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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Simple Girl-to-Boy Makeup

I’m practising girl-to-boy makeup at the moment for an upcoming shoot, and thought I’d share the simplest way you can do this. When doing boy-to-girl makeup, you can rely on wigs, colour cosmetics and styling a little more than you can when you’re doing girl-to-boy makeup. No, not all girls wear lots of makeup and have fancy hair, but plenty do and you do rely on stereotypes when trying to express gender with makeup almost as much as you do on physical clues.

For inspiration and instruction, I turned to Making Faces by the amazing Kevyn Aucoin. If you don’t have this book, get it. If you don't have any of his books, get them all. I referred to this page of the book where he explains how he turned Gwyneth Paltrow into James Dean. Yes bitches, that's Gwyneth Paltrow.


This was a very quick look for Kevyn – he used a pre-made brow piece, so it only took him 15 minutes. However, he does into depth about how to do the brows yourself.

Man Eyebrows

Male eyebrows are often lower than female eyebrows, especially as more women than men shape their brows to open up the eye area.. I didn’t want to cover my brows and draw new ones on just to lower them for practicing, but it’s an option1 I individually drew in hairs using thin brow pencils in two colours, extending past my own brow on both ends, and used a clear brow gel to brush the hairs up and add texture. If you don't have a thin pencil, use the tiniest brush you can and a brow cake or matte shadow with mixing medium. Try and mix a couple of colours If you have thicker brows this will be a little easier than if you have non-existent blonde hairs like me!


My male modelling just reads as confused. I look like Karl Pilkington here.
I added a very light layer of Illamasqua Skinbase - it's got quite a realistic texture - and did a little spot concealing, but nothing too polished. Moisturiser is fine, but don't do anything to change the texture of your skin in terms of smoothing or pore-filling products like primer - keep it as natural as possible. Don't bother concealing under the eyes either, as after I did my brows, I blended Wolf eyeshadow from Illamasqua, a cool brown, under my eye and across the lid, taking care to really, really blend it out to create natural looking shadows and the illusion of a deeper eye socket. I decided not to use any mascara, but I think next time I will add a bit of clear mascara to the lashes as it didn't look quite right next to the Charlie from Busted eyebrows. Then I swept the same matte eyeshadow across my jawbone to give the illusion of five o’clock shadow.


The five o’clock shadow wasn't reading very well on my camera – in real life it looked pretty good, but then, I know what I look like without it so I thought it needed to be more exaggerated. I stippled Illamasqua brow cake in Thunder into a rough goatee shape and took it along the jaw and up into my hairline. This is where I need to experiment a little more – the shadow was the right tone and I used it both wet and dry to create more depth, but I'm going to order a special stippling sponge to nail the texture - it's not quite shoot worthy yet! If you're doing this and wearing it out, make sure you use a good setting spray or, if you're really invested, alcohol activated face and body paints will last and last.

Lastly, I pursed my lips really tightly and rubbed in a tiny amount of foundation that was slightly lighter than my lips to make them look a bit more chapped and rugged. Any old foundation or concealer will do. I didn't want to do my uber-long hair, so I went with a hat. MANLY HAT.

manman3 barry m neutral palette 2

And a cheeky colour shot/comparison. I look like my dad but with a better beard – Sorry Dad!
This is a really simple way of looking more like a boy - concentrate on your eyebrows, add a little depth around your jaw and ignore what you'd normally do to your skin, and you'll be pretty much halfway there. I’ll be back again with a heavier, more theatrical version of female-to-male makeup soon – think reverse contouring, heavier brow bones, exaggerated skin texture/wrinkles!

Have you ever gone drag king/queen?

1 comment:

  1. WHOA! That is pretty neat! I can't say I've ever done this, I have spent so much time in my life trying to look more feminine! I am kind of afraid to see what I would look like as boy but now I am a bit curious.......


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