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I'm gonna learn MAKEUP


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I read a while ago about some free makeup classes for trans folks that Sephora was doing, but at the time there weren't any such events at my local Sephora. I checked again today and HOLY CROW they're doing one in four weeks,  and you better believe I signed right up!


I promise to report back after the event, to share my experience, thoughts, and ¿¿¿maybe a picture???


Anyway, I'm super excited!

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  • Forum Moderator

Great!  I hope you enjoy yourself and learn something too! 



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That sounds good!


Make full use of the opportunity. As Jani said - enjoy yourself :)



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I was walking past a Sephora yesterday (I never dare go inside, because it’s so intimidating and overwhelming) a few minutes before opening, and there in the window at their beauty station was a sister getting made up! What is this secret Sunday morning trans makeover at my local mall??? Gotta learn more...

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Marlin, give them a call to inquire!  You might find it to be fun to go and get a makeover. 



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20 minutes ago, Marbabar said:

What is this secret Sunday morning trans makeover at my local mall??? Gotta learn more...


Sephora is VERY trans friendly, and many stores have make-up artists who are Trans.  I was recently a contact person at my LGBT center for some of their stores in my area who were putting on special Classes for Trans people.  Ulta Cosmetics also has many Trans employees and "consultants" as well.


Sephora"s Classes for Trans folks (yes Trans Guys too) are listed on their main website, it is a national thing.

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Yeah Sephora is very friendly with the trans community. There was literally a line out the door in Boston on pride day. 

Is is intimidating though. More because of all the youn teens in there for me than anything. I say to myself all the time. “Really!? You’re afraid of 14 year old girls?!” Still haven’t gotten past it though. But it’s coming. ?

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14 year old girls can be brutal! Don't minimize their potential for cruelty.  ?


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47 minutes ago, SugarMagnolia said:

14 year old girls can be brutal! Don't minimize their potential for cruelty.  ?


But every now and then, they can really be great, and they are turning the corner that way daily!!


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A Pack?   ??????????  Kirsten, they're not wolves!!  


They're just girls starting puberty, like you!?


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3 hours ago, Kirsten said:

a pack stay back!!


Cub Scouts are in Packs, but they dont like make up!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had my makeup class yesterday! It was informative and I feel like I got my first glimpse of myself as a Real Woman (meaning an actual trans woman as opposed to an androgynous nonbinary person). I can't say the whole experience was 100% positive, but maybe 72% which is still pretty good.


I will write a description of my experience and post it here, along with a picture of myself.

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  • Forum Moderator

 I’m really interested in these classes myself, I can’t wait to see your description of what went on in there !



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I ended up writing WAY MORE than I was planning to. Hang on to your hat, I'm about to find out if there's a post size limit.

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After I signed up for the Sephora makeup class for trans folks, I went scouring the internet for people’s experiences of the class. At first I couldn’t find much, but after a few weeks went by, I started seeing more people talking about their experiences. Most people had very positive things to say.


A few people didn’t have great things to say, but that is to be expected, I think; the classes are run in different locations by different people, with different groups of attendees. That’s a lot of variables to expect a 100% experience across the board.


I’m a worrier, though, so seeing even a few negative reviews made me very nervous about what I was walking into. It’s just who I am.


For one, some people had talked about getting misgendered by the Sephora employees, even after providing their names and pronouns. I knew that being misgendered might be upsetting and distracting for me, so I decided I would go to the class as feminine as I could muster. So I spent the month before the class assembling the outfit I would wear. My first full outfit of women’s clothes.


Here’s the deal. I’m a fat person. It’s been several months since I had the nerve to weigh myself, but I’m probably just under 300 pounds right now, at 5 feet 11 inches tall. My size, combined with my ignorance of women’s clothes and my tiny clothing budged enforced by poverty, made assembling this outfit quite the challenge.


BUT I DID IT. I found a skirt, top, and cardigan which looked nice together and fit my body. I found tights and shoes. I planned to do my hair so it would be long and curly and pretty. I would get a super close shave that morning. I was determined not to be misgendered.


