From Susan's Place Transgender Resources
Jump to: navigation, search

Cosmetics or makeup are substances to enhance the beauty of the human body, apart from simple cleaning. Their use is widespread, especially among women in Western countries gender roles.


The Romans and ancient Egyptians used cosmetics containing mercury.

In the 1800s

Queen Victoria publicly declared makeup impolite. It was viewed as vulgar, and something that was worn by actors and prostitutes. By World War II, cosmetics had common application in the West (although banned in Nazi Germany).

Other notable events

Other notable events in cosmetics history are detailed in the external link below. In Japan, geishas wore lipstick made of crushed safflower petals to paint the eyebrows and edges of the eyes as well as the lips. Sticks of bintsuke wax, a softer version of the sumo wrestlers' hair wax, were used by geisha as a makeup base. White paste and powder colour the face and back; rouge contours the eye socket and defines the nose. Black paint colours the teeth for the ceremony when maiko (apprentice geisha) graduate and become independent.

Modern Cosmetics

The role of modern cosmetics is to simulate youthfulness, health and, to an extent, arousal. The various forms of cosmetics include lipstick and lip gloss (used to colour the lips, a facsimile of sexual arousal); foundation, powder, and rouge (used to colour the face, lightening and removing flaws to produce an impression of health and youth); mascara (used to enhance the eyelashes, larger eyes compared to face is a sign of youth) and eyeliner and eyeshadow (used to colour the eyelids); and nail polish (used to colour the fingernails and toenails).

As of 2005, the cosmetics industry is dominated by a small number of multinationals that all originated in the early 20th century. Of the dominant firms, the oldest and the largest is L'Oréal, which was founded by Eugene Shueller in 1909 as the French Harmless Hair Colouring Company. The true market developers were the 1910s American trio Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein and Max Factor. These firms established the market and were augmented by Revlon just before World War II and Estée Lauder just after.

More general than enhancing beauty, change of physical appearance is achieved by specialized forms of cosmetics (stage makeup), used to prepare actors for roles in the theatre and screen productions. A wide variety of effects are possible and may go so far as to make the actor appear completely non-human through the use of prosthetic appliances. Makeup is also used to train medical professionals to recognize and treat injuries (moulage).


The ingredients of cosmetics may surprise those who use them: lipstick, for example, can contain fish scales -- or, rather, the "shimmery" substance of fish scales called "pearl essence". Pearl essence is obtained primarily from herring and is one of many by-products of large-scale commercial fish processing. See external link below for other ingredients of lipstick.

During the Chinese festival of Qi Qiao Jie young women throw makeup on the roof.

Know Your Colors

When purchasing make-up or clothes for that matter you may want to try out the following to help determine what colors would suite you best. Knowing which colors suit you and those that don't is not always very apparent. Knowing your colors will help you purchase items in the color range that best suits your complexion, and could help save money.

Determine your Skin Tone

To determine which colors best suite you we first have to determine your skin tone. To do this turn your inner wrist up and look closely at the color of the veins. Are they more bluish or more greenish? More blue is generally indicates a cooler undertone to your skin, where a greenish color would indicate a warmer tone. Knowing your skin tone color will make selecting make-up and clothing in colors that suite you. For example, looking tired when in fact you had plenty of sleep would indicate you are wearing the wrong color. If you have warm undertones in your skin and you are wearing something from the cool side of the color wheel then you probably won’t look your best and the result will be darker circles under the eyes. Likewise with cool undertone to the skin and wearing warm colors.

Select your Colors

Once your skin tone has been determined you can now select those colors that best suite you. One method is to go to a fabric store with a friend. Make sure that you are not wearing make-up and wear a top with shoulders that can be slid down to expose the skin. If needed (if the store doesn't have well placed mirrors) bring a good-sized hand mirror. Pull your hair back tightly away from your face. If your hair is too short to pull away find a piece of fabric (thickness and type doesn’t matter) whose color is close to the skin color around your hair line, and wrap it around your hair in a turban.

Now that you are prepped select fabrics. A pastel pink (true pink is cool where peachy pink is a warm tone), blue (a slight aqua tone is warm), yellow, (an orange tone is warmer), green (mint is a cool tone, yellowish is a warm tone), white (off white is warm tone). Gather the cloth you have selected and drape them around your shoulders and under the chin. Look in the mirror and notice the area under the eyes. Does it make you look sleepy? Does it appear that you have dark or darker than usual circles, under your eyes? On the other hand does your eye color look brighter? Do your cheeks seem to have a more flushed color? Does any uneven skin tone now blend in and look smoother and even, not sallow and subdued? You are looking for colors that appear to even the skin tone and brighten your eyes and bring natural color to your cheeks.

