Charlotte and Natalie emailed me in early 2019. They were getting married in late Spring of that year and wanted to book someone that would help them achieve a naturally feminine and glamorous makeup look sympathetic to their respective transitions.
These pictures are from their trial, I ended up pregnant and not at all well on their wedding day but I really wanted to share these images for anyone wanting to know the techniques I used to achieve a soft feminine shape, whether you’re transitioning or not.
Natalie wanted all out glamour. We used images of Hari Nef and her incredible editorial and red carpet looks as inspiration. Like Hari, Natalie has a squarish jaw, brown eyes and a clear complexion. I started on both the ladies by cleansing skin with Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Cream. The polyhydroxy acid nourishes tired, hormonal skin whilst getting rid of the dead skin cells sensitively. I firmly wiped away with warm flannel pads. I paid special attention to areas where Natalie still had some facial hair stubble- her final laser session was just before the wedding so there was some colour correction to do too; to ensure her complexion really was as natural and flawless as it could be. I finished the exfoliation process and added intense glow with Exuviance’s Bionic Tonic Treatment Pads ( more polyhydroxy acid as well as vitamins and intense hydration).
I moisturised with Embryolisse, I try to keep things simple when I first meet a client as I don’t know how much their skin will need/ handle/ respond to. I’ll also be applying makeup and want it to sit correctly. I primed with Kryolan’s HD Primer, its silicone base was great for gliding over and evening out skin texture. I used pushing motions with a dense complexion brush for this and the girls’ respective bases.
I’ll jump onto eyes now and then jump back to skin as that’s how I do things in situ. After curling Natalie’s completely insane lashes, I applied MAC’s Painterly onto her eyelids and layered with Ivory shadow, building up a neutrally toned, soft cut crease. I kept things soft so there wasn’t a stark contrast at her brow bone, which can look heavier when eye brows are shaded in. I added some subtle sparkle in the corner of the eyes, blending into the lower and upper lashes. Using something like Soft and Gentle by MAC with a liquid mixing medium- I love Illamasqua’s as it’s vegan and completely waterproof; gives the eye punch and is great at opening heavy set/ deep set eyes.
I layered a few textures of eyeliner. I didn’t want anything with the ladies to be harsh as I think harsh lines and textures can work against a feminine and natural bridal brief. The first product was a mahogany brown eye shadow, I then blended that with a black eye shadow. I then added a dark brown liner smudged into the lashes. The final two layers were a very fine line of black liquid liner ( and a setting liquid over the top) with a gentle flick added at the end to compliment the lashes and help Natalie’s eye shape seem larger, more feline and feminine and more awake. The final touch to her eyes was a waterproof mascara and some cluster lashes.
Moving onto base and concealer and further colour. The key to creating both of these looks were soft, light layers of products to achieve different levels of understated structure. I used a lightweight foundation on Natalie’s face as she had very little discolouration on the cheeks or under eyes. I then went onto a matte bronzing cream by Cover Fx, starting with a colour that was a medium- darkness, neutral- tone and shading around the outside of Natalie’s face. I worked in a figure of 8, starting from just under the cheekbones, rounding off slightly around the apples working my way around the face and under the jaw line. I swept colour just over the brow bone on both ladies to ‘pull them back’. I wanted to create very subtle curves around the edge of Natalie’s amazing features to feminise them further in a very subtle way. I then used a darker neutral tone to enhance the shadows on the outside edges of what I had just shaded. This must all be blended in circular and sweeping motions fairly deeply into the hair line and must be done sparingly. We want subtle, untraceable, feminine definition- not RuPaul’s Drag Race. I then moved onto highlight Natalie’s cheekbones with MAC Mineralise Soft and Gentle and filling in more colour on the face with blusher on the apples of the cheeks. I wanted both Natalie and Charlotte to look lit from within.
