Nov 21

Hyaluronic Acid And Your Skin

Greetings, beautiful ladies!  I haven’t posted on Sister House in awhile, alas.  But I’m here now, with some talk about one of the hottest things in beauty currently, hyaluronic acid.  I’m going to share some tips for cleansing your face and brightening your skin.

Mellissalynn talks about hyaluronic acidTo begin with, we all know by now that the sun is the enemy of our skin, right?  We’re also aware that sweating can leave oils and bacteria on the skin that aren’t necessarily the best thing for us.  Smoking, of course, is bad for us all around; did you know that the residue from smoking gets into the pores of your skin and cause you to lose that healthy glow?  It’s true!  And, lastly, not sleeping or not sleeping well can be devastating to our skin.

This is a three-step method to correcting some of the damage these (and other) factors can cause.  We’ll begin with a good exfoliation.  When we exfoliate, we are removing dead skin, bacteria, and other elements from the skin, uncovering the healthier, younger skin beneath.  This can be accomplished with a gentle glycolic peel.  This will come in the form of medicated pads that you swipe your face with once daily.

The second step is to do some collagen rebuilding.  Collagen (as per Wikipedia) is the main structural protein in the extracellular space in the various connective tissues in animal bodies.  In other words, it’s the substance that plumps up the skin so it isn’t saggy and wrinkly.  As we age, and do damage to the skin, the collagen fades.  This can be fought!  There are many creams out there that contain retinol.  By applying once a day (usually in the morning), the collagen levels can be rebuilt, and the skin looks plump and shiny.

Our third actual step is to apply hyaluronic acid to the skin to rehydrate it.  This miracle substance, when applied, acts like a sponge in the skin, absorbing moisture and trapping it.  This is a great thing for the skin; we’ll get more radiant-looking skin because of this.  Hyaluronic acid can be found in many of the moisturizing face creams out there.

There are two other things we can do to assist in the treatment of our skin, ladies.  Both of these are inexpensive, but can be long-term fixes.  First of all, swap out your cotton pillowcases for silk or satin.  This will let your skin glide across it without being grabbed the way that cotton does.

The second is even less expensive; we own everything we need for this.  Ready? A self-delivered face massage!  This will take about a minute to perform.  Place the middle and ring finger of each hand at the tip of the chin Gently but rapidly tap your way along the jawline to the ears, then reverse until meeting again at the chin.  Move the fingers up and keep the motion going. Continue doing this everywhere but the eye area.

In combination, these tips will help to keep the skin soft, plump, and wrinkle-free.  Many celebrities endorse these steps, and live by them.  I recommend, when you start this regimen, taking a before photo to remember what your skin looked like in the beginning.  This way, you can see how much progress has been made!

You can read more about hyaluronic acid on Wikipedia.

Mellissalynn  Andromeda

Beauty Columnist for Sister House

Oct 18

Developing Your Trans Sense of Style

stylish black dressDeveloping your trans sense of style is one of the biggest challenges trans women face, especially early in their public life. Learning about fashion and clothing choices and figuring out what styles work best for you is no easy task until now. Cis-gendered women grow up with mothers, sisters, and friends with whom they learn about clothing and make-up who help develop their sense of fashion. Trans women don’t have those types of experiences to draw upon, so it’s generally an ongoing learning process, which can end up being costly and time consuming, as well as frustrating. I know, I’ve been there.

So we are introducing the Style Bible with resources from the best of the fashion mavens out there. It’s comprehensive but easy to read. How do you eat an elephant??  Why, one bite at a time and that is what we will do. Browse through the many links, check out the style puzzle and keep coming back. What you want to know is here.

Many trans women start off buying clothes online because they’re not quite ready to venture out in public to buy women’s clothing, so doing it online is a safer and easier alternative, although there are a few easily overcome pitfalls to online buying. But being able to try things on in a store and see how they look and fit is also important, and you don’t want to miss out on the experience of being able to go out in public and be yourself and the enjoyment of shopping.

Figuring out clothing sizes can be tricky and frustrating because sizes vary from brand to brand and from store to store; a size 6 may fit perfectly in one brand, but the same size in a different brand may not fit at all. There is also the issue of the differences in the build of a cis woman versus a trans woman and how that translates into clothing.

human_body_proportionsOne of the more common problems is that males tend to have broader shoulders which has a large influence in how a women’s top will fit on a trans woman’s body. For instance, a trans woman can usually wear a size or two smaller in a sleeveless style than in a style which covers the shoulders, such as a blouse, and a top which fits the shoulders will likely be too big around the waist. It’s helpful to find a good tailor to make alterations when needed. It’s also important to learn which fabrics will shrink when washed so you can account for shrinkage and buy the right size, and how to launder clothes the right way.

As far as bras go, it’s best to go to a store and get measured and fitted by someone who knows what they’re doing. It can be a bit overwhelming trying to make sense of the seemingly endless combinations of sizes and style options, so let the professionals help you on this one.