Another aid is a color wheel. These can be found at paint or craft stores. They will have colors divided by warmth, such as yellowish to the golden undertones and then cooler colors, the gray to blue tones. Once you have decided which colors suit you (warmer or cooler colors) you will be able to select colors in the same range. You will be able to quickly find the darker tones of the same basic colors. Those you can switch to for the different seasons of the year.

Make-up Application and Sequence

Applying cosmetics is a very personal thing. It can be very complex or very simple, depending on how much you need or want to apply to achieve the look that you want and are happy with. We'll try and cover the basics here. A video showing makeup applied in 5 minuets (or less) can be viewed here: So you have all of your make-up spread before you and now you are wondering where you apply it and what goes on first? As a general rule, make-up should be applied in the following order:

  • Concealers
  • Foundation
  • Powder
  • Eye Make-up
  • Lip Color
  • Blush

Cleansing your face

We all know that before we paint the walls, we have to wash them, and before we wax the car we have to wash it. The same applies to the face. For your make-up to work properly, you need to start with a clean, fresh, soft, subtle base. There are a plethora of cleansing agents that you can use to actually clean your face, and you should try out several different products until you find the one that produces the best results for your particular skin type. You will be lucky to find the right one on the first try, so a little patience is needed. There are some general guidelines than may help in finding the right cleanser. If your skin is typically dry and in need of a moisturizer, you should look for a cleanser formulated for drier skins. These tend to be oil based and less abrasive. On the other hand, if your skin tends to be rather oily, you should look for a cleanser that is specially formulated for oily skins. Oily skin need stronger cleansers to clean the skin and prevent acne. There are many cleansing products out there so select carefully, and try to be aware of any allergies you may have to the chemicals or drugs contained in the cleanser. In addition to possible allergies, your skin may be sensitive to harsh chemicals, therefore, you may need a cleanser for sensitive skins. There are many quality cleansing products that will work well, just remember that this is one of the items that will affect your facial skin the most. Different products have different applications for a variety of uses, and you should be as aware of your skin type (oily, dry, 'normal', sensitive) before making a selection. If you have severe allergies, rashes, or other severe irritations to any product, you should stop using that product immediately and consult with a skin care professional such as a dermatologist, or other medical doctor.


The next step is to apply concealers. Concealers do just what their name implies, they conceal those skin irregularities we are not happy with; blemishes, dark circles, patches of dark or light skin, even freckles. Again it depends on you and what you want or need to conceal. The concealer you choose should match your natural skin tone as closely as possible and the blend should match your skin type; oily, dry, or somewhere in between. If the purpose of using a concealer is to hide that 5 o'clock shadow, then a concealer that is slightly more orange than your skin tone should work best.

  • Applying Concealers

Concealers are best applied with the finger tips, however many use soft sponges. Don't work the concealers into the skin but rather dab and blend with the finger tips until the desired coverage is reached. If you are not satisfied with the coverage, let the first application dry and apply more until you are happy. The key is to blend the concealer into the skin surrounding the blemish you are trying to hide, you do not want to create dots on your face. There are different colors available to conceal different types of skin. Green concealers work well on red colored blemishes, and yellow works well on those dark circles around the eyes. A short video on removing under-eye circles is here:


After the concealers comes the foundation. As the name implies the foundation is the base for the rest of the make-up that you apply. A good foundation will lead to good make-up. A good foundation should match your true skin tone as closely as possible. Any reputable esthetics boutique, or department store, with fully staffed cosmetic counters, are often better than drug stores in terms of both selection and knowledgeable help. They will also have testers available for you to apply and try so that you get the best match before you buy. Good foundations can be expensive so trying before buying makes a lot of sense. Another method suggested is that that foundation color should match the skin tone found at the collarbone area or your wrists, however this is more of a rule of thumb.

  • Applying Foundation

Foundation is applied over the entire face to make a smooth, even complexion. To apply the foundation we again use two fingers or a smooth soft sponge, and dot small amounts of foundation over the face, being sure to include the nose, chin, cheeks, forehead and the sides of your face. Gently blend the foundation so that you get an even smooth finish. It is crucial that you blend from the center of the face to the outside, ensuring that there are no lines of foundation left where you can tell where you stopped. As with the concealer you can layer the foundation until you get the desired effect, but be careful not to apply so much that it looks as if you used a trowel to apply it. Once you are happy with the coverage, blot the face with a soft tissue to finish off. It is important to understand that when used in small amounts, foundation can be layered, depending on the type of foundation product used (liquid, cream, or powder). You do not necessarily need to use foundation all over the face like a mask, it all depends on your skin and the coverage you need. However, if you do use foundation on your entire face, make sure to blend the foundation into your hairline, ears, and neck. If this blending is not done, you may end up with a line of demarkation clearly identifying where the foundation was applied and where it was not. Once all the discoloration is neutralized, even coverage achieved, and the application looks balanced, you have reached your goal. A video tutorial explaining the use of foundation and blush is here:


With your foundation applied to your liking you now need to set it in place so that it will last the entire day, or most of it. Generally there are two types of powder that you can use. The first is called loose powder and is kept in a container on your vanity. The other type is pressed powder and is typically what is found in a compact. Of the two, pressed powder is probably the type you are most familiar with. Again as with the other cosmetics that you apply to your face the powder you choose should match your skin tone, color, and type.

