Paul Heaton is MD and makeup artist at Born makeup and styling studio in Manchester: www.born.uk.com. Here he shares some top tips for facial feminisation.
I work with many trans women to help them create their desired look, using my expertise to draw the eye towards the features they want to accentuate – and away from those they would rather play down.
Here are my top tips for using makeup to nail your facial feminisation:
Hide a prominent brow
The best feminising fix for your face is your hair. A wispy fringe (or bangs, as the Americans say), can hide a prominent brow, as well as softening your other facial features. Avoid a clear-cut fringe, as it creates a horizontal line across the top of your face, highlighting any angular features you may have.
Frame your face
It is incredible quite how much a change in eyebrow shape can impact your whole look. If you can, invest in having your eyebrows professionally shaped. Thinning and reshaping will give the illusion of them being higher. After reshaping, you can maintain them yourself using makeup to create perfect arches. Try to avoid over-plucking, as this can give you a harsh appearence. Brow kits with brow stencils are a must-have if your eyebrows are already thin. Play around with different shapes until you are comfortable with the overall look.
Eyes are the windows to the soul
Enhance your lashes to make your eyes appear bigger. Use an eyelash curler and invest in the very best mascara that your budget will stretch to. Eye makeup is an art truly worth mastering, the only way to do this is to practise until it feels entirely natural. There are plenty of tutorials available online so practise, practise, practise!
Clever distraction techniques
If you have a large nose, you can draw attention away from it by highlighting your other features. Enhance your eyes, lips and cheeks and give your nose a less prominent role. Contouring your nose using make-up is an excellent way of creating the effect of a thinner profile but, beware, this technique does require some practise and can be a bit harsh in daylight. Save it for evenings and photographs.
A flush of pink
Apply blush, but in the right way! A common mistake is to apply a stripe of it across the bottom of the cheekbones, but this highlights a more angular appearance which we want to avoid. Instead, apply blush to the apples of your cheeks. These are the parts of your cheeks that raise upwards when you smile. Applying blush here will create the illusion of a fuller-looking face and give you a feminine glow.
Always use a lip liner together with lipstick, this will accentuate and enlarge the overall shape of your lips. Opt for bright colours but avoid dark lipsticks, as these will make your lips look thinner.
Chin and jawline
Shoulder length hair will soften the lower part of your face. Wavy, layered hairstyles can help to distract from an angular jawline. Avoid short or chin-length hair. Use makeup to contour your jaw, softening the angles.
Remember, it is not one particular element in isolation which makes up a person’s face, it is everything working together which will help you to achieve the desired impact.