Three Tips for Healthier Skin Care

Does your skin care routine simply consist of washing your face with your body soap in the shower? Are you unsure the best way to take care of your skin after electrolysis or laser treatments? Are you starting to wear makeup and unsure how to properly cleanse and treat your face? You are not alone—many mtfs have no idea how to take care of their skin and can benefit from adopting a proper routine. Here are three simple steps for improving your skin:

1) Identify your skin type

Your skin type will fall into one of four categories—dry, oily, combination, and sensitive. Dry skin can appear red and irritated and is often accompanied by patches of dry flaky skin. Oily skin gets greasy as the day progresses. Combination type often sports blackheads and blemishes on the chin, nose and forehead. This is commonly called the “t zone” and skin tends to be oiler in this area than on the cheeks. Sensitive skin is reactive to environmental factors and sun exposure and may also include skin conditions like rosacea, eczema or psoriasis that are exacerbated by stress, diet, and lack of sleep.  Once you identify your skin type, you can shop for skin care products specifically designed to cleanse and treat your face’s needs.

2) Select skin care products for your skin type

There are a myriad of skin care products available for your specific skin type. Most brands available at your favorite drugstore are adequate to meet your needs (unless you prefer to navigate the department store brands for higher quality and pricier lines). Cetaphil, Aveno, and Neutrogena are reasonably priced and have multiple skin care options. Often drug stores carry their own brand comparable to name brands and usually shelve them side by side so you can compare their ingredients and prices. Three products to include in your skin care regime are cleansers, toners, and moisturizers. You may also choose to include eye and wrinkle creams or treatments, and over the counter topical ointments like hydrocortisone to reduce minor skin irritations. Additionally, if you are wearing makeup, you will need makeup removers especially for the sensitive eye area.

Three products to include in your skin care regime are cleansers, toners, and moisturizers.

Cleansers often come in creams for dry skin, gels or oil-free for oily and combination skin, and fragrance and irritant-free for sensitive skin. Eye makeup remover comes in premoistened pads and towelettes or you can use a cotton ball to apply to your face. Toners are designed to finish up the cleansing job, minimize pores, and balance your skin, but avoid the delicate eye area. Moisturizers for dry skin tend to be thicker and usually contain some kind of oil. Moisturizers for oily, combination and sensitive skin are lighter in consistency, often oil-free and may be called “hydrators”.  A moisturizer with a sunblock of 15 or more is a good idea for any skin type. Eye creams, wrinkle reducers and skin reparative products like antioxidants and night creams are great additions to your skin care routine as well and there are many different ones available for your specific needs or budget.

3) Simple skin care routines for day and night

In the morning simply cleanse your face, apply toner and moisturizer and add any reparative product you purchased specifically for the day, for example, an antioxidant. At night, remove your eye makeup thoroughly, apply toner, and use your night time moisturizer or reparative product if you have one. Prior to laser hair removal or electrolysis, it is recommended to avoid the sun and stop any acne treatment as both can make your skin more sensitive. It is a good idea to discuss your skin care routine with your hair removal professional to determine if you need to modify or stop your routine for a while and follow their recommendations. Of course, if you have any concerns about the appearance or health of your skin, consult with your dermatologist, as my skin care suggestions are not based on medical knowledge or training but from my background as a professional makeup artist for television and film production.

If you follow these three skin care tips, you can be well on your way to healthier skin! If you are still unsure of the best skin care routine for yourself and would like some assistance, you are welcome to schedule a makeup/hair consultation at Trans-Image Consulting Group!

Posted on September 10, 2015 .

Three Strategies to Improve Your Feminine Presentation

As a transgender woman, presenting more feminine may seem like an unachievable goal. If you are emerging into your authentic self as an adult, unconscious male behaviors and habits may belie your efforts to act more feminine. Consider how you sit in short skirts or dresses, your table etiquette, and how you gesture when you speak—do those areas need improvement? Here are three strategies for improving your feminine presentation:

1) Identify your goals

For many mtfs loving, accepting and living as your authentic self has been a struggle and didn’t happen instantaneously or easily.
It also takes time and practice to act more feminine to complement the woman you are inside. The first step in improving your feminine presentation is identifying goals that are reachable and realistic given your level of motivation, capacity for patience and current lifestyle. Do you want to raise the timbre of your voice? Do you want to walk more ladylike? Do you want to gesture more femininely? Do you want to improve your table manners? Any or all of these things can improve with time, patience and commitment.

2) Observe cisgender women

Once you have identified your desired goals for improving your feminine presentation, start observing cisgender women that embody the level of womanliness you wish to achieve. If you admire active women, watch them at the gym or during a professional athletic competition on television.

Consider how you sit in short skirts or dresses, your table etiquette, and how you gesture when you speak—do those areas need improvement?