  • Applying Powders

This is done by applying a light application of powder over the entire face with a large fluffy brush. A little bit goes a long way. One important point to remember is to carry a small compact in your purse. That way you can cover up or touch up the areas that begin to shine through as the day progresses (areas such as your nose and forehead). This is where the saying "excuse me, I have to go powder my nose" came from.

Highlighting Eyes

Highlighting around the eyes is a priority, as it is a very effective tool to create contrast which makes eye color and pupil look richer. It therefore, provides a stronger, more striking visual impact overall. Various products can be used to achieve this look: a light foundation, shadow based concealers, specific products designed for highlighting, and/or light powder. Be careful not to apply so much highlight that you end up with Raccoon Eyes (occurs with use of darker colors) or Clown Eyes (occurs with use of lighter colors). Remember it's a question of balance.

Eye Brows

Brows play a very important role in Basic Beauty. Consider brow shaping and maintenance like any other form of basic feminine grooming. Take into consideration the natural way your brow grows when determining the proper brow design. I would recommend that the first shaping be done by an esthetician, who would be better able to advise you on the shape of brow that will suite your face. It's fairly inexpensive, and afterwards you will find it easier to maintain the shape by plucking out stray hairs as they appear.

If you don't have ample brow hair to fit or fill the shape your shape of brow you can enhance and further define your brows by using a brow pencil or even powder, one shade darker than the natural brow color. If you have dark brows, match the color tone. One of the goals is to clearly define the brows by creating a solid brow where the skin cannot be seen through the individual hairs. A short video tutorial on filling in using a power, is at the following link:

The Eyes

The eyes are probably the most difficult part of your face to deal with as there are several steps that you should follow, and one slip in one of these steps can ruin everything, requiring you to start over. These steps involve the following products:

  • Eye Shadow - Eye shadow is available in many forms including dry powder, oil based powder, water based powder, and even liquid eye shadow. The most convenient type are those that come in small cases and include from one to four complimentary colors, with a small sponge applicator.
  • Eyeliner - Eyeliner is also available in forms similar to eye shadow, but also comes in convenient pencils and liquid pens that make application a little easier. However there is not a large color selection, generally black and shades of brown.
  • Eye lash curler- there are several different models available, however they all perform the same general function. Some are made of metal, others of plastic, but they all share the same thing in common, they are all rather intimidating the first couple of times that they are used.
  • Mascara - Mascara is used to enhance your eye lashes by lengthening and thickening them. They are usually available in tubes with a round applicator attached to the cap, and as with eyeliner, the color selection is small from black to browns.

Eye shadow is first and it is the area where you have the most choices and decisions to pick and choose from. First you need to select the color or colors you plan to use (most use between one and three, any more than three tends to make the eyes too busy and is frowned upon). Once the color(s) have been selected, application of them follows. Typically the darker of the colors (also the main color) is placed closest to the base of the lid, with the lighter colors being place above that. The main color is applied to the lid using a 1/4" (6mm) brush. For best application use of an angled 1/4" brush is recommended. The angle allows the brush to lay more relaxed in the hand and allows for easier flow across the lid, resulting in better eye shadow distribution. Use short strokes and make sure the the main color is applied evenly to the entire lid going no further than the eyelid crease. Also be careful not to cake on the color. If you are using two colors a nice effect is to apply the main color to approximately 1/4" (6mm) above the crease of the lid. Next we apply the second color to the to the area between the brow and the crease of the lid or the main color. This color should again be applied with a brush using long smooth strokes, starting from the inside of the brow area to the outside. Repeat the process if you have a third color. Remember that the colors should compliment each other starting with the darker color on the lid to lighter colors towards the brow. If a 'natural' look is desired, try to apply the eye shadow from the bottom of the lid to slightly above the crease.

