Transgender makeup can be tricky and difficult to learn, but artists like Jodie Lynn help make makeup goals achievable and have made dreams come true for many transgender women.
Originally on Cosmopolitan.com
When Kelly – formerly known as boxing promoter Frank Maloney – strutted into the Celebrity Big Brother house recently, it was a bit of a first for the transgender community. Men choosing to live as a women has always existed, but by making such a public appearance in her new feminine get-up, Kelly helped to chip away at the ignorant view some people still have on the subject. We chatted to Jodie Lynn, a makeup artist who has dedicated her career to helping men reveal the woman within…
“I have been obsessed with makeup for as far back as I can remember.”
I loved the smell of it and the different shades and colours. My parents bought me one of those mannequin heads as a child and I virtually wore it out! I had a fascination with drag queens from a young age too – using makeup to switch genders seemed so powerful to me.”
“My clients vary in age from 15 to 96, from cleaners to politicians.”
There really is no trend in who transgenderism affects – Christians, Jews, Muslims… Everyone! The majority of my clients are living in the closet. Most of the time, nobody knows their secret apart from me. The transvestite clients normally live a heterosexual existence with a wife and family who have no idea that they have been sporadically dressing as a woman for years. They don’t wish to transition or change gender, they just have an overwhelming desire to dress as a female every so often. These clients will come to me for a makeover and a dressing-up session but they have to change back at the end and go back to their normal lives.
“There is no specific male-to-female makeup course.”
Instead, I went for lessons with an amazing transsexual woman called Pandora De’Pledge who sadly died a few years ago from cancer. Pandora had been one of the Barbettes (Transsexual waitresses and performers) at Madame Jo Jo’s back in the 1980’s. She was big, blonde and beautiful and could carve out a female face on any man and make them look amazing. Pandora taught me about the main differences between a male and female face and how to address these by using clever hi-lighting, contouring and shading. She was amazing and I will always be incredibly grateful for her invaluable advice.
“I own a London makeup studio called The Boudoir.”
I give my clients a makeover then take them out onto Oxford Street, Covent Garden and Knightsbridge. This is a whole new challenge for them as it involves them trying to “pass” in public. Rarely do we get stares, though. We go out as a group – have sat in the Royal Box at the theatre and attended over 10 Royal Ascots. We don’t do things by half and when we do it, we do it with style and dignity. I was recently offered the chance to buy a similar business in West Hollywood. London and LA are both fabulous places to be a transgender person – you can just blend in and enjoy your day.
“I don’t like wigs that look like wigs.”
I tend to use Noriko, Renee of Paris or Amore ones – they are all great quality synthetic. I love human hair wigs too but they need heat styling every time you wear them and for a lot of my clients who have to keep their wig hidden away, they just don’t have the time, patience or expertise to completely restyle a wig every time they wear it. I really like the gradient colour wigs with darker roots, especially in the blonde and lighter brown tones. The darker roots just make the wig look more real and for most of my girls, that is what it is all about.
“I have watched my clients break down and cry after their makeovers.”
Sometimes it’s the first time that they have ever seen themselves looking realistic as a female. It can be totally overwhelming and somewhat of a relief. It can also be quite frightening for them as it suddenly presents a whole world of possibilities that they never felt that they had before. One client who has now been successfully transitioned to female for the past five years said that when she first came to me, she was hoping that I would make her look horrible so that she could shelve all the feelings and then perhaps it would go away. When she saw how I made her look and more importantly, how it made her feel, her world turned upside down because she suddenly realized that her dreams to live as a woman were now a possibility.
JODIE LYNN’S TOP TIPS FOR TRANSGENDER MAKEOVERS
1. CONCEALING STUBBLE
“Heavy stubble can be disguised using a Red Mehron Paint Stick to neutralise the blue tones in the shadow, before using Kryolan TV Paint Stick over the top. This is theatrical makeup made to withstand the heat from theatre lights, so good for a person wearing a wig that’s stopping heat escaping from their head. For less heavy shadow I tend to use MAC Full Coverage or MAC Pro Longwear Foundation because of their durability. MAC are a very Transgender supportive company. Translucent powder is also crucial to set the foundation and stop it from lifting around the beard area.”
2. SHAPING EYEBROWS WITHOUT PLUCKING
“Eyebrows can be disguised and reshaped using eyebrow wax. The wax needs to be applied to the hairs that you want to disguise and leave the hairs behind that you want to create a nice arched shape with. Then you can apply foundation over the wax followed by a lighter coloured eyeshadow such as white or cream.”
3. CREATING FEMALE CONTOURS
“There are 18 structural differences between a male and female face, and I address this with very structured contouring. I shade MAC Bronzer in Golden Refined on the temples to slim the forehead down, the sides of the nose to reduce the width, the indent of the cheeks to make a sharper cheek bone, and the jaw line to round off and soften the typical square male jaw. I also highlight the top of the cheekbone, the middle of the nose, the middle of the forehead, the middle of the top lip, and the middle of the chin with a very light dusting of white eye shadow.”
4. PLUMPING LIPS
“Women generally have fuller lips than men, so I need to line the lips outside of their natural lip line, but without creating that sex doll look. I then fill in with a lipstick using a lip brush, powder over, dust away the excess and then reapply. This makes the colour stronger, prevents bleeding and helps the lipstick to stay on all night. I also add a small amount of white eye shadow to the middle of the bottom lip to give it a fuller appearance.”
Find out more at Jodie’s website for Le Boudoir.