The process of coming out is basically like going through adolescence and puberty again, along with the same desires to experiment and express yourself. Having had to repress their feminine side for so long, many trans women initially opt to wear ultra-sexy and tight clothing, which while fun to wear, is usually not appropriate to wear for a trip to the grocery store or the library. And this ends up drawing unwanted attention and you essentially end up outing yourself, which early on in the coming out process is the one thing which many trans women fear the most.

women shoppingTaking the time to observe other women out in public is a great way to learn, and something which is highly recommend. Notice what women wear when out running errands at the store or during a typical day. The majority of women usually wear something simple like jeans and a top; nothing too fancy.

What you won’t see are women wearing gowns or tight sexy skirts or dresses and five inch heels. The lesson to be learned from this is to dress appropriately for the situation; nothing draws attention quicker than being dressed inappropriately. When it comes to shoes the same rules apply; observe, and wear shoes appropriate to the situation. Going to the grocery store wearing five inch stilettos is not a good idea.

The key to developing a good fashion sense is to figure out what looks good on your particulate body style. A certain dress may look stunning on a tall slender woman, but may not look quite as good on a short, stocky woman. Very few women are built like runway fashion models, so it’s best to avoid trying to duplicate that look, and if you notice, the average cis-gendered women is not wearing those types of styles either.

There are nine keys to unlocking your style and once you understand this style puzzle, all will be open to you. There is no one route to style, but there is what I call, the Style Puzzle, a group of elements when they all go together define your personal style says Imogene Lampart of the Insideoutstyle blog. These nine puzzle pieces are just the start too.  You can delve into them and branch out to discover more and more!

style puzzle

Key to understanding the Style Puzzle is your body shape and Imogene gives us her Body Shape Bible. Defining your body shape helps determine what style of clothing best enhances your natural features while minimizing those less than feminine features that we may have. Coming later this month will be our comprehensive section on clothing styles by body shape

The same thing applies when it comes to make-up. Observe other women. Most women wear minimal make-up during the day, so if you show up at the grocery store wearing heavy foundation and eyeliner and the full works, you will probably stand out. If you’re going out for the evening then by all means your make-up can be more dramatic, but don’t over-due it during the day.

crossdresser makeoverMany trans women struggle with learning how to apply make-up. Some are lucky enough to have a woman friend who can help, but there are other options for those who are on their own. Most upscale department stores have numerous make-up counters and the women who work there are more than happy to do a make-over on you and explain how to apply the make-up and help you pick out the best shades and colors. Even if you’re shy or uncomfortable about venturing out in public, this is something which is highly beneficial if you can do it. But the single most important thing you can do to improve your make-up skills is to practice, practice, practice! And remember that when it comes to make-up, less is more; you don’t want to look like you applied it with a spatula.

Developing your own sense of style is a process of trial and error and it takes time. Go to stores and try on various styles and see what looks good on you. Bring a friend to get their opinion. Buy an assortment of styles to try out, and listen to the feedback you get. When you hit on a style which is flattering and looks good on you you’ll know it because people will give you compliments.

As trans women we have usually had to wait a significant portion of our lives to reach the point where we can finally be ourselves and wear women’s clothing, and it’s easy to go to a bit wild and wear things which we see as fun and exciting, but try to resist that urge. The average cis-gendered woman doesn’t get overly dressed up most of the time, which to us can be difficult to understand, but if we’re looking to blend in and not draw unwanted attention to ourselves we need to observe and learn to dress appropriately. And keep in mind that there will be plenty of opportunities where we can break out the sexy and slinky clothes and the stiletto heels and indulge our wild side!

Developing your own unique sense of style is one of the special parts of being a woman, so enjoy the journey as you explore the world of fashion and discover the look which expresses who you are!

Your best beauty tips are on Sister House at Best Face Forward

Jan 07

Beauty Tips from Countessa

Countessa of Countessa's ClosetCountessa from Countessa’s Closet is a long-time  friend and when she has offered these beauty tips for the New Year as a comment on the site, I decided to make her advice more visible for all our readers to enjoy and benefit. So enhance your most feminine every day look with a fresh and clean style.from the expertise of Countessa

Your Eyes

If you wear eyeliner it should only be black on the upper eye at the lashes, never brown as that will age the eye and make it look tired. Above the lashes, a liquid eyeliner is best as it will last longer and not smear. I have heard some problems with gel eyeliners from some as it does get into the eye and is hard to remove.

You may use a youthful color on the outside of the lower eyelid or a bit inside the eyelid in a soft fine line. Never use black or brown under the eye but a soft toned color.

eyesIf your eyes are blue, soft navy or a deep jade is great for below and /or inside the bottom eyeline and should only be done with a pencil or a makeup crayon, never any gel or liquid eyeliner. The colors jade or blue will enhance the eyes if they are green, blue or hazel. Brown eyes should use jade green or a soft brown for a way to enhance the eyes. Be careful with liquid eyeliner not to get it INSIDE THE LOWER LID. It will burn and not work at all and will flow into the eye.If you should get liquid eyeliner inside the eye, use a cloth to remove it gently.or rinse the eye out. Never use tissue as it has wood fibers and will cause the fibers to go into the eye and then you really have a problem.. <wink>

