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Top Tranny Tips: Make-Up & Cosmetics

Make-Up And Cosmetics

The Perfect TrannyWe've had many an email asking us for tips on applying make-up to achieve a feminine look. Putting on make-up to produce the desired effect is probably one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding, aspects of tranny life. The difficulty in trying to provide any advice in this field is that there is no single solution that works for all faces. Of course, it is possible to use the same make-up style on a number of different people and have the basic effect of changing their facial looks from that of a man to that of a woman, but using that one style on all faces, produces a single look on all to whom it is applied. This is why, if you browse the photos of the make-overs done by transgender make-up and make-over artists such as Adam And Eve or Jodie Lynn, you will find that many of the girls end up looking much the same. That is not to say that these people do not do an important and wonderful job on their clients, they still come highly recommended by us here at Trans-MISSION, but if you want a look that suits you rather than a 'one size fits all' approach, then, as an Irish farmer once said when asked for directions... 'If I were you, I wouldn't start here'!

The second reason why it would be silly if not downright hypocritical of us to offer cros-dressing make-up tips is that, although we've found ways to apply make-up to my our faces that work for us, we are by no means experts in cosmetics. If it's an expert you're after, visit the aforementioned gurus in the field, they really know what they're doing. In fact this, if anything, would be our number one tip for those seeking to learn more about applying make-up: go to an expert and get advice. Or even better, go to more than one expert and get more than one set of advice and then play around a bit with what you learnt to find something that works for you. Local tranny meetings and social groups are also great places to ask around for advice, but not, we suggest, at nightclubs or bars where the girls you will meet are typically out to enjoy themselves do not want to spend their precious time giving tips on applying mascara.

This page is rather long so to help you navigate, here are links directly to some of the topics covered:Tranny make-upWhilst there's no hard or fast rule, the order in which the various items have been listed is roughly the order in which you would normally apply them.
Notwithstanding our general reticence to offer advice on the matter, there are a few basic make-up tips which will help any tranny wishing to play around with their face. In fact the advice given below is the kind of stuff that you will find chatting with other girls at meetings and social groups, and doesn't tend to change from person-to-person, though it is stuff on which you will always find those who have opposing views.

The Face

Your face is the canvas on which you apply your make-up but male faces are a different shape to female ones. For the best results, you can use make-up to do some amazing tranformations to the shape of your face, without any plastic surgery being required.
  1. Foundation

    geisha white foundation
    Perhaps a little extreme but an example of how foundation can make the face into a blank canvas. The blusher is in the right place though!
    The idea of foundation is to cover up the different skin-tones which your face naturally has, in order to give you a blank canvas on which to then apply the other elements of your make-up. It is critical that the colour of foundation you use is as close as possible to your natural skin colour as otherwise it is both harder to blend in, and worse, can leave a telling and obvious border between the edge of your make-up and the areas where you haven't applied it (eg around your lower neck and chest). Differences in skin colour can arise in a number of ways but most significantly, from the '5 o clock shadow' which men get as the day goes on. Remember that whilst you are freshly shaven, your face may look uniform in colour but 4 hours later this is unlikely to be the case. Those with darker shadows will therefore need thicker foundation than those with lighter coloured beards. There are ways to blend additional colours into the application of your foundation to overcome these problems but these fall into the 'advanced' category of make-up application. For now, thicker (industrial) foundation is better! Foundation should be applied across the whole face from the forehead to the base of the neck, and from ear to ear (some even dab some on their ears to make sure the colour is the same). Just putting some on your cheeks or not applying it right up to your hairline will leave tell-tale borders that are very obvious. Many cross-dressers use theatrical make-up, designed for pantomime dames and those under the revealing glare of strong stage lighting, especially for their foundation, as it tends to be strong, durable and oddly for something that does the job well, relatively inexpensive. Buying off-the-shelf foundation from your local pharmacy is a recipe for disaster as this usually designed to be light and transparent and will not hide your masculine features at all well.
  2. Powder

    The best way to set foundation to make it both last longer and to give it a more natural look is to apply powder over the top. This is applied with a 'powder puff' which is dipped either into loose powder or into a pot of balls which break up to turn into powder and then dabbed (not rubbed) onto the face to set the foundation. Again, the colour of the powder should be as close as possible to your natural colouring. Often just the application of foundation and powder can have a stunning effect on 'neutralising' the maleness of a face. In many cases, a bit of eye make up on top of this is enough to produce an effective result. In others, there is more to do to give a feminine appearance. It's a good idea to carry a small pot of powder and a brush around with you when you're out and about as you will find that if your make-up starts to 'melt' as you get hot under your wig, you can make it all look like new again by gently dabbing a little more powder on your face.
  3. Blusher

    Blusher is used to emphasise the cheek bones. With plenty of foundation applied, it can be used to 'move' the appearance of the location of the cheek bones to give a more feminine shape to the face. In general, a line running from the your earlobe, underneath your cheek bone on the soft bit of your cheek to an inch or so either side of your mouth is about the right place to put this. Red is the most typical colour for blusher but pinks, browns and golds can work well too depending on your natural colouring. Don't go overboard on blusher but use it wisely to enhance the shape of your face. Also, the 'line' of blusher should be about an inch thick and diffuse rather than being an obvious strong or thin line - remember it is to help change the illusion of the shape of your face and is meant to be subtle. Blusher is normally applied with a fairly large brush (to help diffuse the 'line'). A gentle swipe of the remaining blusher on your brush around the points where your foundation ends and your skin starts can also help blur the distinction between the two. More advanced experts also use blusher to re-shape other parts of their face including the nose (which can be shortened or flattened), the temples and even on the chest to produce a false cleavage!

