Journey To The Center: What Do I Put On My Face?

Feature illustration by Intern Raquel

When I was 8-years-old, I got an American Girl doll (Felicity — I wanted to be a horse girl) and a Dallas Stars hockey jersey for Christmas. I climbed trees in hot pink dresses and beat my brothers at spitting competitions on the way to my ballet class. I’ve never been good at either/or questions, and I never got into fashion because I never saw myself in it. High glam doesn’t attract me, and everything I understood as womenswear further convinced me I shouldn’t bother. I admire menswear, but I don’t click with the preppy options held up as the kingly ideal of menswear for women. I don’t see much gyné in most fashion marketed as androgynous. I’ve never put much thought into having a style because it seemed so much easier to just buy Target pocket v-necks in every color and be done with it.

But, to my eternal dismay, Target discontinued the classic pocket v. It’s time for a change. This year, I want to lean in to the middle space and fuck with masculinity and femininity to create a style that lets me wear my heart on my literal sleeves. It’s not just about fashion, it’s about interrogating gender and its expression and using my wardrobe as one mechanism of communicating that to the world. It’s about being comfortable on various levels. I want to celebrate the femme/butch history that defines lesbianism for so many women in our community without feeling like my own queer family expects me to perform gender in a particular way. I feel like a woman enough of the time, but I don’t connect with so many of the things womanhood is “supposed” to mean. I’ve never felt as right in the world as I did the night I spilled gold glitter eye makeup on my necktie. I want to be that alive all the time.

And because I know so many of y’all are dancing (or wallflowering) with me in that in-between space, and because this is so much more about what I want to learn than what I know, I thought we should do this together. Today, we start with makeup.

In middle school when my mom started letting me wear makeup, I went hard.

Y'all, remember bucket hats?

Y’all, remember bucket hats?

Once I (mostly) grew out of the blue eye shadow phase, I opted for the most neutral color palate possible – light powder, light blush, brown liner and mascara, pink lip. These days, I’m intrigued by the ways that makeup can be both feminizing and masculinizing, often at the same time. As I started working on this project, I realized that intrigue has been there for a long time.

I came of age to a soundtrack of boys in eyeliner singing about reckless love and wrist cutting. I swooned to see men wearing makeup, decorating themselves, operating in space that I had learned was necessarily female. They were basically recycling Bowie, but they looked revolutionary to me.

Mikey Way, Pete Wentz and Ryan Ross -or- all the boys I loved in 8th grade looked like lesbians.

Mikey Way, Pete Wentz and Ryan Ross -or- all the boys I loved in 8th grade looked like lesbians.

I still find men in makeup intriguing and strikingly beautiful, and male femininity is one of my most constant style inspirations. Mike Hadreas, pseudonym Perfume Genius, is my number one icon these days. He speaks beautifully about the ways he dances with gender in the face of a culture that wants to crush him, and if you haven’t seen the music video for “Queen,” you really must. His signature makeup look is a bare face with a strong lip. It’s so simple even I can replicate it.

#mikehadreasforpresident via

#mikehadreasforpresident via

It doesn’t hurt that Hadreas’s eyebrow hairs were placed on his face one by one by angels. The brow is having a new heyday, y’all, and it is a beautiful thing. I have a very clear memory of my step-sister telling me my eyebrows made me look like my dad — “You think that’s a good thing now, but one day you won’t.” Ever since, I have intermittently and half-heartedly kept them plucked so I wouldn’t “look like a boy.” Recently, I decided to stop plucking them entirely and just see what happened. I’ll admit, it’s been a little gnarly so far. I’ll resume maintenance soon to get rid of the hairs that are growing in the actual middle of nowhere. But in the meantime I’ve been testing out eyebrow makeup and having a big ol’ time. My current weapon of choice is the Perfect Brow Pencil by Anastasia Beverly Hills in dark brown. It’s easy to apply, lasts all day and night, and can be applied as lightly or as heavily as I’m in the mood for. I have freed myself from the tyrannical shackles of mascara, and these days my makeup look these days relies on brow and lip. There is so much to explore with those two elements, and they’re extremely versatile. And I like that they offer the opportunity to both surprise and keep it low key. Neutral lip colors and alt colors like purples have been really appealing to me lately, because they put a twist on a typically feminine element and create space to play.