Eyeliner is next, and maybe the hardest to apply. It takes patience, practice, and timing (as you must resist the urge to blink while applying and coordinate blinking with having the pencil, pen or brush away from the eyelid). To apply the liner start at the inside corner of your eye, and draw a thin line as close to the upper lash line as possible. If you're a bit unsteady, try applying the liner in short connecting strokes. Another good technique all women can rely on is by applying it on the outside top 1/4 of the eye, then blending in with the finger, and reapplying for definition, extending darkness to the very corner where top and bottom of the eye connect. On the lower inside rim of the eye, keep the concentration of darkness on the outside corner. Defining the inside point of the eye is important but rarely focused on. It is important to always blend this area with your finger, tightly rolled cotton swab, or small soft-tipped blending brush - many eyeliners will have this already included on the stick itself at the opposite end from the coloring tip, like a soft eraser. Eyeliner is also small enough to carry in your bag with the lip products and pressed powder you are wearing, and can be reapplied when touching up your makeup.

Alternately, if that was too much to understand as text, a video on the complete process of applying eyeliner (highlight and shadow) is here:

Eyelash curlers can be one of the most intimidating of the products used, however, it will do wonders for your presentation. The purpose of this contraption is to delicately curl your lashes providing a very feminine look. The general use of this product is fairly simple. Place the curler so that your lashes protrude from it, between the fixed and moving jaws. Clamp down on the lashes and hold for 15-30 seconds. For more curl move the curler slightly further out on your lashes and repeat the process. Curling the lashes can be done either before or after putting on your mascara. It tends to be easier to curl lashes prior to putting on mascara so you don't have to reapply mascara.

Mascara is the final step for the eyes. Use an eyelash comb to comb the lashes out making sure that they are straight and not tangled. Unscrew the applicator from the mascara container and pull it straight out. This will ensure you have the right amount of product on the applicator brush. There is usually no need to push the brush in and out of the container. If you do not feel that you have complete coverage on the applicator brush, you can twist it while it is inside the container, however jamming it in and out only create air pockets in the mascara. These air pockets facilitates oxidation of the mascara, which decreases the life of your mascara. Using short quick strokes apply the mascara to the underside of the lashes in an upward motion, away from the face. If you need to apply a second coat allow the first to dry, then use the lash comb to comb the lashes, separating them and removing any clumps that may have formed.

A short but useful video tutorial on how to use an eyelash curler, apply false lashes, and last, applying mascara, is here:


Blushers are next. Blushers are applied to the area of your face where you would naturally blush if you were embarrassed by something. It was used in earlier time to give a woman the appearance of innocence. The blush area is generally located on the cheek, between the corner of the eye and the bottom of the nose.

  • Applying Blushers

With blushers you will need to select a color that will suite your skin color, and tone, so you will probably have to do some testing before you are satisfied with a shade you like. You apply blushers with a large blush brush, and starting from the meaty part of the cheek near the bottom of the nose, sweep the brush up, and in a slight arc towards the temple area. You may have to make several sweeps to get the right shade, but one will usually do. A very light application of blusher can also enhance other areas of the face such as the jaw line, chin and chin line and even the forehead.

Lip color and Lip liner

Well you are at the last step, whew... As with all the other color that you select for your make-up lip color is just as important. You can really make a statement with lip color, keep it subtle, or something in between. You will have to experiment to find colors that work for you. Before applying lip color (lipstick) you should make sure that your lips have been properly moisturized, and are not dry or chapped. Don't try to use your lip color as chap stick to moisturize, and speaking of chap stick, don't use it if you plan to use lip color as it's too waxy. Use a lip balm to moisturise the lips.

  • Applying Lip color and Liner

There are two options available when it comes to application and it's up to you which to start with. One method is to outline the the shape of the lips with liner staying as close to the edge of the lips as possible, then fill in the remainder of the lips area with lip color. The other method consists of filling in the lip area first and then lining the lips afterwards. It's a matter of preference. Be sure not to put on too much color and blot the lips with tissue between applications, until the desired color is reached. To line the lips you can use a pencil that is matched to your lip color, or use a lip liner brush and dab it into your lip color for a perfect match. You can also use a slightly darker color to line the lips, but be sure to blend in this color to avoid the appearance of lines. Start with the lower lip and work from the outside in, being careful to line only the lip and not the facial skin. Then line the upper lip. One area to be careful of is the natural arches at the center of the top lip and not to make them pointy as they won't look natural.

Professional Help

After all is said and done, one of the best places to start with make-up is with an esthetician. Of course this depends on your budget, and your comfort level, however there are many estheticians who will make house calls. The advantage of starting with an esthetician, is that they are professionals and will be in a better position to advise you on color selection, and the type of make-up to buy so that it matches your skin condition and tone. An esthetician is also in a better position to show you how to apply your make-up, and although the cost of a make-up session may be expensive you will save money by not wasting it on wrong choices. After all make-up is very expensive.

See Also

To view more videos on beauty and care (or other topics), see the videos section of the forum.

External links


  • Editor's Note: Some information provided in whole or in part by