The Eyes

Eye make-up can be fiddly and difficult. It generally needs more practice and rehersal than make-up for your face but if you get it right, eye make-up has one of the biggest trans-transforming effects of all the different areas of your face.
  1. Eyebrow Pencils

    When you have applied foundation and powder, you will often find that your eyebrows have become invisible, having become the same colour as the rest of your face as they are covered in foundation and powder. Indeed for many this is desirable, especially if you are not able to pluck and tidy your eyebrows as it once again gives a blank canvas on which to put on your war paint. One important thing to remember (and often forgotten by girls who dye their hair) is that your eyebrows should be the same colour as your hair (or in the case of a tranny, your wig!). To make sure they are the right colour and to get a nice girly shape, eyebrow pencil is used to literally 'colour in' your eyebrows. Even for those who have been able to trim and pluck their eyebrows, highlighting the fact that they are well shapen does a lot to emphasise the eyes properly. The eyes are, supposedly, the gateway to the soul but for transvestites, the eyes, if done properly, are the gateway to a gorgeous feminine face.
  2. Eye-Liner

    Eyeliner is a pencil, very similar to an eyebrow pencil, but which instead is used to draw a dark line around your eyes. This outlines the eyes and makes them stand out more. Men sometimes do this (hence the recent fad of 'guy-liner') and it is the one piece of make-up which defines the 'goth' look for many male goths, though they tend to apply slightly more than your typical tranny needs. Eye liner is usually black, though it is possible to use dark brown and even dark colours (blues and purples sometimes). A thin line is usually drawn around the upper and lower eyelids, as close as possible to the end of your eyelid (ie the bit where your eyelashes join them). Some people also put a layer on the inner edge of their eyelids though this can be rather difficult and also, if done wrong means you end up stabbing your eyeball with the eyeliner pencil; it may also not be a good idea if you wear contact lenses. There are liquid eye-liners (basically, water-based paint) which you apply with a thin brush. Personally we prefer this type as it washes off more easily afterwards, is just as easy to apply, and is easier to rub off or change if you get it wrong.
  3. Eye Shadow

    nice eyeshadow exampleOne of the most badly applied elements of many cross-dresser's make-up is eye shadow. Applying it badly (for example, just covering your top eyelid with 'daylight blue') can make you look like a 1980's fashion disaster. Getting it right can make you look like the most devilishly desirable dolly. And it is here where it is probably most difficult to recommend an approach. Much depends on the shape and size of your eyes. Likewise, the choice of colour depends on a whole host of things such as your skin tone, the colour of your hair, and even the colour of your outfit! In general, though, careful use of two contrasting colours is all that is needed for a reasonable first stab. One colour should be pale, and the other dark. The pale colour is usually applied all over the upper eyelid. The dark colour is then used to accentuate the upper and lower eyelid and make eyes look bigger. Most commonly the dark colour is blended along the lines drawn with the eyeliner and sometimes a line going from the outside of the eye to the inside (eg nearest to the nose) of the eyebrow is added. The dark and light are then blended (blurred together) to soften the effect and hey presto, it's done. Sounds easy but in fact this is very difficult and lots of practice is necessary to get the right look. Some T*girls also apply eyeshadow on the lower eyelid, often just the dark colour and stretch the upper and lower lines out slightly towards the ear to make the eyes look even bigger. The best way to demonstrate this is with a picture (speaking a thousand words as it does).
  4. Mascara

    From one of the most difficult things to get right, to one of the easiest to get wrong...! Mascara is simply dark coloured paint that you apply to your eyelashes to make them appear thicker and longer. Of course there are false eyelashes which you can apply if you really want to go over the top (real girls do this too) but for now, let's steer clear of those sticky and awkward dealies and just stick to getting the mascara right. There are so many different kinds of mascara on the market, all claiming to produce 'fuller' or 'longer' results than their competitors and it's true that some are better than others but for the basics, pretty much anything will do. Mascara should be applied to both your upper and lower eyelashes carefully! There's nothing worse having got all your eye make-up looking fabulous than applying mascara clumsily and ending up having to wipe it off your eyelids and face and then having to re-apply make-up in those areas to cover up the hole you just wiped. Slowly and carefully are two important watchwords. And let it dry before trying to do anything else. If you really do need to extend your eyelashes, the mascara that comes in two sections, one to lengthen and one to colour seem to work well. And though black is by far the most common, and produces the most striking results, dark brown or even other colours can be used too.
too much make-up
OOPS: Far too much lipstick here, and lips drawn so large they look completely unrealistic. Blusher a bit too obvious and the 'girl' on the left has black eyebrows and blonde hair. More of a drag-queen look than a tranny one.
too much make-up
BETTER: Lipstick here is very nicely done. Well defined edge to the lips and the right shape and size. Eye make-up is pretty good too, though more than is necessary for a 'daytime' look.

