- If you’ve tried shaping your eyebrows before and it hasn’t worked for you, then. I recommend that you leave them for about 6 weeks before you have another go. The reason for this is that after this period of time, your natural shape should haver, the goal of shaping is to enhance, not redefine. Otherwise you will look unnatural. Yukky !!
- Mark the shape (so you can see what you’re aiming at) If you’re not going to use stencils then you’ll need to work out the basic shape. When I’m doing this for clients, I use an eyebrow pencil and showgirls the three points I’m aiming for. Imagine a vertical line going straight up the side of your nose. Where it intersects your eyebrow is point (1). (It’s where your eyebrow should start from) Next for point (2) imagine a line from the end of your nose that touches your iris. Where this intersects the upper edge of your eyebrow is point (2). Its where we want the highest point of your arch or curve to be. Lastly, for point (3) we want to imagine a line from the edge of your nose to the edge of your eye. Where this intersects your eyebrow is where we want your eyebrow to end. Take a look at the graphic below to see what I’m talking about. A good tip here is make sure that point (1) is at the same height as point (3)
In my earlier article, I explained one of the most important concepts in makeup and styling, the Face Shape and why it is so important for getting your look right. In this article, I’ll be talking about selecting the best eyebrow shape for your face. I(f you’re nervous about using tweezers, or its your first time, you can get some stencils here, which help you get an even shape.)
First things first
When we shape our eyebrows, we’re looking for the eyebrow has to complement the eye. Remember, they’re the frame to your eye, which is the main feature. You also can’t work with what isn’t there, so don’t be tempted to overpluck. Your eyebrows know what shape they should be, plucking should complement your natural shape and features.
Oval face Shape.
Generally, most Makeup Artists and stylists consider the oval face shape to the ideal face shape (Lucky you !!) and most of the eyebrow shapes that we discuss for the other shapes will try to make the face to look more oval in appearance.
Because the oval face is considered to be the ideal, most artists agree that that you only need a soft arch which goes straight up and then gently curves round at the top and down.
Long Face Shape.
With the Long face shape, because its longer than it is wider, we’re looking to create the illusion of width.
We do this by using a flatter eyebrow shape, with a minimal to no arch which tends to draw attention up, away from the face, emphasising the length.
I’m not a huge personal fan of blocking in eyebrows (ie drawing a rectangular shape and colouring in, creating sharp corners at the nose edge. I personally find it a bit artificial and more for cosplay or younger ladies) But, this is one face shape which suits “blocking in” if you want to try it.
Round Face shape.
Thinking about the difference between the round face shape and the oval, you can see that what we want to do is create the illusion of length.
We do this by creating as high an arch as we can within the natural brow shape.
If you’re not using a stencil. Start by creating as high an arch as you can that follows a straight line to the peak of the brow, and creates a more vertical line.
You want some really good lines and angles here, so stay away from a rounded brow shape which will make your face look even more round. Oopsy !!
Square Face Shape.
Unlike the round shaped face I’ve just discussed, because it’s more angular, we’re looking to create a softer arch than with the round face shape.
The softer curve will help offset the angles of the lower jaw line. Some makeup artists will also recommend you go for an angle line like for the round face, but I tried this on a client once and we both agreed it wasn’t a good look – it made her face look angular and artificial.
Heart Face Shape.
With the heart shape, because the hair line dominates the forehead, rather than use a defined or soft arch, we’re looking to create the same shape in our eyebrow line.
My preference is to use a more rounded eyebrow. A low rounded brow creates a natural look, which is soft, feminine and attractive.
Some makeup artists will suggest using a high angular arch for a more dramatic look, but my preference is to go for softer more rounded one, purely because I don’t want to appear dramatic every day !!!
Diamond Face Shape
In the unlikely event that you have a diamond shaped face, what we want to do is create the illusion that the face is narrower across the temple line and take away some of the angles of the jawline and forehead.
We do this by shortening the length of our eyebrow slightly (not too much as you will make your eyes look wider apart than they really are). What you are trying to do is to take out any thinned areas at the ear edge of the eyebrow to keep it tight and tidy with the edge of the eye.
To soften the angles of your face, use a soft rounded eyebrow, which will help soften the face and offset the angles.