But my shoes never came in, and I didn’t have any shoes that would work with the skirt. So I wore the top and cardigan with my blue jeans from the men’s department at Walmart. And my old leather everyday men’s shoes. This was a blow. Also, I was running late that morning, and though I did get a nice close shave, I also sliced myself open with my fancy new safety razor. I was moving too fast and got careless.


So when I left my house, it was in men’s jeans and shoes, with a big ugly cut on my face like a huge cat scratch. But also wearing my fave earrings, with hair on point. All this is to say that even before I got to the class, I was upset and nervous. I didn’t look how I wanted to look and I was concerned I might be misgendered.


My class was at the Sephora in the Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock, Arkansas, at 9:30 on a Sunday morning. I got to the mall early and circled the parking lot a couple of times before settling into a parking spot. I sat in my car and watched YouTube videos on my phone in a vain attempt to take my mind off my anxiety. And, eventually, I entered the mall and went to the store about 10 minutes early, as requested by the email that Sephora had sent me.


I got to the store at the same time as another trans woman, maybe in her mid or late sixties. There were people inside. I tried the door and it was locked. The people inside gestured for me to wait a second, and one of them left, presumably to fetch a key. The woman next to me tried the door herself. It was still locked, which was apparently a surprise to her. I thought some unpleasant things about her and felt guilty. Then they employees unlocked the door and we entered.


We were not the first. There were already a couple of trans girls there, presumably in their early or mid twenties. I would have felt old if it weren’t for the lady I entered with. The employees were all young and attractive. I felt awkward. The older lady was very boisterous and inserted herself into conversations in a way that I disliked. I sat on a stool and waited for class to start. Another trans girl arrived, looking very young. A couple of young people, possibly a cis man and woman, came in. As did another cis man and woman, but not together. There were nine students, five of us apparently trans, and three employees, all apparently cis.


The students filled out a short survey about our skin and makeup needs, got scanned by a little camera thing to find color matches, and the employees selected an appropriate foundation and concealer for each of us. One by one we chose stations at a row of tables in the back of the store. I chose first. Then the older lady I entered with chose the station across from me. She used to be a truck driver. She used to be in the military. She kept talking to me but I was too nervous to engage in conversation. I think I managed to politely excuse myself, and wandered around the store until class was starting.


The employees asked us to introduce ourselves. The older lady told us her life story. Everyone else said our names, how much we knew about makeup and maybe a pronoun or where we came from. The young people who I read as a cis man and woman were roommates but did not mention why they chose to come. The young cis woman said she has a dear friend who is getting into drag but couldn’t make it to the class.


The young cis man was apparently a brand rep for Urban Decay who knew a lot about skincare and makeup. He said he used to be roommates with one of the employees. He didn’t seem to take notice of anyone but himself and his friends who worked there. His station was right next to mine and I felt embarrassed by my lack of knowledge when he so clearly knew what he was doing.


Throughout the whole class, I didn’t notice anyone being misgendered, but the employees did often refer to us collectively as ‘guys’. That doesn’t bother me, but I do know it bothers some people.


We were asked for a volunteer to be a model for the employees to demonstrate on. Most of us seemed nervous or shy. The older lady volunteered at the same time as one of the younger trans women, but I don’t think anybody but me noticed that, because the older lady was so loud.


I was sweating with nerves, and because I’m a fat person in a cardigan standing at a table under bright lights. I worried the makeup would just slide off my face. I put my hair back into a ponytail and never took it back out, even for selfies later in the day. The employees taught us about skin care.


We were advised to use a cleanser, an exfoliator, an eye cream, a moisturizer, and sunscreen. One of the employees was a skin care expert and demonstrated on the older lady. The rest of us followed along with products they supplied. After all of that, my face felt tingly and wet. One of them asked me how my skin felt. I did not answer, “Tingly and wet.” I answered, “Good!” I still worried the makeup would slide off my face.


Then another employee stepped up to teach us about complexion makeup. She taught us to use primer, color correction, foundation, concealer, and setting powder and/or spray.