If you’re still “eating like a man” or attack a plate of food like it’s your last meal on earth, observe a girlfriend’s table etiquette next time you are dining together. A masculine voice is generally lower in pitch and comes from the chest—you can feel it vibrating in your chest and throat when you say the word “mood” with your usual voice. A feminine voice generally has a higher pitch and comes from the head, you can feel that when you say “yoohoo.” If you sing, you may have heard the terms “chest voice” and “head voice.” Singers try to bridge the gap smoothly between the two vocal ranges. You can hear the difference in vocal pitch between the male and female news anchors while watching your nightly news. Learning by example--watching cisgender women in how they carry themselves and listening to how they speak—is the best way to improve your feminine presentation.

3) Practice makes almost perfect

Once you have identified your goals for presentation and notice how cisgender women move in their bodies and speak, you can begin practicing on your own time, in the privacy of your home, or with trusted family members or friends. It may be helpful to mimic your girlfriend’s table manners while dining together, or watch your favorite actress and imitate how they gesture or walk. Download an app for your phone that can teach you how to speak in a higher register, record your own voice and the desired feminine pitch level you would like to achieve. Practice speaking or singing in a more feminine voice while you are driving or cooking a meal. Practice makes almost perfect, so give yourself time every day to make your desired improvements whether it’s only a few minutes in the shower or an hour set aside each day or week.

With these strategies, your level of feminine presentation can improve and begin to feel more natural and automatic! If you are still struggling to act more feminine as a transgender woman and feel you could use some professional assistance, schedule a feminine presentation consultation at Trans-Image Consulting Group!

Posted on September 10, 2015 .

Three Strategies to Survive a Trip to the Mall

Has your experience shopping for clothing and accessories as a transgender woman been daunting, humbling or unsuccessful? Are you uncertain what styles or designs complement your personality, lifestyle, body shape or budget? Here are three strategies for making your next solo shopping trip both fun and fruitful:

1)   Identify your style

As you already know, emerging into your authentic self as an mtf is a journey that doesn’t happen overnight. The same can be said about accruing flattering clothing and accessories to match the woman you are inside. Consider your personality and lifestyle and how you wish you to dress at work and in your free time.  Are you outgoing or shy, refined or earthy? Do you have to dress more conservatively at work and like to be sexier when you go to social events? Do you prefer to be comfortable and casual at all times? Do you have a fixed budget or are you able to splurge any time you wish?

The next step in identifying your style is to simply look at what women (both mtfs and cisgender) are wearing—what you like, what you don’t like, and what you think may suit you. Make a mental note of an ensemble your favorite actress wore in a movie, a woman’s dress you noticed at the grocery store, or a pair of earrings your friend wears. Go through magazines and clip out clothing and accessories you like or download images you find online. Once you are clear on how you want to present yourself to the world, you can start making a wish list of basic wardrobe pieces, undergarments and accessories that you feel will reflect and enhance the woman you are inside.  

2) Assess your body shape

Assess your body shape: If you have broad shoulders, consider balancing your lower body with wide or flared pants and an a-line skirt or dress.

Once you have identified your style and the basic pieces you wish to have in your wardrobe, assess your body shape and what cuts and fabrics would currently suit you. Height and shoe size pretty much remain the same throughout adulthood, but weight, muscle tone, and body fat can fluctuate. If you are in the process of losing weight and wish to go down a couple of dress sizes, choose core pieces that are more inexpensive that can be replaced easily without concern for your budget or invest in good clothing brands that can be altered when you reach your goal weight. As a transgender woman, without hormones or surgical options, you may still retain some of your masculine body features like broad shoulders, a thicker waist, a flat butt, and small breasts. An hour glass figure may be desirable, but you do need to manage your expectations of what clothing and undergarments can do to actually achieve this goal. It’s all about balancing your current body shape and creating the illusion of more womanly curves. If you have broad shoulders, consider balancing your lower body with wide or flared pants and an a-line skirt or dress. You can augment your bust line with padded bras or inserts to achieve your desired breast volume. You can create the illusion of a rounder butt or curvier hips with undergarments that contain padding or silicone shapers. Cinch your waist with a corset or smooth your tummy with a body shaper.  

3) Plan your shopping trip

Once you have identified your style, assessed your body shape, and considered what clothing designs and undergarments can flatter or augment your current body shape, it’s time to plan your shopping trip! Think about the types of stores you would like to explore and believe will fit your budget--thrift stores, big box or department stores, or small boutiques. Once you have narrowed down your preferred stores, contact their management and ask if they will accommodate you with your preferred gender or a gender neutral dressing room, and if you wish, the best time a salesperson can assist you.  Lastly, look at your weekly schedule, and determine when you are not stressed from work or life obligations and can plan to get a good night’s sleep—shopping can be tiring!

With these shopping strategies, your solo shopping trip to the mall can prove to be more pleasurable and successful! If shopping alone still feels daunting and you feel you could use some assistance, please schedule a personal shopping consultation at Trans-Image Consulting Group!



Posted on September 10, 2015 .