Makeup Application: Step-By-Step Guide
Applying makeup may be the most important part of being a crossdresser. Every girl needs to develop her own style and variation to fit her personality. However, I do recommend that you keep this information handy when you put your makeup on so that you don't forget the steps. Feel free to use these instructions as a starter.
One thing that every professional cosmetologist agrees upon is that “the three most important rules when applying makeup are: blend, blend, and blend.” There should be no visible lines in your makeup when you are done.
Before you start, you will need the correct tools:
Adequate Time: Don't rush (remember: “Haste makes waste”). It took me almost two hours when I first started; I'm down to less than one hour now.
Cotton Swabs: I have used Q-Tips, but I prefer the style with a rounded, pad shape on one end and a sharper pad on the other. It makes cleaning up boo-boos much easier.
Eye Makeup Remover: You will almost certainly need to fix at least one boo-boo.
A Good Set of Brushes: Whatever you do, invest in a professional set of brushes. The cheap brushes will fall apart after a few uses.
A Hand Towel: For wiping your brushes.
A GOOD Table Mirror: Buy a lighted flip-sided, tilting, magnifying mirror, which makes seeing your face easy.
Proper Lighting: This is absolutely essential. Too much of a difference in lighting from one side of your face to the other will make your makeup lopsided. Dim lighting will probably cause you to put on too much makeup. Too bright and you may never finish (BTW, daylight is the crossdresser's enemy).
Now, get out all of the makeup you will be using and place it on your makeup table or counter. I line up my makeup, from left to right, in the order it will be used.
Take a deep breath and relax. Now comes the fun part.
Step 1: If you didn't apply moisturizer right after shaving, then apply it now, all over your face, except on your eyelids. Make sure that you completely cover the areas where you shaved.
Step 2: Apply an orange, red, or yellowish concealer/base, depending on your skin tone, over the darkest areas of your beard. Hiding a beard takes work and practice. Pat the base on gingerly and make sure you get complete coverage. The area around your mouth (mustache, the corners of your lips, and from the lower lip to the chin) is generally the darkest and hardest to cover. Don't overdo, but be thorough. Take your time. It’s important to remember to blend under your chin and down your neck as it’s common for CDs to forget.
While I’m waiting for the concealer to set, I usually start dressing with fresh colorful panties, hose (if applicable to what I’m wearing), and hip pads.
Step 3: Your first concealer should be dry so it is time to apply a foundation. Since this is not the first coat, you have to learn to “dab and smear” so that the concealer and foundation don't get mixed together. Put a little on your finger tip and dot it onto your face with a slight sideways motion so that it will smear out. Cover the entire first layer and most of the rest of your face, including your forehead and nose. This sets the underlying skin color for the foundation that you'll be applying in a moment. Again, wait a few minutes for the foundation to set.
Step 4: It's time for the main foundation. If this takes less than three minutes, you're not doing it right; take your time. Make sure to shake the bottle well, and then pour a bit on the tip of your index finger. I start on my forehead and dab three spots with the first being just above the top of my nose, one left and one right. Now with the “dab and smear” technique, blend the creme outward towards your ears and upward toward the outside corner of your eyes. Remember to go higher than where your wig sits on your forehead (if you wear one). Go all the way to the hair line (and even into it) on the sides. You may need more than one dab. If so, use half dabs on your temples, blending up to the forehead foundation. Work down your face and nose. Don't worry about getting real close on your lower lids yet or in the side creases of your nose. Remember to blend down to your neck and under your earlobes, covering all the concealer.
Now, to finish the foundation, grab another (clean and dry) cotton swab. Dip it in the foundation or rub around the inside of the bottle neck. Apply it sparingly to the inside of your eyes near the top of your nose and where there was no shadow or liner (leave no natural skin showing). With a bit more foundation, get the lower lids right up to the lashes. Now put a bit more in the creases of your nose, and possibly on into the edges of your nostrils. Your goal is a consistent color all over your face and neck. Now double check everything in the mirror. Turn off some of the light and look again. Fix any flaws you might find.
Step 5: Your eyebrows come next. I assume that you've already plucked your eyebrows to the desired shape. Unless you are using an eyebrow stencil and powder, use a brown eyebrow pencil, tilted at an angle and start tracing your natural brow. Then add a little more pencil at the upper edge to thicken the brow just a teeny bit. How far out to go? Most makeup artists will tell you to take the pencil and hold it with the end at the tip of your nose and the body going across the outer corner of your eye, where it meets the natural line is as far as you dare go. I usually stop a bit short of that. Now use an eyebrow brush, going upwards and outwards so that all pencil strokes are evenly blended. (HINT: It’s better to do this halfway than too much. You don't want big, bushy looking eyebrows.)
Before moving on, check what you have done and touchup any area that needs a little more attention.
Ava Alba, one of Norway’s spectacular assets, shows perfect makeup styling with the emphasis on her eyes.
Step 6: Now you need a big poof brush (they sell it with that name) and wipe it on your towel. Dip the brush into your face powder and then tap off the excess, as there will be some. Gently, brushing from your forehead down, poof the powder onto your face. Don’t worry about repeating some areas more than once—the powder is setting the foundation and drying up the excess oils. If there is too much, the poofing will knock it loose. Should you end up looking like there's too much powder, clean the brush on the towel and poof away without powder.
