This week is PRIDE MONTH!! As a cis-bisexual ally I love celebrating pride and meeting new people. I get to talk to many different people going through different transitions (coming out, speaking up or starting a full medical transition). I thought that this year I will officially share what I can do to help professionally on here.
In the past few years I have become very accustomed to talking and helping transitioning clients with figuring out new beauty and health routines. I am no medical expert and can only go by what feels right for each client.
But in lieu of people asking the difference between a men’s pedicure or a men’s leg wax than a woman’s: I say there’s none. Hair coming out of skin and nails growing aren’t much different between men and women.
I want to share some very basic information about this process. I am not a doctor but having guided research from great places like Elevate and Thunder Pride and talking with trans clients, friends and their families. This is just speaking from a professional esthetician and makeup artist.
The Process of Transitioning
Individuals are asked to live their life as their preferred gender for a period of time before any steps to hormone therapy or surgery are taken with the doctors . This is called the “Real-Life Experience”. This is to make sure they are ready to be who they want to be an not find another path which is the spectrum of sexuality and genders where they may feel they fit better.
“After one year of hormone therapy, Real-Life Experience and two letters of recommendation from health professionals, the individual is eligible for genital surgery. Not everyone decides to have surgery though; some people are content with the results they get from hormone therapy. For those who do want to pursue surgery, they can have procedures like liposuction, rhinoplasty or vocal cord surgery as part of their transition.” – spamedica.com
So why am I talking about this? I’m not the doctor, I’m not the psychiatrist: but I can still help.
Wether you are going through full transition, at the “real-life experience” time or are living more of the “transvest-lite” (its a song by NOFX) there are things many people feel nervous about doing or changing themselves beauty wise. These are things like:
-makeup and lashes
-nails and feet
-wigs and styling
I can do everything with discreet and sincere discretion and I will never pressure you to do something you aren’t ready for. Nor I do expect anyone to pull a Katelyn Jenner and have everything done in what it seems “one shot”.
Simple things that are easy and make you feel like you a bit more are services like getting a reshaping of your brows with a brow wax; this isn’t just applicable to MTF(male to female). Brow mapping can change for a more male look by learning how to grow out your brows and find a less arched or curved brow style. Getting a manicure and pedicure, a little polish can really give you a little lift.
Hormonal changes can also really mess around with your skin.
Females transitioning to male are given androgens. Males transitioning to female take estrogen, progesterone and testosterone-blocking agents.
For those taking testosterone acne and ingrown hairs can become a issue. New hair growth requires oil. If you naturally have dry skin a boost in oil production it can lead to pimples and acne. Women tend to have tighter pores as well so when transitioning the hair growth for facial hair can be a bit hard at first and you may experience lots of ingrown hairs. Learning a new skin care routine and coming in for monthly facials can help this transition run a bit smoother, though a visit to the dermatologist might be suggested if acne requires addition treatment like acutane.
Estrogen has the opposite effect on skin, which is why one of the perks of taking birth control as a teen is that it helps control acne. Estrogen can help clear up oily skin and also tends to thin hair out. This opposite effect though can create dry skin issues like sensitivity, more prone to rashes, reactions and scaring. Consulting with a esthetician to learn a new hydrating skin care routine or dealing with new skin sensitivities can be beneficial.
Semi/permanent hair removal is a option for MTF clients. Trying waxing is a cheaper and more viable solution compared to laser or electrolysis. Instead of throwing 1000s of dollars towards large scale treatments; the combination of estrogen thinning hair and regular 6 weeks appointments with waxing is seen as a easier option.
“These services(laser/electrolysis) are also not presently covered by OHIP and it can be a challenge to find a medi spa esthetician who is both sensitive to the trans client and able to work within fixed budgets. Permanently eliminating the bulk of facial hair may cost up to several thousand dollars and this should be discussed up-front and considered in the timeline of the client’s medical and social transition.” -Sherboune Health Center Ontario
There are other options for living your best life such as learning a bit about makeup or taking makeup lessons. Not everyone wears a lot of makeup and its not something you have to learn all at once but if you’re curious if its a thing you want to try; try it!
Eyelashes are another easy to perk you up into feeling more like yourself. There are lots of options, some are pricier or harder to maintain than others. I’ll list them in cost/easy to expensive/hard to maintain.
Mascara $E- Put it on daily, a tube can go from 5-40$ on where you buy it/brands. Pretty easy to learn as much as movies make it seem hard.
Strip Lashes $M- Strip lashes are the fake lashes you can buy in packs at any makeup counter. They are usually again 5-50$ depending on where you are getting (crazy human hair, or expensive brands like Sephora cost way more). They are trickier to learn how to put along your eye. Having a makeup artist fit them for you so they are the right size helps. You can reuse them multiple times.
Lash tinting $E– dyes your natural lashes black. Darkens and fills them out a bit more with the addition of fulling colouring the hair(some hairs become transparent on the ends). This lasts 4 weeks and costs under 20$.
Lash Perming/Lifting $$E– A esthetician can perm or lift your natural lashes for you so they have a more voluminous curl to them, they also get tinted black in this process. Lasts about 4 weeks and can cost 40-80$.
Lash Extensions $$$ M/H – Lash extensions are wonderful if you want bigger and bolder eyelashes. It cuts out the need for any mascara, you can just wake up and go! But they do cost anywhere from 100-180$ for a full set and 50-80$ for a fill(or more if you want Russian volume, I’ve seen some outrageous prices). They also need fills every 2-3 weeks as they fall out. The reason why they are medium to hard to keep up is the big list of things you can’t use around them (oils/creams, some makeup, stay out of saunas and more).
A hairstylist can also give you great options with different hair cuts and styles that can express who you feel you are the best. There are many options too if you are wanting to grow your hair long but don’t want to wait such as hair extensions and wigs! ( I personally love wigs because I don’t want to damage my hair more for all the different colours I want, also I can go to a short look to a super long one in a second 🙂 ).
At the end of the day you are you and I love you for who you are. All these ideas are superficial and just add the sparkle and polish on the diamond that is already you!