Appearance Body Care Hair

Options for MtF Balding and Hair Regrowth

Most women want a full head of long, luxurious hair. But, if you are an older trans woman, you probably have had to deal with Male Pattern Baldness, or androgenetic alopecia. A spectacularly unfortunate side-effect of Testosterone, MPB is a particularly common challenge to overcoming dysphoria and achieving the look you want.

It is estimated that 85% percent of men experience some level of hair loss as they age. Unfortunately, most hair loss is not easily reversible, and the best treatment is prevention. Treatment effectiveness also depends on where the hair loss is occurring: clinical evidence suggests that hair loss on the crown of your head is easier to treat than frontal recession, but this may just be an effect of study design.

Regardless of where your hair loss is occurring, there are a number of good options for dealing with various degrees of baldness and triggering hair regrowth, depending on your needs and budget.

Option 1: Use a Wig

Wigs are the easiest, fastest and most effective way to deal with hair loss. A wig will give you a brand new head of hair, and best of all, you’re not limited to your natural hair color or type.

I’ve written about choosing your wig before; short version is that for the best look, you’ll want to go with a natural human hair lace wig. Amazon has a few good starter lace wigs you can buy to try out. Here is my favorite.

The downsides of wigs are time and hassle. They take a bit to put on in the morning (though the full lace ones can be worn for multiple days at a time) and can be a little bit more temperamental to style and keep in place than your natural hair.

But for most trans women with MPB (especially more advanced stages), a wig will be the best and fastest way to get a full head of feminine hair.

Option 2: Hair Loss Treatments

There are a number of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) hair loss treatments available. Unfortunately, your results may vary depending on the type of hair loss you have and how far it has progressed; generally the longer you’ve been dealing with MPB, the harder it is to get hair to regrow.


There are a number of different types of laser treatments that claim to stimulate hair regrowth. If you have most or all of your hair and are worried about keeping it, hair laser treatments may be something to try. They claim to work by using light to stimulate blood flow to dormant hair follicles, triggering regrowth.

Most of what I’ve read indicates these are pretty ineffective for places where the hair follicles have already died (can’t stimulate what isn’t there), but may be worth adding to your daily routine in order to keep and increase the volume of hair you already have.

The HairMax Laser Hair Growth Comb Ultima 9 Classic is a great option with a relatively low cost and some clinical evidence suggesting it works.

Minoxidil (AKA Rogaine)

Minoxidil is one of the oldest and best known chemical treatments for hair loss. For a long time this was only available with a prescription, but now topical treatments are available over-the-counter.

Minoxidil, also known most commonly as Rogain, works by increasing blood flow to hair follicles, as well as potential acting as a mild anti-androgen (Testosterone blocker). This triggers the growth phase of the hair follicle and makes it last longer, leading to more and longer hairs than occur naturally.

The OTC options usually contain 5% Minoxidil as a topical cream or shampoo you apply once a day. It typically takes 2-3 months to begin seeing any hair regrowth. Minoxidil has only really been studied for treating ‘vertex’ hair loss, that is thinning at the top of your head, but there is some newer evidence showing it works for all areas of the scalp.


There are a couple prescription medications available for hair loss treatment. The first option is a higher oral dose of Minoxidil, which you’ll need to get via your Primary Care doc or by visiting a doctor who specializes in hair loss.

The other option is Finasteride, a potent anti-androgen. Finasteride stops hair loss by inhibiting the production of DHT, a form of Testosterone that has been shown to be the primary cause of Male Pattern hair loss. Whereas Minoxidil works to stimulate the growth of hair follicles directly, Finasteride works to protect the follicle you have and potentially trigger follicles that have gone dormant to regrow.

If you are already on HRT, Finasteride may already be a part of your treatment because it is such a good all around anti-androgen with fewer side effects than Spirolactone. Otherwise, you can usually add it to your HRT regimen if you consult with your endocrinologist.

Option 3: Surgical or Medical Procedures

If nothing else is working to restore hair loss, surgery is always an option. Unfortunately, if you’ve already lost more than 50% of your hair, even surgery may not be able to restore your previous hairline.

Generally, hair transplant surgeries rely on different methods to move hair from one part of your head or body to another. This used to mean taking complete strips of skin and hair follicles and suturing them in place in a new location, but this is rarely done any more because of the unnatural looking results.

