Hello, my name is Daniella and I have a problem with makeup. I love makeup. I hate makeup. That is right people I am deeply conflicted.
As a transgender person who was assigned male at birth makeup is a godsend. It smooths out imperfections. It hides blemishes. It camouflages the dreaded facial hair and whilst it may not make me look beautiful, it does improve my appearance dramatically. Who wouldn’t love this amazing product?
At the same I hate my makeup. I hate that I must wear it to look halfway decent. I hate that without makeup my facial hair shines like a beacon in the night alerting everyone that may see me that this is the dreaded ‘man in a dress’. Makeup is expensive. It is time consuming to apply and it requires a very real set of skills (choosing, applying etc) that are not easily learned. Who wouldn’t despise this awful product?
Whilst I love makeup for the way it makes me look and feel, I deeply resent that I must wear it. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that I love putting it on and playing with different looks and colours. I enjoy matching lipstick shades with other elements and I love it (on those very rare occasions) when my eyeliner is just right. On the other hand, there are those times that I wish I could be one of those women who can run to the shops in a sundress, sandals and maybe just the slightest touch of lip gloss and maybe a dab of eyeliner if they really feel inspired… I cannot do this.
If I left the house without my makeup, no matter how closely I had shaved, children would be traumatised, grown men would cry and women would flock to makeup counters across the land stocking up just in case they were ever seen in public looking as hideous as that. I am therefore one of those people who just must wear makeup.
I have no choice. Whilst you start of loving something, it is easy for that love to turn to resentment. I don’t always hate my makeup… But there are times that I do, and it is a very deep and very real feeling of resentment.
I have tried shaving as closely as possible but the facial hair under the surface betrays a blueness to the skin. And even if I could remove the facial hair completely (laser, waxing, electrolysis, whatever), the essential ‘manliness’ of the skin would remain. Testosterone infused skin is coarser, rougher and less smooth than oestrogen infused skin. The makeup helps smooth the skin and gives it a better, softer look. My facial features (the dreaded nose) and other facial imperfections (can anyone say double chin) are also subtly but importantly minimised and improved through the clever application of makeup.
I suspect that many women feel similarly about makeup. Makeup is a great boon, but it can be a real chore. And it can be expensive. On the other hand, I think cisgender women tend to have a few more options. They can go out in public and whilst they may not look their best, they will probably not look half as bad as a transgender woman sans makeup (or maybe it is just me). They will also not run the risk of ‘outing’ themselves to everyone who comes within 15 metres of them, with all the attendant dangers and risks that that entails.
Cisgender women are also fundamentally better equipped to ‘deal’ with makeup. They have been doing this makeup ‘thing’ since the age of three. They have skills. They know what colours work for them, they have years of experience trying different brands, types of products, application methods and so on. Transgender women seldom have this level of experience and self-knowledge. Therefore, what can take a cisgender woman 30 minutes to do will take most transgender women at least 45 minutes to achieve, if for no other reason than that we need more product and more processes need to be completed (can anyone say beard cover?). There are certainly highly skilled and experienced transgender women, but in the main I would say that the average cisgender woman is more competent in this regard than the average transgender women.
Having said all of that makeup can be a lot of fun. Especially when you have learned a few skills and can really start playing with different looks and techniques. Finding the right product for your face is also really important and will improve your overall makeup experience. I am planning an article in the near future where I will talk a little about my experiences in this regard, but for now, I just wanted a good whinge. Woe is me! Thanks for putting up with my nonsense. Normal less self-indulgent service should resume shortly.