So, there you have it in a nutshell, the six basic face types and the eyebrows that suit them !! As I said right at the start, if you are unsure of your shaping abilities, the best thing to do is to get some eyebrow stencils, or, if you are feeling more confident, go to a professional eyebrow threader. They’re quick, painless and really effective !!!
Love and hugs
You’ve probably read a few blogs on here by now (hopefully !!) and noticed I tend to refer to tones of skin, and face shapes when I talk about makeup, or looks to try, so in this article, I thought I would try to explain the importance of face shape, the different types and how to work out which one you are.
Why is face shape important ?
Well, quite simply, the shape of your face strongly influences which hairstyles, glasses, or makeup effects are going to suit you. It also helps makeup artists like myself to explain looks and styles using a common language and also allow you to look and compare yourself to others for looks to try. In particular photos of celebrities at events, which are a great way of seeing which shapes and looks will suit you. In particular hair styles !
What types of face shape are there ?
Generally, you’ll find that makeup artists will refer to one of six shapes when referring to faces.
- Oval. The oval face type gracefully tapers from the forehead to the chin. The forehead is wider and often you’ll have more prominent cheekbones and a rounded chin. Celebrities with an oval face shape include Kylie Minogue, Blake Lively and Jessica Alba.
- Long. The long face type is similar to the oval face type, but the length from forehead to chin is just a little longer, maybe by a couple of centimetres. The cheekbones won’t be a pronounced with this shape though and sometimes the chin will be a little more pronounced. Celebrities with this face shape include Teri Hatcher, Sarah Jessica-Parker and Mila Jovovich.
- Round. No surprises here ! The shape of your face from forehead to chin compared to the width across the cheekbones to your ears is the same, or at least very close ! Celebrities with this face shape include Kirsten Dunst, Kelly Osborne and Drew Barrymore.
- Square. In one respect, the square face shape is similar to the round one in that the forehead to chin and width across the cheekbones is pretty much the same. The principle difference is that the jaw line is much more angular and prominent to the chin. Celebrities with this type of face shape include Jennifer Anniston, Sandra Bullock and Natalie Portman.
- Heart. With the heart face shape, you’ll notice that the forehead and chin are more prominent. Usually the shape of the forehead is influenced by the hair line, in there will be a peak in the middle of the forehead which divides it into two, like a heart shape ! Celebrities with this type of face shape include Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson and Reece Witherspoon.
- Diamond. The diamond face type is more of an unusual one. For this shape the width across the cheekbones or temples is wider than the forehead or chin. You’ll probably also notice that your cheekbones are higher on your face too. The main difference between this face shape and the heart face shape is the hairline at the forehead. You won’t have that peak which divides the forehead in two. Celebrities with Diamond face shapes include Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Greene (Told you it was rarer !!)
How to work out which type you are
Now you know the 6 basic types, you need to work out which one you are ! It really couldn’t be simpler !! You only need two measurements and then three observations………
- Measurement one. From the top of your forehead at the hairline to the bottom of your chin, right down the middle. Doesn’t have to be to exact, near enough will do
- Measurement two. Straight across the cheekbones, just below the temples. Again, doesn’t have to be too exact.
If measurement one equals measurement two. You’ve got a round or square face. If measurement one is longer, then you have an long, oval, or oblong. If measurement two is longer, you’ve probably got a diamond shape face. Next look at your hair line. Have you got a peak in the middle of your hairline ? You’ve got a heart shaped face. Next look at your jawline. If its angular, you’ve got a square or diamond face. If you have a more pronounced chin, you’ve probably got a oblong or long face. If you don’t see a pronounced jawline, its round
And it’s as easy as that !! If you get pickled, you can always send a photo to us and ask – we’ll be only to pleased to help.
Love and hugs
Do you remember those days when you were first experimenting with makeup ? I certainly do !!! Because I was living on my own, I didn’t have a stash I could “borrow” on the sly, so I had to buy my own. I can still remember those first few frantic “smash and grab” style runs into the drug store, grabbing whatever looked right and then racing out before anyone could give me a funny look. (Other than the checkout girl !!!)