The most common method now is the Follicular Unit Transplants (or FUT), which place individual hair follicles in new locations on your scalp. The most advanced versions of this method use robots to automate much of the procedure, but it can also be done by hand by a skilled surgeon or dermatologist.

Let me know in the comments if there are other hair loss options that have worked for you!

Body Care Transition Support

Does the Tria work for beards?

Why yes, yes it does! I was able to basically eliminate the dark beard hairs on my face in about 6 months. But, you have to use it a bit differently than for other types of body hair. I’ll walk you through the process I used.

Lots of people, both cis and trans, would rather do without their beard. There are many options for dealing with facial hair, but laser removal or electrolysis can be expensive (a few thousand dollars) and time consuming (months).

One appealing solution is to use an at home hair removal product, of which there are two types: IPL (or intensely pulsed light) or Laser. Both are similar, in that they use light to kill the cells that build the hair follicle, but Laser removal is much more effective for beards. These products usually run in the low hundreds of dollars, rather than thousands for professional laser treatments.

Besides being cheaper, at home treatment is also a lot more convenient and potentially faster to see results, since you can do more treatment in smaller chunks.

The best at home laser product is the Tria 4x. Unlike other products, this is actually a class 1 laser, similar to what a professional laser hair removal machine will use. But, because it is for home use, it is lower powered in order to improve safety; commercial machines usually run 30-40 joules/cm2, while the Tria maxes out at 20 joules/cm2. Because of this, you need to do a few special things for it to work effectively.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser hair removal works by turning light into heat, which then kills the cells that grow your hair. The laser is specially designed to emit light that is only absorbed by the darker pigment in your hair follicles (the light is around 810 nm, or in the infrared range that is invisible to the eyes). Once it is absorbed, the hair follicle heats up and this heat then spreads to the cells around it, killing them. If you reach a high enough temperature then the hair is prevented from growing back, but too high and you burn the skin around the hair follicle.

This is why laser hair removal generally works best for people with brown or black hair and fair skin; if the skin is too dark, then the laser will heat up skin cells, causing burns. If the hair is too light, the laser light passes right through without being absorbed.

You actually have two types of hair on your body.

  • Vellus hairs: the soft, ‘peach fuzz’ hairs on your arms, legs and rest of your body.
  • Terminal hairs: the thicker, darker hairs on your head, pubic area, armpits and face (in men).

Because Vellus hairs are smaller, and usually grow closer to the surface of the skin, it takes less energy to permanently remove them. Terminal hairs are thicker and grow farther down in the skin, meaning it takes more laser energy to generate the heat necessary to kill the growing cells.

Regardless of the type, you body hairs generally grow for 2-3 weeks then go dormant for 6-8 weeks. They’ll repeat this cycle until they die and fall out, to be replaced by a new follicle. This is why laser treatments usually are staggered over months: you need to do it multiple times to catch the hairs in the process of growth in order to kill them. Each time you do a laser treatment, you’re only catching 10-20% of the hairs in their growth phase.

Using the Tria on Your Face

As mentioned above, the Tria is primarily recommended for Vellus hair removal. But you certainly can use it on your face (or any other part of your body to remove terminal hairs) if you use it slightly differently than recommended for body hair.

To start, you’re going to pick a few square inches of your face to start with. When I started, I focused on the upper lip and chin of the left side of my face so I could see if it was working.

Each day, you will slowly increase the intensity of the laser until you get to the max ‘5’ setting. At that point, you’ll do up to five pulses in the same place in order to get enough energy deep to the hair follicle to kill the cells. Remember, terminal hairs grow deeper than vellus hairs, so require more laser energy.

I generally do 5-10 minutes up to 100 pulses every day until the area is hair free, then move on to another area. You can also rotate each week, but you want to make sure you hit the same area with the highest power pulses for a few days in order to permanently remove the hair.

One thing to note: this hurts. If you’re doing it right, it will feel like a hot needle poking your skin (but only for a fraction of a second). The pain goes away immediately, but I recommend focusing on shorter sessions more frequently in order to reduce discomfort. When the pain at a particular setting decreases, you’ll want to increase the power. If the pain is too intense, you can use a lidocaine spray to help numb the skin. It doesn’t eliminate the pain, but certainly makes it more bearable.