The easiest way to finish the blend at the lower edge, on the neck, is to take the tissue that you've been using to wipe your hands and gently brush it across that lower edge from the makeup side to the non-makeup side. This creates a cleaner, feathered edge so it won't look like you're wearing makeup.
Step 7: Time for your eyeshadows. I use a three color mix—usually of browns because of my natural coloring. Your hair color will have an effect on your choice as well. I use a smallish brush, never those little foam applicators they often include because they disintegrate into your shadows and make it look rough.
Before applying the first color, wipe the brush on your towel to clean off the previous color. Put the darkest shade on first, closest to the eyeball. Don't start all the way in the corner; you can blend it into the corner. Apply the color over the crease of your lid. I like to draw the brush out just beyond the end of the lid. Wipe the brush on the towel. The middle color goes above that, up to just under the brows. Blend the first and second colors where they meet at the crease. Again, wipe the brush on the towel. Finally, the lightest color goes up to your brow. It should be no more than a brush width, and preferably, the thin side of the brush. For nighttime, you can put a glistening white just under the brow, very thin and not the full width.
Remember, eye shadows are powders and therefore, they will dust. Check the area around your lashes with a bit of makeup remover and a swab to clean off any residue.
Step 8: Because it is an area I’m most likely to mess up, I carefully apply my eyeliner. I use a liquid liner because it will flow smoother. On the downside, it requires that you keep your eye slightly shut while it dries. Make the line thin and even. Liquid eyeliner requires a bit more skill and may not be best for beginners. If you’re struggling, switch to pencil liner, as it’s easier to control and less messy.
If you use fake eyelashes, be sure you do the line above where the lash attaches. Run the line from the inner corner to the outer corner, and slightly (1/8 to 1/4 inch or 3-6 mm) beyond. Wait for it to dry (I fan it, but you could also use a blow dryer without heat). Now check it to see how it looks. Thin spots can be dotted to fill in the gaps. Thick spots can be cleaned up with the pointed cotton swabs and makeup remover I mentioned earlier.
Step 9: The next and most likely for me to mess up with is my mascara. Personally, I don't think the brush shape matters; they are all about as equally ineffective. Start from the inside of the eye and work outward. Pay particular attention to the outermost third of the lash. If your lashes are thin, apply a second coat after you do your other eye. I also apply a little bit to my lower lashes because they are light. I find that it is more effective to also stroke upwards from underneath (but also more likely to make a boo-boo). Check for messes and clean them up with the cotton swabs and makeup remover as quick as possible.
Now, use a black eye-defining pencil on your lower lids. Slant it sideways and rub it gently along the inside ridge of the lower lid. You want to make a black line that will make your eyes just jump out at people. If you find your eyes watering, relax for a moment and do both eyes again. (HINT: Even if you are having a professional makeover, do this yourself. It's very difficult for someone else to do this without making you cry.)
Step 10: You might feel you've done an awful lot already, but let’s complete the finishing touches. Now you need a smaller poof brush and your blush. Again, clean the brush on your towel before you dab the tip into your blush. With an upward stroke (from about the outer edge of your pupil), brush the color from the cheek bone up to your temple. Do both sides. Check the effect. If you need more, go ahead, but don't overdo it. Once it's obvious that you've applied blush, it's probably too much. You want a glow, not a blush. I also put a slight amount on the ridge of my nose. I use a light brown powder (sometimes brown eyeshadow) on either side of my nose to give shadow effect and make my nose look thinner and more feminine.
Using a different poof brush, apply a very small and light amount of bronzer (if you need it) to your lower cheeks, chin line, upper neck, and maybe forehead. Again, by the time you can see that you've put it on, you have too much. The point is to look like you've had a bit of sun on your face; if you really have, then skip this step.
Step 11: Finally, your lips! Match your lipliner with your lip color. There should not be much of a difference (I have never understood girls who use vastly different colors and look really wicked for it). It doesn’t have to be exact, but the tones should be similar enough that the lipstick and lipliner blend seamlessly. I use a felt-tip lipliner. Draw it along the upper lip, from the little ridge outwards. Do the other side. Now fill in the crown in the center. On the lower lips, start in the center and draw the liner out, but not all the way to the corner. With your mouth closed, notice where the lips meet. That's as far as you should go with the liner. Do the other side. If your mouth isn't symmetrical, adjust for it with the liner. Try to stay right on the lip edge, not above, not below. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, I will “over- draw” my lips to make them look larger!
Ever since my cosmetologist introduced me to lip gloss, I've not gone back to tube lipstick. But if you like it, use it. Again, work the lips in quadrants. Take the color up to, but inside the liner. The liner should stop the color from “bleeding” outside the lips when you talk, eat, or drink. It works, girls. Just remember to refresh the color every now and then, like when you go to the ladies' room. For evenings, you can use that same shimmery powder you used just under your lids on your lips. Use the same shadow brush and dab just a bit of the shimmer on your lower lip and rub them together. Viola! Instant kiss-ability! You can even add a little shimmer to your “cupid’s bow”—the dip right above your lip, to really highlight the shape.
From a professional beauty consultant, I learned how to make fuller, pouty looking lips, by putting a little concealer in the center of my lips before applying lipstick. Then after the lipstick, add a bit of gloss to center of your lips.
Now you’re beautiful and ready to go! Stand up and check the mirror. Don't use the makeup light, only the same “natural” light in which your admirers will see you.
Don’t to be afraid to experiment when you have time. But update and revise your procedure often, depending what you are wearing and where you are going.