Exercise Health

Best MtF Exercises for Smaller Waists

A slim waist is something most trans women struggle to obtain. Thanks to broader ribcages and smaller pelvises, achieving a feminine hip-to-waist ratio can be a real challenge. Though you might not get to a truly tiny waist without the help of a corset or surgery, you certainly can help to slim down your waist using daily, easy-to-do core exercises.

Exercises can help by pulling in the abs and obliques, ensuring that your waist is as small as your frame will naturally allow. The key here is consistency; shorter daily workouts are better than infrequent longer routines.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Side-leg lifts

This is a great exercise to work your obliques and hips and glutes all at the same time. This will help to pull your tummy in, while also increasing tone and size of your hip region. Start with alternating sets at 20 seconds and work up from there.

As a bonus, you can add ankle weights for extra muscle building resistance.

Bicycle Crunch

This is a dynamic exercise that provides a rotational component in addition to working your upper abdominals. This rotation engages your obliques and hip stabilizers, helping to bring everything in toned and tight.

Start with 30 seconds, and work up each day until you reach fatigue.


This may sound counter-intuitive, but lunges are a great full-body workout that will help to bring your core tight and tummy in. Focusing on good form will ensure your hips and glutes are also getting worked.

Side Plank Twist

The side plank twist is the upper body variation of the side-leg raise. Make sure to focus on keeping your obliques tight through the whole range of motion – your hips should never touch the ground.

Start with 20 seconds each side and add 2 seconds each day until you reach fatigue.

Remember, just a little bit every day can have big impacts when they add up over time.

What core exercises do you do for your waist? Let me know in the comments.

Lists Makeup

Top 5 MtF Makeup Mistakes

Makeup is hard, especially for the trans woman who is just starting out on her journey. Cis women have the benefit of years of experience putting on makeup, and make it look easy, but turns out its not.

Unfortunately, the only thing worse than wearing no makeup is wearing bad makeup; it can emphasize all the wrong things and make you look more like a man that without any makeup at all.

These were probably the biggest mistakes I made early on; certainly not an exhaustive list, but the biggest and easiest to avoid for sure 🙄

Mistake 1: Not matching foundation shade to skin tone

When I first started buying makeup, I had no idea what shade to buy for anything, so I got what I thought would look good on my face. Unfortunately, I bought a bunch of foundation which was way, way too light.

The key to a good makeup job is to use the least amount possible while achieving the look you want. When you get a foundation that is too far from your natural skin shade, you end up having to use a ton to get a consistent color across your face. This means that you have that ‘overdone’ drag queen look, rather than the subtle accents you are going for.

Maybelline has a good online tool you can use to figure out a starting place for your foundation shade (just make sure to take the photo indoors under soft light).

Mistake 2: Not using a color corrector

Until you figure out how you want to remove your facial hair, you’ll need to figure out how to hide the discoloration that beard hairs cause on your skin. Foundation or concealer alone isn’t enough; you need a color corrector. The problem is that our eyes pick up subtle shading in skin tones amazingly well, and the darker color under the nose and on the cheeks is a super strong ‘male’ cue.

A good color corrector will make sure your skin is an even color across the bottom part of your face, and more importantly will ensure that color stays consistent throughout the day.

Mistake 3: Not applying foundation correctly

I think there are as many methods for applying foundation as there are YouTube videos on the subject. Though there is no ‘right’ way to do it, there are a bunch of wrong ways. Depending on your age or skin type foundation can either be invisible or it can highlight all the imperfections, wrinkles and big pores on your face (think bad icing on a cake).

I have the best luck using a big blending brush to rub foundation into my skin – this seems to be best at getting into the wrinkles, pores and blemishes. Avoid smearing foundation on with a sponge – that seems to only work for the small subset of women blessed with perfect skin.

Mistake 4: Too much contouring

Despite what the Instagram set says, contouring can’t magically change your facial structure. In many cases, too much contouring actually has the opposite effect, especially when trying to create fuller cheeks by drawing under the apple; this has the opposite effect of accentuating the angular cheeks most men have. Don’t forget, contouring can only highlight what’s already there, not create what doesn’t exist.

