When dressing, makeup application is in most cases more important than clothing. If your makeup game is off, it could be the difference between turning heads asking “who’s that girl?” to being easily spotted as a crossdresser. Nobody is perfect, but just following some simple rules and avoiding some common makeup mistakes that many CDs make, could be all the difference. We also checked in with Glamour Boutique’s newest Makeup Artist Genna to get her thoughts on the makeup mistakes she’s come across when meeting with her clients.
Not taking good care of your skin
At the top of Genna’s list is daily skin maintenance. “One of the most important things to do on a day to day basis regardless of whether your dressing that day or not, is to take really good care of your skin.” As genetic males, our skin is rougher than our female counterparts, so we need to keep our skin in good shape. Plus, dry skin is an enemy of makeup application as it will cause flakiness as well as make it difficult to blend your skin.
“You must moisturize daily,” says Genna “and try to exfoliate weekly as well.” Softer and well taken care of skin will make your application process so much easier. Lastly, make sure to moisturize prior to makeup application. And if you can find a moisturizer that is also a primer, then you are ahead of the game. Which brings us to…
Don’t forget the primer
Even women forget this one, as a primer is often considered an extra step in the already long process of makeup application. But primer is very important and should be a part of your routine each and every time. “Who wants their makeup to look messed up after a few hours?” Genna goes on to say that we should “consider primer an insurance policy.” The primer leaves a nice base and will help seal your pores so you won’t have to worry about sweating as much, causing your makeup to run or get smudged. It will also keep fine lines covered while smoothing out the skin’s surface ensuring your makeup will look great all day and night. “It’s not just an extra step that can be tossed aside,” says Genna, “it is essential and a must for any Crossdresser.”
Watch those lips
Since genetic women tend to have fuller lips than men, the struggle for fuller lips is real. With lipstick and lip liner at your disposal, you would think it would be super easy to get that full lip look, but if you use a lip liner to put a thin defined line around your lipstick, it can have disastrous results. This particular makeup mistake will leave your lips looking a bit off as the colors may not match perfectly. Lip liner will also fade away and eventually blend into the lipstick leaving you with a sloppy mess on your mouth. A lip liner’s true use is to keep your lipstick from bleeding. So Genna suggests using a lip liner to draw an outline around your lips, then fill your entire lips with the liner and then go over it with the lipstick. Just make sure the liner and the lipstick match. Lastly, stay away from crazy lipstick shades. Compliment your skin tone with the lipstick and try and stay away from dark shades if you are light skinned as it will look tacky.
Using the wrong foundation color
Using the wrong foundation color is an incredibly common foundation mistake. What’s more, it’s happened to just about everyone who has ever put on makeup. Wearing the wrong foundation is a red flag as it will make your makeup look disjointed. Using a foundation that is too light will highlight blemishes and harsh lines as opposed to hiding them. Using one that is too dark could make it look like you have a mask on as it will be way off from your natural skin tone.
A good way to find a foundation that matches your skin tone is to buy 3 different shades. One that you feel is closest to your natural skin tone, one that is a shade darker and one that is a shade lighter. Test them out in natural light to see how you appear during the daytime and nighttime. One big no-no that Genna wants us all to know, “Make sure to test the different foundations on your face and not your arm or hand as many people do. The pigment is different on your arms than your face, so test it where you will actually be wearing it.”
Wearing too much makeup
If you are a crossdresser who is going for the Drag Queen look, then, by all means, put that makeup on as much as you want. If you are out and trying to be passable and blend in, then do not overdo it. “A common mistake I run into when doing makeovers is seeing CDs that feel the need to hide their face under a ton of makeup.” Genna goes on to say that just because there is stubble to hide, doesn’t mean that you need to put on layer after layer. In the case of crossdressing, makeup is a tool to conceal what you need to conceal and too much of it will do just the opposite. When applying your makeup, do so with a light hand as applying it with harsh strokes will also cause the makeup to look caked on.
The time of day can affect your look as well if you choose the wrong colors or shade at the wrong time. If you use high-intensity makeup during the day, you can look a bit harsh where at night the same look will be perfect. Be mindful of the time you’re going out and have various shades and colors of makeup to reflect that.
Speaking of shading
Having the right shade of makeup is a big part of how you will look when out. Choosing the wrong color combinations can leave you looking harsh and can totally accentuate your masculine features, so it’s a makeup mistake crossdressers will want to avoid where possible. Genna has a solution. “A good rule of thumb is to match up your natural features with makeup colors.” For example, darker hair and skin would work best with darker shades like black or red. If you have lighter features then aim for colors like pink or blue.
Contouring is tricky, and therefore contour mistakes are common. One false move and you can kill your look. We have seen so many crossdressers have issues with contouring and in turn, they wind up highlighting their male facial features like their chin. Many times we have seen noses and eyes look almost like kabuki makeup. On the flip side, if contouring is done right, you can look amazing. Here is a photo of our own Dawn Gold after a Genna makeover:
You can see how everything blends together perfectly. There is no clear line defining her nose or cheeks. It looks natural and with the right color combinations to match her skin tone and hair, Dawn looks like a million bucks. With the right blending and contouring, you can look very natural and ditch that defined line look that is all too common amongst the CD community. Here is a tutorial from our blog that may be of help to those of you feeling lost on the proper way to contour.
Testing your makeup in the wrong light or the wrong place
When you are trying to decide which colors work best for your face, it is not a good idea to try everything out in your bathroom in unnatural light. Indoor lighting does not compliment natural light well. So you may think you look fine in your bathroom, but then you go out shopping and wind up not looking so fine. Do some test runs to see what colors and techniques look best in natural light. One tip to help with applying makeup in natural light, is to place your vanity mirror on a windowsill, so the natural light coming in through the window can show you what your makeup will realistically look like when you’re outside.
Also, when trying skin-toned makeup, make sure to apply it on your face where you will be using it as opposed to your hand or wrist as your skin tone shades differ from your body to your face.
Passing En Femme is key to crossdressing. If you can avoid certain makeup mistakes and continue a routine that works right, you will feel much better when dressing. Genna has one last suggestion to all the girls out there as well “Try and stay up to date on makeup trends as they are always changing and by avoiding these common mistakes, you will have a great foundation moving forward.”
Tell us what your biggest makeup mistakes are. Have you had some close calls or disasters? Sound off on our Facebook page or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org