The Lips

If you've managed to get the face and eye make-up right, it is a doddle to do the lips properly. You would be surprised how many times this is gotten wrong though. A quick daubing of red lip gloss will not give you the girly pout that you desperately seek.
  1. Lip Liner

    A lot of transvestites don't bother with lip-liner and go straight for the lipstick, but done well, the effect of lip liner can make quite a big difference to your overall look. Let's start by remembering that most male lips are a lot thinner (less pouty) than female ones, however it is easy to overcome this by extending your lipstick outside the edge of your normal lips to make them look fuller and larger. Overdone, this looks silly, but done properly it also allows you to shape your lips to give the 'heart' shape that is often desired, in fact it is arguably easier for cross-dressers to do this than regular girls due to the need to re-shape the lips to start with. Lip liner is used to draw the outline of where your lipstick will end, so normally around the outside of your lips. Feel free, though to draw larger lips on yourself, especially exenting above the upper lip (too far below the lower lip looks a bit 'pantomime'). Dark lip liner that goes with the colour of your lipstick stands out the best but there are some who argue that lighter is better, especially if you want a more natural look.
  2. Lipstick

    Last and perhaps easiest of all is lipstick. Most trannies choose a vibrant colour and this is perhaps the best thing to go for. A bright red or a deep pink or purple look great and done well will really make your whole look zing. Colours which are darker than your skin tone make your lips look bigger. Conversely colours which are lighter do the opposite. For transvestites, it therefore follows that dark is better, unless your lips look like those of Mick Jagger before you begin. If you want to use a light pink lipstick, it might be worth thinking about using a dark lip-liner to frame your lips otherwise they will appear thin. A colour which is not too dark is good for the daytime as you don't see many ordinary women wandering around with bright lipstick during the daytime, they save this for nights out unless they work as hotel receptionists, air stewardesses or beauticians. Lip gloss is equally as good as lipstick for what it's worth, and the glossy look further increases the apparent size of your lips. And, as with the powder, carry your lipstick with you in your handbag so that you can touch it up during your night out as it rubs off on your champagne glass (or on your boyfriend!)

Handbag Helpers

So you leave home, make-up looking perfect and as you arrive at your local tranny club (or indeed any local club) and as you take your coat off, you accidentally rub off a big patch of make-up from your cheek. What do you do? The simple answer is to carry a few bits and bobs with you in your handbag (you always wondered what it was really for didn't you) so that you can re-apply your slap swiftly.

In your handbag, you should aim to carry the following bits and bobs:
  • A small container of your powder. If you do happen to rub your make-up off on your face, you would usually have to try very hard to rub your foundation completely off, so having powder to hand helps you do a patch-up job. Also, if you happen to sweat on your face ('glow' as ladies call it) and it becomes a little shiny, a quick dab of powder will set it all again and return you to your perfect state. A loose brush or powder puff is useful to apply this.
  • Useful but not essential is your blusher. If you apply additional powder it can sometimes cover up your blusher so re-applying a little after dabbing on your powder can bring the whole look back to life. You can use the same brush as you used for your powder (as long as you shake it clean between uses so as not to end up accidentally covering your face in blusher next time you go for your powder!)
  • Always carry your lipstick with you. As the night progresses it will rub off on wine glasses, drinks bottles, other trannies' cheeks and even lips depending what you get up to. Real girls are always touching up their lippy and you should do the same!
  • Some girls also carry (though usually in their car and not their handbag) a 'get out of jail' kit. This includes make-up removal wipes, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. If anything happens whilst en-route to or from a night out they can then quickly 'de-transvestite' themselves back into their original male state in an emergency.
That's pretty much all you need to take with you. It would be odd for your eye make-up to be 'damaged' in any way (unless you rub your eyes or cry a lot) so carrying this is a bit pointless and anyway would take up valuable space you might need for your hairbrush, mobile phone and other bits and bobs.

Taking It All Off

If all that talk of putting make-up on has got you exhausted and confused, just remember that if you don't want to be 'caught out', it's just as important to take it all off again at the end of the night.

Observant females in particular can easily spot left-over make-up if you don't remove it properly after a night out. Don't make this mistake! Like all these things personal preference and experience for one person don't mean it will work for all, but we've noticed that many trannies do just the same thing. 'Great minds think alike' or 'Fools beg to differ'?! Anyway, the answer is this... Use make-up removal wipes, available from a variety of manufacturers such as Johnson, Simple and even high street chemists such as Boots (the Botanics range is good). Much better than individual eye and facial make-up removal creams and lots of cotton wool, and even better than soap and water as the oils in some of the make-up don't come off too well with water. These make-up removal wipes also contain moisturiser and seem to dislodge both water-soluble and water-proof make-up, mascara, eyeliner and so on and are as good on your eyes as on your face. Use them on your whole face and you'll end up not needing to cleanse and tone either!
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