The look on the left has the aforementioned brow pencil, plus Clinique lipstick in Glow Bronze. The look on the right — which I shall call “Sparkling Misandry” — swaps Glow Bronze for Clinique’s A Different Grape, which I once got in a free gift and it changed my life, and adds Maybelline Color Tattoo eye shadow in Wild Gold applied as a lower liner using a thin, slanted eye shadow brush. Instead of the pencil, I upped the ante with Anastasia’s DIPBROW Pomade in soft brown. I coughed up the money for this pomade when I asked three people in a row what they used and that was their answer. It’s a little pricy but a little goes a long way. In four months I’ve used maybe a quarter of the pot. In both looks, I’m wearing Clinique Almost Powder in light all over and Clinique Airbrush Concealer in medium around my eyes. A quick tip for getting a slightly stronger overall look without having to use liquid foundation — apply sunscreen to your face before your powder. Better coverage, less cancer! I also sometimes use Garnier’s Miracle Skin Perfecter BB Cream for extra coverage. Clinique’s products are great for skin and the company doesn’t test on animals. They’re pricier than drugstore products but not as expensive as most department store brands, plus their makeup folks are always super nice. They should put me in an ad, probably.

Androgyny is having a resurgence in the mainstream, so there is plenty of inspiration to be found. My heart stopped when I saw Taylor Swift on the cover of Wonderland and Ellen Page on the cover of OUT last year:

I think I have a crush on Tay, but only when she looks like a teen boy.

I think I have a crush on Tay, but only when she looks like a teen boy after baseball practice.

And we’ve got ladies like Andreja Pejic, Coco Layne and FKA Twigs setting the world and our hearts on fire with their brows and general style situation. Bolder lip colors like blue, strong cheekbones and even colored eye brows are all trends on the rise. There are a million ways to interpret and express femininity, masculinity, and everything in between through makeup — and I have a hunch that most of them haven’t even been thought of yet!

Here is a collage Andreja Pejic, Coco Layne and FKA Twigs so we can all wish we had their faces on our faces.

Here is a collage of Andreja Pejic, Coco Layne and FKA Twigs so we can all wish we had their faces on our faces. (Take that however you will.)

So tell me, my beautiful, handsome and remarkable friends: What do you put on your faces? What products and application techniques make your heart sing? Let’s decorate together.

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Adrian is a writer, a Texan and a Presbyterian pastor. They write about bisexuality, gender, religion, politics, music and a whole lot of feelings at Autostraddle and wherever fine words are sold. They have a dog named after Alison Bechdel. Follow Adrian on Twitter @adrianwhitetx.

Adrian has written 153 articles for us.


  1. omg audrey ARE YOU ME??? i have only recently begun playing around with the in-between space of masculinity and femininity – something i am currently calling “dapper femme” – but it has been soooo liberating to be able to play with so many different style elements while carving out a style space for myself! (and perfume genius yaaaassss)

    question for my fellow brown-skinned makeup-wearers out there – i’m on the hunt for a good bb cream that also offers SPF protection and won’t break the bank! eagerly taking suggestions here!

    • i’m playing around in the in-between and calling it “dapper femme” too!! you’re so right, it’s liberating as hell, and it’s so exciting to see other folks moving in the same/a similar direction. we’re fabulous :D

    • I would totally suggest Clinique. Like the article says it says it can be a bit pricey but you can get one of the ladies behind the counter to help you out and they’ll do wonders matching your skin tone and finding a product that works for your skin type. Plus their product usually lasts me forever, I’m going on 6 months for my foundation and concealer and I still have plenty left.

      • NOTED on the clinique. I feel like having someone help me pick a shade would be especially useful !

    • Thirded. Dapper femme is pretty close to the look I’ve been going for, with more fashion-y high-concept-y pieces as opposed to the femme/retro librarian thing I did for a few years. I feel like it breaks a lot of the “rules” for someone who is short and busty (like me) and I get a lot of enjoyment out of that transgression.