Generally, I avoid contouring on my face except for a bit at the back of the jawline to make it fade into my hair a bit more easily.

Mistake 5: Not enough lip size

This is a big one that I did for a while, with very mannish results. The trick to lips, especially for trans women, is to focus on the upper lip. This tends be thinner, especially when smiling, than on cis women, and nothing is a strong gender cue than a thin lip.

At first, I got some bad advice against overdrawing; but don’t be afraid, overdrawing can have dramatic impacts on your perceived femininity if it gives you a visible upper lip when smiling. This works best when you use a concealer or foundation on your lips to blur the color between your skin and your lip.

Just don’t go too far with the big lips, or you’ll look unrealistic.

So those are my top 5. What mistakes did you make with your makeup when first getting started?

Body Care Clothes Hygiene Lists

MtF: The Complete List of Everything You Need to Learn

When I first decided to transition from male to female, I (naively) thought that it was as easy as growing hair, getting some boobs and wearing different clothes. I’ve got a lot more coming on how (and why) I was so wrong, but today I wanted to share my rough and evolving list of everything you’ll need to learn and be able to do in order to successfully pass as a woman.

This list isn’t exhaustive, and not meant to be intimidating. But there is a lot to learn. And while you certainly don’t need to be the best at each of these things, but you’ll generally need to be as capable as a cis-woman. Realistically, you have to learn a set of skills that every genetic woman has had a lifetime to work on.

There is no timeline for how long it takes, but the more time you put in, the faster you’ll be able to successfully pass as a woman in most situations. Think years not weeks or months.


Looks are a primary, but not exclusive, way that people identify gender.


  • How to prep your skin for makeup
  • How and what makeup to buy (there’s a ton!)
  • How to pick the right color makeup
  • How to apply color corrector
  • How to apply foundation
  • How to apply concealer
  • How to blend colors
  • How to accent/contour your face
  • How to create eyebrows
  • How to do your eyes
  • How to do your lips
  • How and when to touch up your makeup
  • How to do subtle makeup (you can’t look like you’re going out to a club all the time!)
  • How to go about your day without touching your face (this is really hard!)
  • How to eat and drink with makeup on
  • How to take your makeup off
  • The hardest part? How to make your makeup look natural, instead of a looking like a guy wearing makeup 😜


  • How to wash your hair
  • How to prep your hair
  • What tools and products you need to buy for your hair
  • How to brush your hair
  • How to blow dry your hair
  • How to curl your hair
  • How to make your hair look like you didn’t do anything to your hair
  • How to keep your hair out of your face
  • How to keep your hair out of your face but also as close as possible to your face
  • How to not tangle your hair
  • How to keep your hair looking decent throughout the day
  • How to find a hair stylist
  • How to afford a hair stylist


  • What jewelry to buy
  • How to wear earrings
  • How to wear necklaces
  • How to wear simple jewelry
  • How to wear fancy jewelry


Hahaha, clothes are a baffling ordeal. Good luck to you ma’am!

Bras/Underwear/Comfy Clothes

  • What kinds of bras you need (you need many)
  • What kinds of underwear you need (you need many)
  • How to buy bras, and from where
  • How to find bras that fit
  • How to afford bras and underwear (seriously, why is this shit so expensive?)
  • What to sleep in to keep from smashing your boobs
  • What to wear around the house when no one will see you but you still want to feel cute
  • What to wear around the house when you really don’t give a fuck
  • What is the most comfy thing you can get away wearing in public

Work Clothes

  • How to wear a skirt
  • When to wear a skirt
  • How to wear a dress
  • When to wear a dress
  • What colors to wear, and when
  • How to look professional but feminine
  • How to look feminine but not slutty
  • What to wear to keep from sweating out in the summer
  • What to wear to keep from freezing in the winter

