Over the last few weeks, I have started experimenting with makeup and I have found that I really enjoy it. Up until recently, the only cosmetics that I have ever used were foundation and primer. I started using both when I was attending college, around the same time that I determined that I was transgender. Any further exploration of makeup was prevented by a lack of educational resources and safety concerns (my roommate at the time found my makeup and threatened to kick me out). However, my sister, who I recently came out to, has been incredibly helpful both in helping me buy makeup and in instructing me on how to best use it. This assistance combined with being in a safer place has allowed me to again trying learning how to use makeup.
In general, I have found that I prefer makeup that is subtle and difficult to notice. The items and cosmetics that I like all contribute to a no-makeup look. This doesn’t surprise me that much, I have never been ultra-feminine and makeup was never a serious interest (until now at least). Besides I have never wanted to stand out that much, so it makes sense that my preferred look is more subdued.
Below are some of the products that I have used and my experience so far:
Foundation and Primer
Foundation was the first type of makeup that I ever tried and despite that, I still struggle with it. I find it difficult to get enough coverage without it becoming cakey. Much of this issue is likely a lack of experience. Even though I liked the effect and look of foundation, I didn’t use it for an extended period for my own safety. I am getting better at it now that I am using it somewhat regularly, but I still struggle.
On the other hand, I absolutely adore primer. Primer was the second type of makeup I ever tried and I loved it from day one. The two big issues that I had with my face were large pores and redness, both of which primer addressed. More importantly, it was super unnoticeable, which meant I could wear it even if I wasn’t in a safe place. Even after I stopped using foundation, I continued to use primer on a daily basis.
I poked myself in the eye twice and gave up.
Not only do I like mascara, but I am also surprisingly good at using it. I always had the impression that mascara was difficult since it is so close to the eye, but it is fairly straightforward. I have tried both black and clear mascara and while I prefer the clear, I like using both.
Contouring has been the biggest surprise for me out of all the makeup I have tried. I had kinda discounted it before evening trying, mostly because I didn’t understand its purpose. Why would I want to darken around my nose and forehead? And then I tried it and it was revolutionary. It does so much to feminize my face, it is frankly unbelievable. And I am not even good at it (I haven’t even touched the included highlighter). I am now focusing on getting back at contouring.
The couple of times that I have tried lipstick, I have hated it. There is something about the aesthetic of me wearing lipstick that I cannot stand. It is just too much. It is too evident, too obvious and that makes me uncomfortable and somewhat anxious. Perhaps it is just too feminine for my personal style.
An eyebrow pencil has been another piece of makeup that substantially exceeded my expectations. My eyebrows have always bothered me, they are straight, bushy, and very close to my eyes. They contribute a lot to making my face appear more masculine. I can create a better shape and arch with the pencil, which does a lot to feminize my face and correct my concerns. Beyond this, trying to adjust my eyebrows with makeup has demonstrated to me the need to pluck and shape them, something I have been hesitant to try. I may see if I can get them done professionally, at least once for a baseline.
I am honestly amazed by just how much joy and euphoria I am getting from using and trying makeup. I am reliant on trial and error and YouTube videos and I am not very good, but I am enjoying it. If I try and it doesn’t work, I can just wash it off and try again tomorrow. But on the occasions when it all works and I see a girl in the mirror, the feeling of gender euphoria and affirmation is indescribable. I have tried to take pictures, but they fail to capture what I see in the mirror. With practice, maybe those good occasions can become more frequent.