I applied the products. I felt like I was doing a pretty good job. The lady thought I didn’t need color correction. I thought she was crazy. I had a blue shadow in my beard area and several red areas elsewhere in my face. She thought the foundation and concealer would be enough for those areas and I trusted her. After I got everything on, I decided she was maybe correct. My cut was no longer red, though you could still see the shape of it. My red spots were gone. I do think the foundation was a little too dark, or too orange. But it did have a nice natural look.


I still thought I could see a shadow in my beard area. I made a note to learn how to do beard color correction on YouTube.


That was everything we were scheduled to learn, but we still had quite a while before the store was to open, so they decided to teach us bronzer, blush, and highlighter. Some of us decided we were happy with just the complexion products. Some decided to keep going. I was on the fence, but I decided I was there to learn, so I went for it.


My complexion looked pretty good. I was happy with where I was. The lady told me where to apply bronzer. I did so, and immediately a black smudge appeared on my skin. The lady thought there was some sort of product on the brush, so she brought me a new brush while I cleaned off the smudge and reapplied foundation there.


I tried the bronzer again. The same black smudge appeared on my forehead. The lady thought maybe some dye from the brush was coming off because I was “sweating a little”. My panic sweat was apparently so acidic I was melting their brushes. Wow. She fetched me a different kind of brush while I cleaned the spot and reapplied foundation again.


I applied bronzer where she showed me. I legit could not see it but she said it looked great. By this point everyone else was done and watching me. She showed me where to apply blush. That went okay, but I was using the wrong type of brush stroke so she held my brush hand to teach me how to apply. I felt embarrassed, but I could see the blush and it looked nice.


She taught me where to apply highlighter. Apparently while putting it on the brush, I also picked up some blush from the palette. When I went to highlight, I also created a pink spot where one didn’t belong. She showed me how to blend that out. It helped a little but I had a bit of pink in a weird spot for the rest of the day.


She said I looked great. She was very kind. I was feeling embarrassed by my poor performance and sweaty face. But I kept looking in the mirror. I have never seen myself like that. My makeup looked natural, looked professional, looked like me.


Despite myself, I had really learned a lot, and applied a mostly-okay face of makeup. The employees gave each of us a little makeup bag with some free products and samples inside. The older trans lady also tried to take all of the makeup brushes at her station. I wondered if anyone would notice, but I didn’t say anything. Someone must have noticed, because she came back later and put them back, not looking terribly happy.


Everyone stayed and chatted. I was feeling like I needed to get out of there. I was out of excuses for not talking to people. One of the employees let me out. I went to my car and sat there with the air conditioner blasting until my face was dry again. I drove back to my home town.


I parked in a shopping center and went through my gift bag. It contained a nude Urban Decay lipstick, an eyeliner, a mascara, a brow cream and brush, a blush, a makeup brush, two eye creams, a cleanser, and a perfume.


I applied the eyeliner and mascara. I knew how to use these from my days in stage makeup. I did my brows. One of them looked very nice. The other looked very inelegant. I applied the lipstick inexpertly, but it was a nice color. I even put on the perfume. Then I couldn’t stop staring at myself. Wow. It was obviously not great work, but I could see real, honest-to-God potential. Who was the woman in the mirror? She was me.


I took some selfies in the car but was dissatisfied with them. So I went to the cemetery. Where else? I took some selfies in the cemetery and kept staring at myself. My roommate wasn’t home, but her dad was there doing laundry. I didn’t want to go in with my makeup with him there, but I was tired and hungry and ready to go home, so I just did it. If he noticed my makeup he didn’t say anything.


I continued to look at myself in the mirror. Then I washed it all off and took a nap. It was a trying morning, but a rewarding one. I’m glad I did it. I don’t have any money, but I do have an Ulta gift card. Maybe I can find some serviceable products at Ulta to practice with.


Despite my own personal issues, I do recommend you attend one of these events if there’s one near you, and if you need a Skincare And Complexion Makeup For Dummies class. It’s free of charge and I got some very valuable knowledge and practice, not to mention probably $50 worth of freebies.

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Now let's see if I can post a photo. There's a chance this might be WAY TOO BIG, it's hard to manage files well on the device I'm on.