Everyday Clothes

  • What shirts to buy that don’t make you look like you have an enormous _______________ (chest, arms, neck, shoulders, wrists, stomach….)
  • What pants/shorts to buy that don’t make you look like you have an enormous _______________ (ass, waist, thighs, calves, knees, hips….)
  • What jeans to buy
  • How to afford jeans (seriously, why is this shit so expensive?)
  • What to buy when you don’t want to be noticed
  • What to buy when you do want to be noticed
  • What to buy to avoid looking like your mom and/or sister


  • How to buy heels
  • How to buy heels that don’t make you look slutty
  • How to avoid wearing heels
  • How to walk in heels
  • How to find a ‘cute’ shoe
  • How to find shoes that don’t make your calves look enormous
  • How to find shoes that are comfortable and cute
  • How to wear shoes that don’t stay on your feet (monkey toes!)



  • How to shave your legs
  • How to shave your armpits
  • How to shave everything else
  • How to tuck
  • How to untuck when you have to pee
  • How to moisturize
  • How to afford all the moisturizers you need


  • How to sit like a woman
  • How to walk like a woman
  • How to run like a woman
  • How to sleep with breasts
  • How to sleep ‘cute’
  • How to keep your boobs from knocking into things, or things knocking into your boobs
  • How to keep kids from always putting their elbows into your boobs
  • How to do ________ like a woman (use a computer? That looks different when women do it!)

Everything Else


  • How to cope with sucking at everything
  • How to cope with feeling like you’ll never make any progress
  • How to cope with never having enough time to practice all the absolutely necessary things
  • How to cope with being clocked
  • How to cope with looking ugly
  • How to cope with assholes
  • How to cope with hopelessness
  • How to cope with exhaustion from coping all the damn time
  • How to make the feeling last when you finally catch a glimpse of the person you knew you could be


  • How to respond to the person who is trying to figure out if you’re trans in not-so subtle ways
  • How to avoid getting raped/killed
  • How to avoid getting hit on
  • How to get hit on by the person you want to hit on you
  • How to tell your friends
  • How to tell your family
  • How to find a therapist
  • How to find a doctor
  • How to find a career coach
  • How to find new friends

I’m sure I’m missing obvious things, so let me know what things you had to learn in the comments!

Body Care Hygiene

MtF Basics: Shaving your legs

So, this seems like a silly post: how hard can shaving your legs be? Well, it turns out shaving your legs is easy, but keeping your legs comfortable after shaving takes a few more steps.

Trans women usually have hairier legs than cis women (at least to start), and the leg hair is also coarser. So some things you saw your mom or sister do when shaving their legs won’t work or will cause more irritation for you.

Here are a few of the tips I learned to keep my legs happy and looking great.

Tip 1: Get a good razor

So, two things: don’t use a razor for your beard on your legs, and two, don’t use a cheap razor. Beard razors are shaped differently and make it way easier to cut your legs while shaving. Cheap disposable razors might seem appealing, but they also will tend to cause nicks, as well as generally irritate the skin.

So do yourself a favor and invest in a good razor. I really like the Gillette Venus Platinum razor – it’s got a hefty metal handle so its easy to hold, and the blades last a fairly long time (weeks not days) before needing a new cartridge.

Tip 2: Shave with gel, not soap

It may seem appealing to shave with soap, and lots of women do, but its a recipe for unhappy legs. First, you likely have more hair on your legs than most other women, and it is coarser. Soap doesn’t provide much protection for your skin from the razor, so you’re going to end up with a lot more irritation using soap. Each little hair follicle has a bump around it, and this is what gets irritated when you shave. A good shaving gel protects these little bumps, meaning you get a lot less irritation, ingrown hairs, etc.

Second, soap is going to remove more oil from your skin, especially as it sits while you shave. Using a gel will help keep your skin hydrated.

I like the Gillette Satin Care Extra Sensitive shaving gel. It doesn’t have a strong scent, goes on easily and washes off cleanly.