Try to stay away from purple eye shadows and blues as that will also age the eye. Shimmer and glitter shadows, as well as glitter blushes, will fully age the eye as they tend to enhance the look of wrinkles particularly if you are over 40 years of age. Never use glitter unless you are on stage! It’s really that simple… it will always age the skin and get into the creases

Rosy-Cheeks_optYour Cheeks

 Cheeks, as we age, tend to look softer and more youthful with a peach blush.or even a soft coral blush, rather than a pink or rose tone.

lipstickYour Lipstick

 Lipstick should be a soft deep coral for all skin tones or a soft red or deep red for brunettes For blondes, softer tones tend to offer a softer look…such as a lively soft coral, a rose tone or even a good lipliner in deeper colors and lighter colors in the center…never lipsticks with purple tones that will make the teeth look a bit discolored and also make the skin tone look harsh..

If you two-tone your lipstick, no matter what color or skin tone you are, you can always do this, but remember the lip liner pencil should always be at least two shades darker than your inner lipstick color to enhance the lips and make them usually look larger and fuller.

hairYour Hair

 Short hair tends to age the face and longer hair to the shoulder tends to soften the features… for the TG woman short hair is usually a no no! Male faces are usually a bit longer and or wider so remember short hair will show all that. Longer hair that is softly flowing to the shoulder or just below it will definitely soften the features. It will also make the chin look longer or wider. A good hair length is to the shoulders or a bit longer. This will offer a softer more feminine look and style. And if you do wear very short hair, remember to get those sideburns removed.

Long bangs tightly swept across the forehead are not at all flattering. Have them trimmed or get a full soft bang across the forehead. A soft slightly FLUFFED bang will take away years, cover any forehead lines and make the forehead look softer and much more feminine

We all tend to hate to wear wigs if we must do it daily but it’s best to do so until your hair grows at least just past your shoulders and falls to the shoulder. Soft short do’s to at least the shoulder are much more feminine and do not show the male shape of the head.

Hair should be for the best look, either highlighted or in a mixed tone, never just black or brown or yellow blonde.. That will also age the look. .Blonde tones should be either frosted or with some sort of highlight if possible and never yellow or a white shade as that also will harden the features. If you dye your hair be sure it does not get frizzy as that means it is burnt from over processing and will break off easily..

Soft auburns and strawberries and highlighted browns or auburn highlighted browns are best to show off those gorgeous eyes and also will make the hair look so much more real.

All eye colors look so much more vibrant with red or strawberry tones in the hair. A frosted touch to the hair or highlighted hair is great. Never make the hair just blonde or brown or flat black.

Browns always look so much better if they are deep browns with a bit of auburn highlights or a soft sort of auburn film over the dark brown color.. Never ever wear an ash brown that will make your skin look sallow and grayish.

padded buttYour Body

 Male heads, hands and feet are shaped differently than genetic female hands and feet and heads… Even shoulders are shaped differently. Sorry but that is the truth and a fact of life.

Heavy padding of the hips and buttocks never looks real. but often if you ask a gal in the community or a close friend, you will find they never wish to hurt your feelings and will always say you look great or just fine!..

beautiful handsYour Hands

One very important thing to remember. everyone will judge you by the cleanliness of your fingernails and how they look. It is a known fact that in business interviews and in all business or whenever you talk to others, they will always notice your hands.. You just can’t hide them unless you wear gloves all the time !!!

Keep your nails clean and clean under the nails at all times. Dirty or chipped nails or nails that have chipped polish tend to make the hands look older and others think your hands are dirty. Think about this and you will notice a difference.

If you don’t wish color than always use a top coat on the nails to protect them. If you are on hormones always keep a top coat on your nails and it will keep them from discoloring and getting lines in them or chipped so easily. Keeping your nails clean and freshly polished or clean and well kept looking will really look better, look cleaner and also make you look a bit more professional and feminine. If you have shorter nails just remember to keep them clean and never with chipped or faded polish. Short nails are truly unfeminine but as I am a fashion designer I must keep my nails short as I can snag a most expensive fabric or garment. I keep them clean at all times, wash them every time I hit the shower with a nail brush and try to keep them filed and chip free.

Shorter nails do not really look great with polish but clear coats and using a white nail pencil under the nail will keep them fresh and clean looking and also so much more feminine and healthy.

As illness often goes thru the hands,.remember to keep your hands clean and keep a bit of hand lotion in your glove box or in your car at all times. Soft pretty hands will do so much more for you anywhere you are then dry cracked chipped nails that don’t look like you take care of yourself…

Clean hands and well kept nails make you look so much more enticing and clean in the way you live, work and take care of yourself and this says much to others especially at work or out for the night..

happy smileAlways try to smile when possible when you are talking casually to others, but not a big wide smile but a soft sweet smile when you meet or greet others. It does offer a much more welcoming feeling and brings a warmth to any conversation.

Happy New year to all and I wish you all a most wonderful and fulfilling year ahead

Be sure to visit Countessa’s Closet  online or at her store in Studio City, CA