      • yes yes yes! Being short and busty myself I totally agree! I was always lusting after fine menswear all “I wish I could dress like this” and then I realized

        Wait a second


        it was a big moment.

      • I really want to start moving in a dapper femme direction, but I’m also relatively short (5’4″) and definitely busty. No idea how to pull off the look (think Clara Oswald in the Time Heist episode of Dr. Who) in a way I’m happy with given the boob problem. I can’t seem to figure out how to pull out fun loose ties or vests or anything like that – sort of starting to wonder if I need to invest in binders or something.

        … for those of you who aren’t Dr. Who nerds this is the look I’m talking about

  2. I usually just wear powder foundation, blush in various shades of pink, mascara and sometimes bronzer. I have found that when I dress more masculine/androgynous I apply more makeup and when I dress more femme I use less. I think it makes me feel more balanced? Also I very very rarely wear anything on my lips other than Burt’s Bees.

    • I am exactly the same! I have to feel balanced – if I have my hair “feminine” I’ll wear less makeup as well

    • I also feel like this! I recently buzzed my entire head, so at least to the world, my look is kinda more masculine now, so I’ve been wearing more makeup in general…but also when I purposefully masc it up, I wear more makeup to “balance” the look

  3. I LOVE everything about this. I’ve been embracing the androgynous bare eyes, bold brows/lip combo this summer, because humidity is gross. Lisa Elridge has an amazing tutorial on an andro makeup look, too!

    PS: Is it just me or does Ryan Ross totally look like Cameron Esposito in that pic?

  4. Makeup is so fun, I wish I could play around with it more without feeling too femme. It always reminds me of trying really hard to do high femme the summer before I cut off my hair and started presenting more masculine.

    The one thing I do is eyebrows, I tweeze a bit and fill in with an eyebrow pencil or with glitter, which is super fun!

    • All my attempts at glitter brows have turned out super messy but I must try again. Do you just use regular craft glitter or do you have a secret?

  5. Strong cheekbones and eyes are my jam. I don’t really wear foundation or lip products other than lip balm or tinted lip balm. I usually go with articulated eye brows and big lashes. Neutral eye shadow and liner on special occasions. Sometimes I like to do some mild contouring to bring out my cheekbones more.

    My face is pretty androgynous in general these days, so I feel pretty of center without wearing any products.

    Great article! Good to know I’m not alone! :)

  6. I have a lot of somewhat disquieting feelings about this, you seem to have gathered up a significant number of my previously uncatergorised thoughts about style, image, identity and put them in a fairly simple, carry on size case. Male feminity seems to fit in a way I would never have expected something with a masculine adjective could.
    As regards the actual make up advice, Hadreas etc.. yes please and thank you. :)

  7. Yesss I love this column, so many feels. I wish it was about make up every single time but I’m excited to hear about the rest haha. I love wardrobe and make up as self expression, although most of the time these days I’m constantly in my athletic/wear. I’m very active and at this point it doesn’t make sense to change in between so I just run errands around in sport bras and sport shoes haha, but I have my days where I really feel like dressing up/expressing myself whether it’s tomboyish or super femme.
    For make up, I have my typical daily wear and then I love to play around a lot more for special events and stuff.

    For day to day wear I recommend putting as little as possible on your skin cause make up just really isn’t very good for you, eyes and lips are more ok but I would save stuff like foundation for more special occasion just cause it isn’t great for your skin to put over and over. That being said I like to put a little concealer in places I consider necessary like my dark circles, and then instead of foundation I put a little bit of tinted sunscreen if anything, if I’m going somewhere nice I add a little bronzer too. I like benefits for the concealer and bronzer.

    Then for my eyes my typical day look is black liquid eyeliner; just thin glamorous wings and possibly little bit of black mascara. And then boooold lips. Love bold lips especially purple and reds. MAC is my fave for lipsticks. When I go all out in the evening I like to add glitter to my lips as well. I do have blue and silver lipsticks too!

    For eyebrows I swear by eyebrow threading at an Indian place.