Tip 3: Shave every other day

As appealing as shaving every day may seem at first (it feels great!), its better for your skin, and your schedule, to shave every other day. As you get farther along in your transition, you’ll notice your hairs get finer and sparser, so you won’t feel the stubble after a day nearly as much.

Tip 4: Treat and moisturize after shaving

When I started shaving my legs regularly, I struggled a lot with razor burn and ingrown hairs. It took me a while to figure out how important using an ‘after-shave’ and moisturizing lotion are to keep your legs from burning all day.

So the first thing you should do, right after you get out of the shower, is apply an after shave ointment. I love the Skin Tight brand – it stings a bit, but immediately makes my legs feel better and eliminates bumps and ingrown hairs. Put it all over your legs, but pay special attention to your inner thighs and bikini areas.

Next, you’ll need a moisturizer. The process of shaving removes the top layer of oils from your skin, so a good moisturizer will add those back and make your legs feel extra soft and silky smooth. I like a good fragrance free, light moisturizer – currently I use Aveeno’s Fragrance Free for Sensitive Skin lotion.

What shaving tips do you find make things easier? Let me know in the comments.


Daily Core Workout to Support your MtF Transition

Building core strength is important to your overall health, but can also be a key part of your transition strategy. Whether you are trying to accentuate your breasts by pulling in your tummy, or controlling your mid-section for a smaller waist, core exercises will make you feel more feminine and happier about your body.

Best of all, a good core workout can be done in 15 minutes a day or less. If you’re just getting started, take it slow and build up the time required for each exercise so you give your body time to recover and grow.

I’ve used these exercises to good effect in my own transition; they’ve helped me manage my natural Android fat distribution around my tummy and added definition to my waist.

Here’s the basic routine. I’ve included YouTube videos for the exercises for reference in case you’re not familiar. Spend anywhere from 15 to 45 seconds on each exercise, then rest for 30 to 60 seconds, the move onto the next one. For an added workout, repeat the entire set 2 or 3 times, or add dumbbells for extra resistance.

  1. Plank to downward dog. This is a basic warm up exercise that will also help to build out your core abs.
  2. Side arm twist and reach. Works your obliques and hip flexors, while also increasing mobility in your shoulders and back.
  3. ITYs (can do on the floor without the yoga ball). Great for mobility and posture, especially for those who use computers all day long!
  4. Hip Thrusters. Works your glutes and ham strings to make your butt bigger.
  5. Bicycle crunch. Engages your core abdominal muscles and builds coordination.
  6. Forward Lunge. Works your glutes and quads.
  7. Chair Squat. The best exercise for building a bigger butt.

What exercises do you do to improve your figure or health and well-being?


Best Bras for MtF Breasts

Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, regardless of whether you grew them in puberty or more recently. Just like there is no ‘standard’ breast shape for cis women, there is no standard for trans women either.

That said, there are some general anatomical differences between cis and trans women that can effect the shape of the breast and fit of the bra. Generally, trans women will have broader shoulders and a wider rib-cage, leading to different breast-to-band ratios (the metric used to determine cup size). The wider rib cage also means that trans breasts are generally farther apart, with more space in between, than cis women’s breasts.

Trans breast shape can also be different, with most trans women stoping at Tanner Stage 4, while most cis-women get closer to Stage 5. This matters less than overall rib cage size for Bra fit, however, as the breast will generally deform to fit the bra cup.

The last factor for most trans women is breast size. Without breast augmentation, most trans women will see their growth stop somewhere around an A or B cup. Combined with the larger chest diameter, this can make finding an appropriately small cupped bra hard at the larger band sizes, since cis women tend to have proportionally larger breast to band ratios.

How to accurately measure your bra size

I see a lot of confusion out there on how to find your bra size. Since most trans women (especially early on) don’t want to get fitted at a store, it can be a really confusing process, and the bra industry largely assumes you already know your measurements.