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Jay you look great.  As to being embarrassed?  You need to work on confidence.  It's OK to be you.  Obviously the older woman you mentioned had gotten over this and was open and involved.  That's something to look forward to.  


I'm glad to hear you had a good time.  



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It's funny, in most aspects of my life I am past being embarrassed. Most people who know me would tell you I am very comfortable with who I am.


When I was having all those feelings yesterday, it was like I had regressed 20 years. I don't miss those years of teenage awkwardness at all. I guess it makes sense. When I was learning how to be a man as a teenager, it was awkward and embarrassing. Now I'm learning how to be a woman and going through some of the same things.


I was really happy for that lady, and felt a little envious. She seemed comfortable and very authentic. I wonder how long ago she started her transition.


I have always been a quiet, considerate person; it's just how I was raised. Sometimes loud, talkative, interruptive people rub me the wrong way. I often experience this when I leave the US South and visit certain (but not all) parts of the Northeast. As part of the culture up there, the people just communicate in a different way, which to me seems brash and aggressive. I think a big part of my uncharitable thoughts toward her was just a difference in communication style. It's very possible she was also insecure.

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Most Trans Peeps are going to STILL see the Assigned Gender face underneath with a coat of paint on it.  When you have not come to acceptance that your face IS THE FACE of your personal gender, makeup is not going to look right, and until you become familiar with its application, it will not feel right and may feel even a bit like a mask.  With the acceptance of the face and familiarity of the process will come relaxation and less embarrassment.  With a makeup lesson we also are giving another person control over us which in the MtF area is "unnatural" and humiliating to a small degree and also a bit of excitement that can embarrass us in other ways if we think other people are looking.

On a related note, the difference between the hair cuts I got as a boy and man, and the hair salon experience I have as myself are gigantic, and the first few times were strange and unsettling.  Today, it is relaxing and affirming since I am lucky enough to have a hair stylist with a MtF Trans sister and the shop experience in my new normal.  (I know why Barber Shops made me even more edgy in the old days now.)

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 Oh my goodness what a fantastic story, I read every word with anticipation, I totally need to go to this class too, and I know exactly how you feel because I sweat profusely due to hyperhidrosis. It’s funny that you mention this older woman, there is a woman just like that in my group and most of us just wish she would be a little bit more quiet or maybe just listen a little bit more, ha ha. I’ve noticed that southern women have a quiet politeness that cannot be beat, just be yourself honey you sound  delightful !

 I know the very first thing you talked about was your size, don’t worry !  I’d rock some big girl curves all day long if I had them !  The bottom line here is your picture is awesome ! Your makeup looks great!  You are way too cute, just be yourself don’t worry about the rest, it may take time to get there but believe me when I tell you you’re doing fine!

Thank you for posting this super awesome experience with your picture, I feel I personally benefited greatly from your writing and I’m excited to see when a class starts near me !



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Thanks y'all! I'm really okay with my appearance, although it has taken me many years to get to that point. My face and body wouldn't be to a lot of people's liking, but I don't have the goal of impressing or seducing anyone; I just want to be age and situation appropriate, present whatever gender I want, and reflect my own personal style.


In other words, I ain't mad about being fat, but it would be nice if it was easier and cheaper to find clothes to fit me. It's not me that's the problem, it's the culture and business practices of the fashion industry.


I'm also happy to report that I haven't seen a man in the mirror in years. I have seen a non-binary androgynous person. So this step across the threshold into seeing a woman there isn't as huge a step as it would be for trans women who don't have my androgynous bent. It sure is exciting, though!

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Jay, honey, you look lovely in that selfie!  

I'm glad that you learned so much in the class. I'll probably go to one before too long and have been wondering about the experience, so thank you for sharing such beautifully detailed post! 

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Thanks! By that point in the day I really was feeling lovely. I hope to be able to recreate that someday soon.


"Beautifully detailed" is a very generous way to describe a stream-of-consciousness recollection which managed to omit any actual information about skincare or makeup. I felt qualified to report what happened and how I felt about it, but I didn't want to provide any misinformation by attempting to detail the actual lesson. I hope any interested parties can find a class in their area!



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