  • Week 1: Setting 2-3, 50-100 pulses per day. Move the laser slightly between each pulse.
  • Week 2: Setting 3-4, 50-100 pulses per day. Move the laser slightly between each pulse.
  • Week 3: Setting 4-5, 50-100 pulses per day. Move the laser slightly between each pulse.
  • Week 4: Setting 5, 50-100 pulses per day. Keep the laser on the same spot for 3-5 consecutive pulses. Each pulse should feel ‘hotter’ than the last and deeper under the skin; it hurts, but means the intensity is high enough to remove the hair.

You’ll want to make sure to come back to areas you’ve already treated every few months, until all the desired hairs are gone.


Here is a picture after the first month or so of my upper lip. I focused more on the right side of the picture, and there is a noticeable reduction in the number of whiskers.

After about 6 months, I was mostly hair free of any dark hairs on my face. I had a naturally splotchy beard though, so if you have more full facial hair, it will take longer.

I can go out in the morning without makeup and have no visible 5 o’clock shadow!

Though the dark hairs are gone, I still have a fair number of lighter colored hairs on my face. Someday, I may get electrolysis to remove those, but since they aren’t really visible I use an electric razor to remove them every few days.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Body Care Hygiene Makeup

MtF Transition: Three Options for Facial Hair

Facial hair is a pain. Unfortunately, as a trans woman, you’ll have to deal with whiskers, in some shape or fashion, for a while. You’ll want to learn how to remove or camouflage your beard soon after you begin your transition.

Unfortunately, shaving isn’t enough. The whiskers under the skin cause a dark discoloration (even with lighter beards) that is a major determinative cue for gender. Even if you are on anti-androgens like spirolactone, your whiskers will still grow, albeit more slowly.

You have two choices for facial hair: removal or camouflage. For most trans women, you’ll need to do both at some point. Removal takes a while, and so hiding your beard hairs with makeup is a key skill to learn while you are in the process of permanently removal.

Let’s walk through the different options.

Option 1: Camouflage with Makeup

The easiest, safest and most pain free way to deal with your beard is makeup. A heavy foundation and concealer can hide the discoloration (5 o’clock shadow) that whiskers cause on the face.

One key thing you’ll need, especially if you have darker facial hair, is a color corrector. This is a specially colored primer (usually orange) you put on before your foundation to cancel out the darker pigments. This is especially important for maintaining coverage as the day wears on – the more beard hair grows the darker the color will get.

I like the LA Girl Pro Concealer from Amazon.

One downside of makeup only is that you’ll have to apply it any time you want to hide your facial hair. Especially if you like a more natural look to your face, you’ll want to consider more permanent removal options.

Option 2: Laser Hair Removal

If you want a more permanent solution, consider laser hair removal. This works by using a special laser to zap the hair follicle, heating it up and permanently killing the cells at the base of the hair. This prevents the hair from regrowing.

Laser hair removal is usually done at a doctor’s office, and can be quite expensive. Expect to pay a few thousand dollars for a full treatment; usually it takes 3-6 visits spread over a year to completely remove facial hair. There are home options for laser hair removal, like the Tria, but these usually aren’t approved for use on your face.

Though it used to be true that laser only worked on people with fair skin and darker hair, new laser technology is also effective on blonde and gray hairs.

One last note; laser treatments hurt. Its not excruciating, but the zap of the laser feels like a hot needle poking into your skin. On sensitive areas like your upper lip, this can be quite painful.

Option 3: Electrolysis

Electrolysis is the most reliable and most proven method of permanent hair loss. Electrolysis works by inserting a small needle into the base of the hair follicle and then using a zap of electricity to kill the cells that generate the hair. This permanently removes the hair.

Electrolysis works for all skin and hair types, but can be very time consuming because each hair needs to be treated individually. Expect many sessions over months in order to remove all the hair on your face. Electrolysis can also be very painful. Some describe it as similar to laser hair removal, or even more painful.

Treatments are done at a doctor’s office, and will typically run a few thousand dollars for a full treatment package.

Have you had success with other hair removal options? Let me know if the comments.

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.