Bra sizing is determined based on two measurements, the band and the bust. Band is measured around your chest just under where the breast starts to protrude outwards. Bust is measured around your chest at the nipples (usually the widest part). For both measurements, you’ll want to round up, rather than down (you’ll see why later) to the nearest whole number. Band sizes are generally spaced by 2” increments, e.g. 34”, 36” etc. Again, you’ll want to round up.

Cup size is determined by subtracting the bust size from the band size. The difference between the two is the cup size; 0 or less is an AA/AAA, 1” is an A, 2” is a B cup, etc. BUT, and this is what most people miss, you have to add 4” to the band size in order to get an accurate bra size. So a 36A bra has a true band measurement of 32” with a bust measurement of 37”.

Finding a bra that fits

The problem for trans women is that the increased size of the rib-cage will throw off the cup volume measurement, because the chest itself takes up more space than is assumed in the standard bra sizing tables. So while your measurements might show you are a 40B (36” band and 42” bust) your boobs will be swimming in your bra cups, and you might actually find a 42A fits you better.

That said, there are a couple of companies that specialize in bras for small-cupped women, which tend to fit the shape of trans bodies better. Here are a few of my favorites. (Note I’m currently a 36AA, so small cup size is harder to find than band size for me. Many of you ladies will have the opposite problem of struggling to find a larger band size.)

  • Lulalu: This is my go to brand for bras. They have a great selection of small cup bras, both wired and wire free, starting in AAA cups. The band sizes are definitely on the smaller end, but the underwires are generally flatter and farther apart and fit the wider chest of trans women better. The matching panties are great too 😉.
  • Pepper: Also a great choice, and I own a few of their different styles. Bra cups tend to run a bit bigger, starting at AA cups up through B. Band sizes are also a bit bigger, and you can find a 40AA in some styles.
  • Little Women: A British company that caters to small chested women. Lots of great styles, but sometimes hard to find in stock.

Things to look for when bra shopping

Part of the fun of having breasts is wearing all different types of bras. As you build your collection, there are generally some things to think about, especially as you’re trying to find the perfect fit.

  • Look for wire-free. Generally, underwires in bras designed for cis women are going to be less comfortable for most trans women. This is because the underwire is designed for a smaller rib-cage, and you’ll find it digs into the outside of your breast in an uncomfortable way. Wire-free avoids this problem by ditching the wire entirely, with a soft yet firm band of fabric underneath the cup supporting the breast. This will fit your chest shape much more naturally and be a whole lot more comfortable.
  • When in doubt, go bigger band and smaller cup. As mentioned above, if you struggle with the sizing of standard bras, you can move up in band size and down in cup size to get a better fit. The breast volume on a 34B and a 36A is exactly the same, but the ratio of band size to bust size is different. This tends to provide a better fit on the trans female rib cage.
  • Pullover styles are your friend. As sexy as a underwire Demi cup might look, for everyday you may find a pullover style bra more comfortable, as the band will stretch and size won’t be as important. There are plenty of pull overs that are sexy, lacy, and all the things you might look for in a bra, while also being a lot more comfortable and forgiving of trans body shapes.

I’d love to hear what bra brands and styles you find work best for you in the comments!


MtF Basics: Tips for Hiding Your Growing Breasts

Great, you’ve got (tiny) breasts! Or maybe just really pointy nipples. But if you’ve started on HRT before socially transitioning, you’ve got a problem; what to do with them? Its a pretty common problem, and I couldn’t find a lot of resources on how to hide them effectively.

Early on in my transition, budding breasts was one of the most exciting and gratifying physical changes. Though lots of things are happening behind the scenes in your body, breasts are by far the most immediately apparent. But because I wasn’t ready to fully transition professionally yet, I had to find a few different ways to camouflage and hide my breasts. Though it can be irritating, it is also a great time to start exploring different styles of bra and top to figure out what you like, and when.

Ok, so first things first, and what most guys don’t realize is that you’ll need a few different options depending on what type of clothes you’ll be wearing and what type of activity you’ll be doing. Women learn this going through puberty, and now we get to as well. If you’re wearing a t-shirt, you’ll need a different kind of bra/shirt than if you’re wearing a sweatshirt or sweater.

