I applied it in the tester mirrors until my lashes touched my eyebrows, and then hid my eyes from my parents while they helped me unpack in my dorm room. I have two dads and two openly gay cousins, but I knew that coming out as a trans girl would be a whole different ballgame, and I just wasn’t ready yet. My cisgender male roommate watched as three queer people put up bright room decor right next to his navy blue sheets. When my parents flew back home, I ran to buy whatever foundation, concealer, bronzer, and blush I could afford without even knowing how to properly apply them.
After successfully coming out as Madison to the world years later, my confidence in being transgender began to grow with my beauty skills. For example, when I finally mastered applying false lashes just right, my gender euphoria peaked—it was like my navigational compass suddenly pointed north. And as I approach my seventh coming out anniversary in November, it has been beauty products like Kylie Cosmetics’ Lip Kits and Lilly Lashes Faux Minx Lashes that make me feel closest to my womanhood and femininity.
To spotlight the massive impact beauty products have on trans femininity, I asked a few of my trans friends about the beauty products that changed their lives the most. In addition to being vocal with your LGBTQ+ allyship this Pride Month, consider adding these picks to your shopping list. Trust me, trans women are tried-and-true beauty experts who will never steer you wrong.
Just three months into her transition, Mulvaney has already felt transformed by a particular beauty product. “The DragunFire Color Corrector in Orange eliminates the dysphoria I feel about my five o’clock shadow,” she says, after recently sharing her laser hair-removal journey on TikTok. “I feel so much more feminine when I use my corrector. It’s my secret weapon.” Well, not so secret anymore, as Dylan’s inspiring vulnerability motivates her to share every aspect of her transition online. You can see her applying it here, on “Day 58 of being a girl,” for her over four million followers.
Facial hair is a dysphoria-inducing hotspot among trans women who grow it naturally. Similar to Mulvaney’s tip for color correcting a five o’clock shadow, trans beauty influencer Kendall Raindrop feels empowered using concealer to feminize her bone structure and cover any remnants of hyperpigmentation. “The Urban Decay Stay Naked Correcting Concealer has always been my bestie while transitioning,” she explains. “Whether I use it to contour, highlight and sculpt my face, or to cover up a li’l five o’clock shadow.”
Jovel, model and artist
Model and artist Jovel, designer of the iconic “Sex With You Sucks” tee worn by Euphoria star Chloe Cherry, says, “Learning about blush, and where to place it on the cheekbone, taught me how to achieve a softer, more delicate glow-y look.” Applying blush to the high points of the cheeks provides a lifted look, and placing it on the apples gives off a sun-kissed vibe. Jovel uses the Dior Backstage Rosy Glow Blush in Light Pink (now discontinued) and then the Charlotte Tilbury Wand in Pinkgasm on top, for a saturated pop of color.
When I ask Emira D’Spain—TikTok beauty queen and Victoria’s Secret’s first Black transgender model—for her most influential beauty product, it’s clear that we took a page from the same book. “Lilly Lashes in Miami helped me welcome my feminine side into my transition,” she says. “I always loved witnessing the transformative effects that false lashes have on everyone’s makeup routine. You truly feel like a bad bitch once those lashes go on!”
Madison Werner is a writer, queer advocate, and self-proclaimed “trans glam girl” in Los Angeles. Follow her on Instagram @madisonwerner.