In those days (about the mid 90s) the internet wasn’t as an advanced respository of information as it is now. Girls like me used to gather on usenet forums and taking pictures wasn’t as straightforward as it is now, with smartphones and filters and sharing. I remember posting my first picture on forum and getting some honest, raw feedback about it. Devastating as it was at time, I persevered (add a few more perseveres here) and here I am now !! Little old me (a little less of the old though. If you don’t mind)
As trans women, we have a complicated relationship with makeup. Although there is no single, defining way to express ourselves as women, makeup is among the first that we’ll experiment with. For me personally, its only second to wearing a bra as a symbol of my femininity. Who would have thought a quick flick of a mascara wand could do so much to affirm our identities ?
Makeup can help improve the self esteem of the woman in the mirror staring back at us. It can help make the process of “passing” a little bit easier and for some women, it can make them feel more confident in themselves when going out in public. Someone even told me once that it made them feel safer and more congruent in their surroundings, which was something they were afraid off after hearing about a murder through TDOR. It’s particularly useful in the early days of transition when the effects of hormone replacement therapy and electrolysis haven’t yet kicked in.
As these more permanent treatments start to take effect, our skin softens and our facial hair thins out, we can be more selective with our use of makeup. Our expectations change from wanting to hide our “maleness” to wanting to accentuate our femininity. Our application becomes less heavy and our skills and knowledge increase, we may even visit a makeup artist at a department store to learn techniques like contouring and highlighting. These help soften our face, accentuate features like cheekbones, brow and jaw lines. We may even try a bolder shade of lip colour to emphasise our lips, which are usually paler than genetic women.
As our transition progresses, our relationship with makeup continues to change, we move from it being a necessary stress, to a pleasure. We don’t feel like we are trying to hide anything more, our use becomes more free flowing and creative. Liberating. We’re no longer consumed by finding that perfect look, it’s a form of self expression and mood, which can vary from wearing none at all, to a ton of it. The best thing about makeup is there are no rules, just guidelines and as for those, well, they’re just guidelines ! It’s about accentuating the look you most feel comfortable in as an expression of your female identity.
That’s where groups and pages like ours are so valuable and useful. There are literally thousands of girls within them, all friendly, all going through the same process, the same fears, the same feelings. We KNOW its a huge first step, but we promise, all the girls are really friendly and so genuine with their feedback, you can also message or call us directly if you want some help. We’re always keen to share and help you develop on your journey. If nothing else, we can help you avoid those makeup disasters like “Panda Eyes”, “Slut lips” and the perils of green eyeshadow !! Now THAT has to be worth something !
After all, your relationship will be a lasting one that won’t just end with your transition. And we want to help you make the most of it ❤
Love and hugs
- You DON’T need every different kind !!!! (We don’t even do that in the salon) Although it can seem like you’re missing out if you don’t have every brush, applicator or sponge, because there’s endless different makeup brushes that come in all different shapes and sizes YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO BUY THEM ALL !!! (GEMMA, WE ARE TALKING TO YOU, YES YOU !!!) In our opinion you only really need six brushes in your kit. A foundation/concealer brush (its ok, we give you permission to have one of each) , a powder brush, a contour brush, a crease brush, a blending brush, and an angle brush. With these in your collection you’re more than ready to create any look you want.
- Cleaning brushes often is an absolute ESSENTIAL: We wrote a note last year about the effects of dirty makeup brushes, which you can catch here. Suffice it to say “Icky, Icky, Icky” and leave it at that. !!! Get into the habit of cleaning your makeup brushes once a week will help keep your skin clear, your makeup looking flawless, and your brushes lasting longer.
- To clean your brushes you don’t need a fancy cleaner: In fact, in the salon, we mostly use a gentle baby shampoo. Just rinse the brushes in water, swirl them into the soap so it lathers up, massage it thoroughly so you’re cleaning all of the brush (not just the tips), and rinse them out until the water runs clear.
- Please, don’t Soak them when you’re cleaning them: They’re not paint brushes girl !!! (we’re not exactly sure, but we don’t think you do that with them either) Soaking brushes causes liquid to seep into the handle, which can then loosen the glue that holds the bristles together in place, making the brush fall apart. Although it’s a bit more labour intensive, just clean the brush face down in running water over a bowl made up with some baby shampoo.