The other thing that’s hard for men to understand is that breasts move a lot, even small ones, and so you’ll want some form of support even early on. Just like appearance, different levels of physical activity make your boobs move more, and so you’ll need a lot more support when running than you do when sleeping or lounging around the house.

So, as you start to stock up on clothes, there are three must-haves you’ll need.

The compression shirt

First and foremost, you’ll need a good compression shirt that will change the shape of your growing breasts to look more like male pecs. As your breasts get larger, this shirt will be help in professional settings, or during the summer, where you have less room for flexibility or the odds of discovery are greatest. Its also a great option if you want to shift into boy/man mode for a while – it looks just like standard under tank.

Best of all, compression shirts are great for situations where you may need to remove your shirt, and want the confidence that your breasts and nipples will be disguised – going camping or to the gym for example. If you’re wearing one of these, you don’t have to worry about weather you may need to take your shirt off.

My favorite is the Underworks Microfiber tank. Its a lightweight compression shirt but strong enough to smooth out puffy nipples and provide a more rounded, pec-like shape to your boobs. Its easy to get on over your head, and off the same way.

The (seamless) sports bra

Compression shirts can be a bit uncomfortable for all day wear, so having a good collection of seamless sports bras, especially with looser shirts or sweatshirts, can make all the difference.

My personal favorite is the Bali Comfort Revolution Seamless bra. The pads are removable, and the cups are small enough that they provide some level of support even at the early stages of breast growth.

If you run a lot, I highly recommend a real sports bra though. The true seamless bras just don’t contain enough elastic to really support your breasts during vigorous activity. A good option I like is the Jockey seamless sports bra, but don’t let the name fool you, as the seams on the shoulders are pretty visible especially as its a racerback design.

The shelf bra tank/cami

A shelf bra cami or tank is simply a cami or tank with a built in band of fabric across the chest sewn in underneath the outer fabric. Similar to a compression shirt, these will be more easily disguisable under clothes, while still giving you some support and added layers in front of your nipples. Depending on the brand, the band of the shelf-bra can be visible, so these are often best used as undershirts underneath button down or sweat shirts. They are a lot more comfortable for all-day wear than a compression shirt, but

I like the Vislivin tanks and shelf bra camis. They are super soft fabric and fitted relatively well for the male shape (no big flare around the hips).

Things to avoid

While you might want to find a nice sexy bra for your new breasts (and by all means, do!), for everyday wear feminine bras pose some big problems if you haven’t yet transitioned socially. Feel free to try different things and get creative, but generally you’ll want to avoid the following.

  • Bra straps: unfortunately, nothing screams ‘bra’ like visible bra straps. The straps themselves are usually fairly easy to hid under all but the tightest t-shirts, but the sliders used to resize the straps will create distinctive bumps under your shirt that anyone will immediately recognize. Avoid these if you can, otherwise you’ll be feeling pretty self-conscious.
  • Sewn-in pads: early on, you’ll want to avoid padded bras, or choose bras where you can remove the pads. First, your boobs aren’t really big enough to fill out the pads, and second, they’re designed to accentuate the ideal female breast shape; in other words, they’ll make you like you have breasts. Ditch the pads for a more natural look.
  • Underwires: likewise, underwires are used to provide shape and support for larger breasts, and so can provide the opposite effect you’re looking for pre-transition. Plus, they’re super obvious to women under clothes.
  • Back clasps: like bra straps, nothing screams ‘bra’ like a visible clasp in the back. If you can, avoid seamless bras that have back clasps and focus on the ‘pull over’ variety. These will ensure you have a smooth and bump-free chest and back no matter what shirt you are wearing.

Lastly, as your breasts grow, they’ll reach a point where they aren’t easily disguised as the male chest, but by this point you’ll be farther along in your transition. And they’re a lot more fun the bigger they get 😉