    Omg I love Taylor Swift’s “lesbian” look so much more than her regular look haha. Looking super cute too Audrey! Your 12 year old look looks so much like mine too hahaha I did have a couple of these hats and one had the powerpuff girl on it and I was obsessed with it hhahahah.

  8. Hey, there! How you doin’

    Seriously though this is every perfect thing in the world, thank you so much, your hair looks great today

  9. It’s hard out here for a not-butch not-femme not-tomboy not-skinny-enough-to-be-andro demigirl. I want to be dapper but like you, I just don’t connect to preppier looks. I’m too hillbilly of center.

    I can’t really help you with the make-up situation since my signature look is no make-up ever, but I like pairing short hair with a simple, no-frills, neutral-color dress. Right now I have a long undercut that looks like a wavy bob on one side and butchiest side-shave on the other, and it’s kinda working wonders as far as making anything I wear look demigirly. One day, though, I dream of growing my greying hair past my tits, embracing my gnarly brows, and fleeing for rural Appalachia.

    Here’s a pinterest board.

    • That is a nice pinterest board! Also, I very much relate to the not-butch not-femme not-tomboy not-dapper part of your comment – I feel like I keep bumping into those scripts and trying them on but they just don’t fit right.

    • Oh my goodness. Hillbilly-of-center is the perfect fashion category for my pan friend. She has a bob/side shave undercut too and up until now I’ve called her style “crazy-hoarder-cat-lady-grandmother-who-robbed-a-goodwill-at-gunpoint”, but that really doesn’t cover it. It’s a carefully curated collection of only the oddest backwoods clothes possible. She is what I aspire to be.

  10. Ah yes, we are even queering make-up. I love it!
    I don’t wear make-up ever, but tbh I’m thinking about that eyeliner haha.

    • I’m a big believer in eyeliner for all who want to try it. Of all the types of ways to apply make up, eyeliner has always seemed intrinsically queer to me for some reason.

      I think it has the ability to make anyone smoking hot, regardless of gender. Plus you can adapt it to however the heck you want to wear it.

      To summarize. Eyeliner is hot. Give it a go!

      • @hootymcboob You know what, you have a very valid point. Eyeliner seems to accentuate whatever gender expression you’re going for, which is excellent. Thank you so much for the motivation! I will definitely try it out.

        • Yay! Remember, you don’t even have to be neat, so don’t stress about keeping it along your lashes! You can always smudge it (posh speak – smoke it out) with a q-tip/ear bud/finger).

          It’s easier than it looks, I promise :)

          • Also, a tip that made it 100 times easier for me – warm the pencil up by scribbling on the back of your hand first. It will soften it and make the colour go on easier.

  11. All of this. I’m struggling to find a space for me & my stylewhere androgynous doesn’t mean “dapper butch lady or really hipsterey dude?” and I’m here for other people finding a place in the middle as well.

    • Yeah I feel like my attempt at either of those androgynous looks ends up being GAP mom from 1993.


    Just over the past few weeks I decided I was over my “super mainstream femme” presentation, and cut off my hair, and I think this was a great decision. I plan on playing with the butch-femme dynamic and leaning more toward “tomboy femme” than I previously was able to do with any success.

    Typically, I wear just wear foundation and concealer, as well as lipstick. (Last year I decided I was over eye makeup). I like vivid pinks, reds, and purples on the weekends, and something more toned down when I’m doing student stuff. Looking forward to trying out some of the darker, more alt colors at some point.

    Anyway, great article! Seriously perfect timing for me.

  13. AUDREY <3

    that first picture though. actually all of them. I just love you a lot, is what I’m trying to say.

  14. i have never thought any of these things (except for mourning the pocket v from target), so thank you for giving me a whole set of feelings to ponder re: makeup.

    in other news, bucket hats forever.

    • I like thinking about the parallel universe in which we were elementary school besties who chased frogs and hated boys together.

      • ugh, i want that for us so bad.

        though full disclosure, this was 2006. this was less than ten years ago. this is a style choice i made after a full year of high school.

        i’m so sad this hat is gone.

