How do you feel after applying a fresh face of makeup? Makeup is a woman's arsenal that, in an instant, unearths a new confidence. It enhances your best features and highlights your favourite assets; it softens, lightens and lengthens. Ultimately, it makes you feel the best version of you.
For members of the trans community, the simple pleasure of applying makeup is not always an easy or enjoyable experience. This is largely due to the lack of self-care services available; despite a swathe of beauty brands and services who are LGBTQ friendly. To tackle this, Sephora makeup has introduced a series of in-store programming for the trans and nonbinary communities, hosted and developed by transgender Sephora makeup artists. Historically, Sephora is known for its inclusivity and creating comfortable community spaces for women to upskill in beauty care. In 2016, the brand launched Classes for Confidence, which are complimentary in-store classes for anyone experiencing major life transitions, such as a career change, a major accident, fighting cancer, or going through a divorce. The introduction of trans-friendly classes – aptly named Bold Beauty – is a great addition to the brand's growing repertoire of inclusive-focused events and products; as well as their determination to be industry thought-leaders and change makers.
The classes, which are free of charge, are 90 minutes long and will teach trans or non-binary people to learn about techniques and products to fit and empower their beauty. According to their website, specialised makeup artists will help to find shades to suit each person's complexion as well as creating a flawless finish and skincare tips. You wouldn't paint a masterpiece without being taught how to do it, would you?
While the move is a really positive step forward for the LGBTQ community in America, there are no plans yet for something similar to be introduced in Ireland: "the only thing that exists right now are peer support groups. There isn't a dedicated space where this happens regularly", says Cordon Grehan, Operations Manager at Trans Equality Network Ireland. Peer groups are vital for trans people to learn about self-care regimes, to share experiences and help one another along on their journeys, but something as personal as makeup can often require expert advice. "There's a difference when a trans person is providing tips on applying makeup as opposed to a cis-gender person", Grehan commented. "There are certain things that are different about a trans person's face. A trans makeup artist might apply makeup differently compared to the stereotypical woman's face. There are subtle things that makeup artists might not be aware of that trans people would be".
It can be easy for cis-women to take something like learning to apply blush correctly (not too much, sweep from the apple up) for granted. The first preview class was held this week in New York City and it's hoped it might spark interest for other brands to follow suit so that women, men and non-binary people can enjoy creating the best version of themselves. With Pride festival just around the corner (Thursday, June 21st to Saturday, June 30th), it's perfect timing to kickstart something similar in Ireland, too. In the meantime, though, you can enjoy these classes from your own home because each 90-minute tutorial is uploaded to the Sephora Youtube channel.
While we have you, here's this week's 'The Spill' where Rhona and Sophie discuss the history of plastic surgery and the pros and cons of "ageing gracefully", the complexities of cultural appropriation and handling an over-bearing mother-in-law. Enjoy!