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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Adventures in Facial Hair Makeup

Some of my favorite experiments in expression are doing culturally "feminine" things in a culturally "masculine" way and vice versa.  I try explicitly to avoid the whole "man version" hype, as the point isn't that my masculinity is too fragile for me to do the "feminine" version, just that I like certain aesthetics and like playing with them in a particular way.  Some examples include things like neckties, but in more feminine colors and patterns, or kilts, or manicuring my nails really well but in a way that reads "pretty but masculine."  One of my biggest experiments is in facial hair grooming.

Note:  This is part genderqueer expression/presentation personal musing (because a lot of this is fresh and new and cool to me and I want to talk about it!) and part implied trans male passing tips.  Whichever is more interesting to you, really.

There is a fair amount of makeup in this picture.

I grow a pretty good beard and moustache that don't absolutely need much help, just a little wax if I want it curly, but I grow enough to fill in all the important parts.  But sometimes I want to look super sharp, in which case I strive for a look like my Instagram-sexy photo to the right.

When I style I try to work with the natural pattern of my facial hair rather than against it.  Trying to make it look like you have a lot more facial hair than you really do rarely works.

So for instance, my beard does not connect to my moustache.  It looks like it's making an effort to, with the funny little points rising up from my jaw, but it never quite gets there.  I use an eyebrow pencil to straighten some lines and fill in some patches... but I don't dare try using that technique to add those connections.

I also shave the really patchy stuff off.  I get patchy facial hair up my whole cheek, and it looks good enough that I can forget to shave a couple weeks and not look terrible.  Going for a sharper look I try to get straighter lines, the problem is my little "points" (the ones pointing to the moustache) aren't even.  One is nice and sharp and comes to a beautiful point, the other is kind of patchy, owing to the silly direction the hair grows.  So as an experiment I tried filling it in with an eyebrow pencil, a look that I love, especially in combination with a somewhat filled-in moustache and eyebrows.  I also use colored moustache wax... it's not always necessary but does darken a bit.

I still need to get the hang of it, because although most people don't notice it's makeup, it's not particularly difficult to tell, and in bright light it looks colored on.  The thing is, I'm OK with it if it looks like makeup, but I want it to look like good makeup, like well-done eyebrows where you know there was work done but it's compelling.  But coloring under a longish moustache is unfortunately harder than I would have thought.  Whoops.

Speaking of eyebrows, I've started working on those, too.  I'm not great at shaping them, but I've at least gotten rid of most of the unibrow and stray hairs.  I've also tried eyeliner, which was a big thing cis guys were doing when I was pre-T (meaning it was unavailable to me because we're subject to a gross double standard about things like that), but I don't particularly like it.  I keep thinking it would be cool to do more out-there, obvious looks (like purple eyebrows or something, which I do in fact know how to do) but I always wind up with stuff like this instead.  But you know, whatever works.

Happy trails,
-- Jackson