    • OOOOOH MY GOD! Oh, myyyyYYYYYYY god. OoOOOOooOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoh M Y G O D.
      ho ym god

  15. I didn’t get really into makeup until I cut my hair short a few years ago. Now that I’m growing it out again my style is becoming more androgynous–clearly I like a certain balance of masculine and feminine.

    I’m loving the bold brow trend too! I tend to go for bold brows, eyeliner, and a nude lip most days.

  16. This is fascinating, @audreyfaye. I don’t really wear makeup except for (theater) performances or when my sister has convinced me to do a photo shoot (she loves taking portraits). It’s almost as though I’ve associated that sort of performative gender with not being wholly or solely myself – but you make a wonderful point that makeup can sometimes be masculinizing as well.

  17. YESSSS I LOVE THIS! I wrote my women’s studies thesis on queer fashion, and my thesis was basically that fashion is a super fun, empowering way to play with gender lines and different looks.

    • I’m doing a research project along these lines! Is there maybe a way I can read your thesis?

  18. First of all, I was a Felicity FREAK as a kid. Totally what got me into Revolutionary War history.

    And I love making it rain 90s with that dark purple lipstick.

  19. AUDREY I LOVE THIS. I have been thinking the exact same thoughts about my face. MORE!

    Also, it’s very serendipitous that you included the Taylor Swift on the cover of Wonderland magazine look because that is my “everyday” look since A-Camp!

    If you want to steal it 100%, I recommend investing in the Naked Flushed Palette in “Strip,” it’s a highlighter/blush/bronzer that is dewy & natural. And then the SECRET to the Wonderland look is to put a little bit of **eyeshadow under your eyelids** (and above and in the corners) which sounds craaaazy but you can kind of see in that cover her eyes are framed underneath by a highlighted red/bronze? I use Urban Decay “Last Call” for this.

    Anyway, just here to get obsessive about attractive andro makeup routines with ya!

  20. This is extremely timely for me, as I’ve just started playing around with makeup again after being a NO MAKEUP EVER person for years. It’s interesting because it seems like coming out as genderqueer/genderfluid has given me a lot more space to try different things.

    I also draw a lot of inspiration from male femininity (and transfemininity)!

    I feel like with makeup, it’s go large or go home. If I don’t want wild colors all over my face, I almost don’t want to bother! Bold lips are my very favorite – Revlon makes these awesome matte balm crayons, and the purple one (“Shameless”, I think) is incredible.

  21. Awesome post!

    I totally love the bold brow trend!

    I just go for my favourite red lipstick (kind of orange-ish) everyday, and some days mascara… I’m super femme though, but I started wearing make up on a daily basis just a couple of months ago

  22. It’s interesting to me that I didn’t really feel as comfortable with feminizing things like makeup until after I figured out I was gay. The only thing I want is for makeup to be not so freaking expensive (and also having like one million different necessary types of makeup things) because I grew up with a mom that wasn’t really a makeup kind of person and even discouraged me from using makeup at all, so I’ve kind of had to figure things out on my own and on a very small budget. If I had unlimited funds I’d go crazy and try lots of different things but for now it’s pretty much just very simple eyes and brows for me.

    It’s also difficult being not super femme and hovering somewhere nearish the center because I could never, NEVER, be comfortable strolling into a place that sells makeup and asking for advice (though a lot of that is my extreme introversion as well). It’s weird feeling feminine myself but not really like I “belong” in really high femme/societally feminine spaces.

    In conclusion: gender expression is weird, this is cool, thank you for writing it!

  23. I love this column. I love this column. Did I mention I love this column?
    My go to is always ombre eyeliner, because 90% of my process is smudging things together, so it can’t go all that wrong is I am in a rush.

  24. I kind of hate it when body parts or a certain body type comes “in fashion”, like what happens when it goes out again? My bushy eyebrows are cool now, oh thanks a lot. Or, this year my big ass is socially acceptable, but next year it probably won’t be. Does nobody else see the problem in this?

    I do love Clinique makeup though, to get back on topic.