- Once they’re clean, lay them flat to dry out: Once nice and clean, use some kitchen towelling to gently squeeze around the bristles so they’re not soaking wet. Lay the brushes on some more towelling on a flat surface and allow the bristles to hang off the edge of the table. Placing them so that they’re not laying flat against the table will protect their shape. Remember to always lay brushes out to dry closer to windows or fresh air. If you leave them to dry in places with no sunlight, like the bathroom, they’ll grab onto a funny odour, similar to damp laundry.
- Synthetic versus Natural : There are two different kinds of bristles — natural and synthetic. Natural makeup brushes are typically made out of various animal hair, while synthetic brushes are made up of manmade bristles, usually from nylon or other synthetic fibres. Natural brushes tend to be more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, many of which are now so fine, there really isn’t a lot to choose between them. In the salon, most of the brushes we use are synthetic, with the only exception being blending brushes, which most of the girls prefer to be natural.
- Use Natural fibre brushes with powder products: If you’re desperate or have a preference to use natural fibre brushes, you’ll find they tend to work best with powder products. Everything from bronzers and blushes to eyeshadows and everything in between. Natural fibres move freely, allowing you to not only pick up enough product in one swipe, but also to blend it out beautifully.
- Synthetic brushes are best for liquid and cream products: Unlike natural brushes, synthetic makeup brushes don’t have a cuticle, which makes them great to use with liquid or cream products because they won’t trap makeup. Synthetic fibres also tend to stick better to one another, making them ideal for precision application.
- Size matters: (Without wishing to be too rude) The longer the brush the better in our opinion. The longer the brush fibre, the softer the application and coverage. Shorter fibres are best for getting a fuller application and coverage. We also prefer to have long handle brushes too, it gives more space to see what’s happening as you apply product, by keeping your hand away from the face.
- Nothing lasts forever !!! Even if you take great care your brushes, they won’t last forever. Look for the signs. If your brush is shedding, or the handle breaks, or you can’t get a brush clean anymore, it’s time to toss the brush in the trash. Hell girl – what’s wrong with you – its time to do more shopping !!! WOOHOO !!!
2019 is shaping up to be a hectic and exciting year for me !!! Not only have I got a number of really amazing projects on the go with my charity work, but following a number of discussions with my friend Lesley, I agreed to join her team at Lesley Gray as their make up instructor, working on helping trans women in the states learn how to make best use of their makeup as well as helping Lesley developing her business in preparation for retirement.
It’s always so much fun working with Lesley, not only is she a wonderful woman and great friend to me personally, but she gives so freely of herself, with no thought of reward, that you can’t help but be inspired by what she is doing and join in !!
I’m really excited to join her team for a number of reasons, firstly, its a natural extension of what we’re doing in the UK with YNotbU and the Transgender Makeup pages and groups I run in Facebook, but secondly, it continues to validate my work as a professional makeup artist. Something I’m not only having a lot of fun doing, but also immensely privileged for the trust, friendship and the chance to be able to share what I’ve learnt with Lesley and her friends. Really thrilling for me !!
Bring on 2019 is what I say !!!
I was asked this weekend by the lovely “Friend of the store” Allison (it’s a new thing for us – go with it !!!) if I could write some articles going over some Makeup basics, which sounded like a great idea to me !!!
How do primers work ???
How to apply your primer
Advantages of Using Makeup Primer
- It reduces the appearance of pores – Iâ€™m not proud of it, but just to the side of my nose, I have a large pore (You could probably serve dip out of it at parties, gross but true). If like me, you have the occasional deep pore, youâ€™ll find that using a primer will seal, fill and reduces their appearance. Even if you’re one of those lucky women who are blessed with small pores, youâ€™ll find that it a useful to use a primer, particularly if you use a liquid foundation, which can sometimes magnify their appearance.
- It smoothens your skin and evens its tone – Using a primer will make your skin smooth and soft to the touch – Glorious !!!! (See what I did there ?) If you have redness, burst blood vessels, moles or freckles on the face, a primer will help minimize all these. Using a Primer, gives your skin a smoother more even tone. It will also help with evening out fine lines around the eyes or edges of the lips.
- It makes the makeup more resisilient – The main task of a primer is to make your makeup more resistant. A primer helps reduce sweating through the pores; it helps the makeup remain longer held in its place. A primer also acts as a certain shield for dust, water, and dirt, which erases makeup.