Appearance Lists Makeup

MtF Makeup: Foundation Tips

If you are new to makeup and want to know what to focus on first, the answer is easy: foundation. Like its name implies, foundation is the key to an elegant, easy makeup routine. If you get it wrong, everything else will look wrong too.

Luckily, a good foundation routine is pretty easy to get right, with some trial and error. Here are the tips I found most helpful.

Tip 1: Find the right color match for your skin tone

I wish someone had explained this to me at the very beginning: foundation is not like a coat of paint. You need to match your foundation to your natural skin tone, otherwise you’ll have that overdone, fake look.

Unfortunately, there is no other way to find a matching skin tone than trial and error. I have a fairly neutral to warm skin tone, but when I first started out I went way too light. When the foundation doesn’t match your skin tone, you run the risk of looking blotchy where coverage isn’t 100%.

There are a couple of good tools for finding your skin tone match. I like the Maybelline online tool – simply take a photo and it’ll tell you the matching color to buy.

Once you know your base color, you can use to translate into any other brand of makeup. It’s worth trying out a few different brands to see which you like best.

Last note: you’ll have to change your foundation throughout the year as your skin gets lighter or darker.

Tip 2: Don’t go too heavy

Nothing makes foundation look wrong than over-application. Too much foundation will give you a cakey look, and counterintuitively, often makes wrinkles and other imperfections stand out. Too much foundation also is a pain to keep up throughout the day – you’ll need to spend a lot more time touching things up.

The key thing to remember about foundation is: use just enough to get the job done. If you hare having problems hiding beard color or other skin imperfections, consider a color corrector or concealer rather than applying more foundation.

I also don’t recommend starting with heavy-duty foundations for this reason; its too easy to over-apply and get a fake look.

Tip 3: Try different application techniques

Everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for some won’t work well for others. There are three main ways to apply foundation:

  1. Use your fingers. It’s messy, but gets the job done well.
  2. Use a makeup sponge. A lot of people swear by this. You can even buy swanky makeup sponges.
  3. Use a brush. Any broad makeup brush will work.

I have big pores on my cheeks and nose, so I never could get sponges to look very good. They smeared the foundation on top of my skin, rather than getting into the pores.

For that reason, I tend to use a brush or my fingers, depending on how much time I have.

Tip 4: Try tinted moisturizers

Recently, I discovered tinted moisturizers. If you don’t need as much coverage, these can be a really great way to get a more natural makeup look without sacrificing coverage.

I really like the BareMinerals tinted moisturizing gel – it is super light weight, but provides a good amount of coverage and needs very little touch up during the day.

The downside of moisturizers is they can look a little too dewey (or wet), so you’ll want to follow the next tip.

Tip 5: Use a powder

I also wish someone had told me this early on: use a fixing powder. Foundations typically dry with a wet look (very popular these days), and a powder on top with take off some of the shine and give you a more normal look.

If you still want that fresh dewey look, you can apply the powder around your face, but leave it light on your cheeks and center of your face. A fixing powder will also help your makeup stay in place throughout the day, and reduce smudges.

What foundation tips have you learned?

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.