    • Yes! I totally have similar feelings. And it’s most evident when you see the evolution of the most “desirable” body types of certain eras and how they change drastically. But as for the little short-lived trendy things, I don’t think they speak to desirability or attractiveness. Just because something is “in” doesn’t mean you are discounted as attractive, desirable or even just plain old good-lookin’. I take solace in the notion that whatever is in right now, will be out tomorrow. Nobody is going to look back at a picture of somebody with an in-season body part and say they are timeless. All they had was a look. And there will be plenty more looks.

  25. I’m pretty makeup heavy personally. An ideal day for me would involve falsies. Yet I’m just now experimenting with color eye shadow again as I’ve been on a nude kick for some years. When I want to present more androgynous I like to tuck my hair up in a hat or wear a short wig and as for makeup I like a lighter coverage foundation, less arched more flat brows, eyeliner on my upper waterline (so my lashes will look fuller without the look of mascara), contour (only on the temples and hollows of my cheek), chapstick, and maybe some bronze smolder-y eyeshadow. It’s amazingly weird how different people treat me / how I’m perceived / who I attract / who I piss off. And some days I’m all teal eyebrows and glitter.

    My biggest makeup loves right now are Inglot’s gel eyeliner and Chaos Makeup’s highlighters. I cannot recommend them enough.

    (goodness don’t get me started on makeup)


    I started wearing makeup after my big ol’ breakup about a year and a half ago. It’s weird, but it’s been a huge part of self care, being uncompromisingly queer, and embracing my angry Gryffindor self. I’m a fan of Mac, especially for lipstick.

    Does anyone have any favorites or recommendations for eye tutorials/how to’s? I’m confident in picking colors, I’m just not usually sure what to do with them!

  27. You had me at the first two sentences. I, too, adored American Girl dolls as a kid… and also collecting bugs and snake skins and building forts outside while wearing my fake coonskin cap.

    I personally don’t wear makeup, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I personally find androgyny very attractive (that photo of Ellen Paige!), and I tend to gravitate toward a relatively gender-neutral presentation myself.

  28. I absolutely love this article.

    As someone who flits around with gendered presentation, makeup has been -huge- for me – I started off almost doing theatre-esque contouring to try and look ‘more male’, but I’ve calmed down into less heavier looks, and I’ve found that eyebrows really make or break whether or not I look the way I want to. I’d love to be able to pull off that boys-who-wear-makeup look, but sadly I have the most soft and non-androgynous face that anyone ever did see.

    One day. One day.

    (Also, is this going to be a column or a one-off? Because I would love to see this be a column.)

    • Yep, it’ll be a semi-regular column in which I talk about the emotional, logistical and social realities of gender presentation that breaks down typical models to make something else squishy and glittery and great. I’m so happy you’re here!!

  29. Ah so good. I think you had this gold eyeliner thing happening at a-camp?? Style+makeup master!

  30. Loved this post. I am pretty femme of center, I think, but I’m also bored and trying to figure out how to do new things.

    And I’m jealous of other people’s make-up so one of my goals for this year is to finally figure out how to wear it.

  31. This is the best thing and I must come back for the makeup recommendations when I am no longer poor af. I loved the brow wiz, but I’d be open to trying other things.

  32. Bare face with a strong lip is my signature style too! Great to find a new style icon in this Perfume Genius…

  33. clinique is great, i wear their bb cream everyday (although i have to mix two shades to actually match my skin tone). i like their lipstick colors but i feel like cheap drugstore ones with gross chemicals last longer?

    i’d like to break out of my routine too. i’m v interested in brightly colored eyeliner, orange lipstick instead of red, and actually figuring out how to apply blush. also i have no idea how to give myself stronger brows without seriously messing it up.

    i love love both photos of you, the darker lipstick and brows really makes your jawline and eyes pop

    bucket hats + braids were my jam ages 7-14

  34. I really loved this piece – it’s something I think about often. I’m not a fan of being high femme, though I feel dragged into it a lot of the time :/

    Loved your suggestions, too!

  35. “male femininity is one of my most constant style inspirations.”

    This. This is perfect.

