker color over the middle half of my lids and then a darker color over the outer 1/3 of my lids and up sweep the color a bit beyond your lids.

Since I have blue-grey eyes, I tend to use whites, pinks, and browns. If I do use blues, they tend to be rather dark or very purple. If I feel a bit creative, I'll often use a bit of eyeshadow as eyeliner to give a "smokey" look.

Next, I gently and lightly, brush over my eyes to remove any excess eye powder - sweeping from the nose outward. Then, I re-apply my eyeliner, false eye lashes, and then apply mascara. For a daytime look, I will often use a brown mascara or if I do use black, then I apply it only on the tips of my lashes. After a quick curl with eyelash curlers, I clean up any eye powder that may have fallen on my checks with the brush and then touch it up with a bit of moisturizer and any beard cover that still may be left on the saved makeup sponge.

If I need to, I use a bit of clear mascara to help shape my eyebrows so that they look thinner and more sculpted.

Now, a bit of blush on the cheeks - starting from my ear and sweep around towards my nose so that it looks like a slight sunburn on my face.

For lips, I love Lipfinity. I try to stay well within the lip line towards the corners of my mount and slightly over the lip line in the center of my mouth. This gives a more "bee stung" look. Also, try using a slightly lighter shade of lipstick in the very center of your lips to make them appear more pronounced.

After a few minutes to let the lipstick set, I apply a coat of LipCote lipstick sealer. This stuff is wonderful! Search for it on the Internet to see where you can buy it locally. Originally, I found this at some drugstore while on a trip and loved it so much that when it ran out, I did an Internet search for it and bought a half dozen bottles. With the combination of Lipfinity long lasting lipstick and LipCote, I can eat and drink all night long without much, if any, lipstick coming off.

I also enjoy long, feminine fingers. I adore getting acrylic nails, but I can hardly wear them while I am in boy mode. So I buy press on nails. The Kiss brand is really good and they come pre-glued. They cost around $7 a set in most pharmacies and come in a range of colors and patterns. The hold well and come off without needing nail polish remover. Best of all, when they come off they don't damage your nails. As a side note, put on the nails after you put on your pantyhose to help avoid causing a run in the stockings.

Towards the very end of my routine, I take out the curlers from my hair or fire up the curling iron. When I am done fussing with my hair, I spray on it a bit of hairspray and give my face a quick blast too. The hairspray will help seal all of the makeup on my face.