Natalie’s small area of dark stubble was worked on next. It was close to her chin, therefore right next to an incredible red lip we created. It absolutely needed to be invisible. I started with a peach corrector by Kryolan to kill the dark pigments. First applying with push pressure, blending out in circular motions. I then layered some Vichy Dermablend Invisible Powder over the top. I then put a white layer of corrector over that and after repeating the powder process, a layer of yellow toned corrector, all by Kryolan. This killed further colour that we didn’t want. You must blend both of these out really smoothly as they are correctors and will notice in photos, especially flash. These layers were needed as Natalie’s hair was so dark and so thick. Another light layer of powder. I then went in with concealer that was the exact shade of Natalie’s skin. Again, pushing it into the skin and over the top of what you’ve created. The pressure used must lighten as you go, and you must use different brushes for each application as you don’t want to move what you’ve just achieved and blended. You also don’t want to ‘ crack’ your work. A light dusting of powder is all that’s needed and I set everything with a NYX mattifying setting spray on both ladies. We don’t want to luminise concealer work, we want it ‘hidden’ and ‘blurred’.
After applying the most gorgeous red lip mix- I used several colours and two lip liners by Makeup Forever and NYX Cosmetics to create the shade, I repeated the bronze contouring and blush. You may find after adding lipstick to any look you create on yourself or someone else, you may want to go back into the rest of the face and add more colour.
Now for Charlotte! A lot of Charlotte’s process is the same I must admit. We used a very different colour palette as her complexion is very different. Her look was also pre Raphaelite/ Florence Welch influenced- translucent effortless skin, auburn freckles and features. Charlotte had some raised red bumps around her jaw going down her neck a little so I made sure to only use the Gentle Cleansing Cream on that area mainly as I didn’t want to aggravate what was a mixture of irritated pores, dryness and sensitivity by using acid then makeup on the area ( the acid wipes right before bed would be perfect treatment for this but that is another post…). I used Heal Gel everywhere on her face and neck to calm and nourish the area and then used Embryolisse to add extra moisture, I layered Embryolisse on again once I’d finished her eye makeup as her skin was quite dehydrated and drank everything in!
After curling Charlotte’s also- incredible lashes, I added Kiko Milano Neutral Eye Primer. To that I added an Ivory shadow and mixed a cream toned loose shimmer pigment with a richer gold loose shimmer pigment all by BarryM. I blended these over the eye socket with a fluffy socket brush, set with MAC’s Fix+ setting spray and blended a peach toned eye shadow ( I believe by Jouer Cosmetics ) over the top to completely diffuse everything. To define Charlotte’s eyes I used a similar process as with Natalie’s. I started with a sable colour smudged right into the lashes, then with a warm mahogany smudged over the top, remembering that when you’re smudging these eyeliners colours, you’re creating ombre layers rather than a block. That is what keeps it soft. After adding a brown liner into the lash line and sealing it the same as before, I applied waterproof mascara ( pushing product into the root of the lashes and wiggling the wand up the follicle) and added cluster lashes. The cluster shape I created opened Charlotte’s hooded eyes more, fanning up from the centre and stopping just before the outer end of the eye.
Charlotte’s gorgeous auburn, freckly complexion benefitted from similar contouring to Natalie’s. I also glided some of the mid tone over Charlotte’s nose, using a smaller brush to define further. I noticed that paintings of red- heads from the aesthetic movement ( where we got a lot of our influences from ) have minute washes of colour on the inner cheeks so I replicated that slightly too. Continuing washes of understated colour we finished Charlotte’s look with bisque and dark rose tinted blushers, a creme by Makeup Forever and a powder by MUD Cosmetics on the apples of the cheeks. An understated, almost undetectable gloss finished her look off as she wasn’t an avid lip colour wearer like Natalie. I used Marks and Spencer’s Rose gloss for this after prepping with Burt’s Bees Lipbalm.
So there you have it, I hope those reading this have found it useful, enlightening and you’re excited to try the look/s for yourselves!