  36. This article!!!!! Is my life!!! I am literally always talking/thinking about queerness and gender and makeup, I’m actually currently working on a research project on queerness and “feminized” tools like makeup and such and whether it is an effective way to fuck up the patriarchy/heteronormativity and also what happens when Hetero culture absorbs those trends. And I also wrote about femme identity and makeup for the Trinity Queer Society when I was studying abroad in Ireland:

    I am so into talking about how femininity/masculinity is fucked with when we use makeup, especially as queer folks, and the intersectional identities that shape how we approach makeup?
    I am currently really into being “aggressively femme” and doing heavy heavy brows with smashbox brown eyeshadow, and like super matte face with almost purpley blue translucent highlighter on my cheekbones that make my skin look a little alien-y with really dark or bright lips!!!!

  37. Aaaahh, this article was -exactly- something I was longing for recently! I am sososo excited for the future of the column!

  38. Eyes and lips only for me.

    I use MAC bright pink eyeshadow with shimmery pink eyeshadow over it. Then I use MAC extended play black mascara. I finish with pink Lancome “In Love” lipstick:

  39. Ohhhh, to have grown up in the nineties. To have been teased so very much about your prominent unibrow that you shaved, plucked and waxed it to oblivion. To emerge an adult only to discover Cara Delevigne. To bemoan your fortune.

    I’ve always drawn the same doodle in every notebook I’ve ever owned. She’s a woman who looks a lot like me (but with only one eye because I can never draw two the same). She is racially ambiguous with an enormous afro hairdo. She has big bold brows… but she also has impossibly high cheekbones and a jaw that rivals Jay Lenos. It was this idealized version of myself that I never knew was myself, the perfect balance of masculine and feminine, as I would have it appear on my own body.

    Yet somehow I still bent to the pressure of pencil thin brows. It is my one true fashion regret. I don’t know if I’ll ever get my brows back. I’ve been playing with eyebrow pencils too. But recently I’ve been seeing so many people over-do it in a way I think I can tell isn’t deliberate. Like I think I can tell what they’re going for… and they just didn’t get it quite right (or horribly wrong). I worry every time I color in my brows that I’m seeing something totally different in the mirror than what other people see, and that I look clownish.

    On some real, if I could go back in time I would tell my twelve-year old self that unibrows were about to be SO IN RIGHT NOW.

  40. I’m back to talk about highlighter/illuminator/luminizer!!

    I know a few people have mentioned it already, but it is one of my favorite things to put on my face ever. I use it no matter what permutation of femme (or occasionally not femme?) I’m feeling.

    Highlighter can come in liquid, cream, loose/pressed powder- pretty much any form. I add a little bit on my cheekbones, tiny bit on my forehead, and a little dot in my cupid’s bow above my lip for a magical, dewy glow.

    The one I use daily is Benefit’s Watts Up:, which comes in a stick form.

    The one I’m super lusting after is this rose gold highlighter by Becca [insert heart-eyes here]:

    I am also a huge fan of Colourpop’s highlighters which are way more affordable at $8 (everything they sell is less than $10!!!):

  41. Firstly, yes yes yes to all this, you look gorgeous and all your examples are gorgeous. Secondly… how is that Taylor Swift? Is that Taylor Swift? Have I forgotten what she looks like? Because that does not look like her at all.

  42. Y’all are all so amazing!! I WISH YOU HAD INCLUDED PICTURES! Next time I will specify ;).

    Thank you all for your comments, I’m sorry I can’t respond to every one of you, but you are all brilliant and I am thankful to be having this party together. xx

  43. Right so I think this article may have changed my life.
    Since I came out I’ve been toying with how I want to present (feminine ? Femme? Tomboy?). I used to wear dresses all the time and now I love a good pant with fancy shoes.

    And then I started thinking about makeup. When I’m in a dress/skirt I like to have a feminine makeup: eyeshadow, mascara, a bold red lip.

    But for days when I want to look more androgynous, I’ve just gone makeup free for now, and this might well be the conversation I needed !!!

    Thank you thank you thank you

  44. This is me, trying to look like a vintage badboy and a sexy chick at the same time lol. I’ve always been in love with men’s clothes, perfume, everything so I’m very excited now I’ve snapped out of the “one day I’ll work out this girl thing” phase and realised that all I need to do is wear what I love and suddenly all the sexy floats up to the surface.

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