The Cost of a Bad Makeup Day

bad day

Getting all done up in full makeup is a pretty big investment on two fronts, or so it is for me. Makeup isn’t cheap, and it takes a lot of makeup to transform Gabe’s rugged man-face into the soft and feminine face of Gabrielle. It also requires significant time to get all that makeup properly spackled on and detailed just right. Therefore I have to plan ahead, making sure that I have enough makeup on hand and a window of opportunity available in my busy life.

Unlike many genetic women, applying makeup isn’t something I get to practice on a daily basis. Sometimes it doesn’t quite turn out right and there’s a price to pay.

Full makeup vs. makeup-lite
I’ll often just apply partial makeup or what I refer to as makeup-lite: some eyeliner, blush, eye shadow, and lipstick. Quickie partial makeup jobs don’t take long, and not much makeup is used up in the process. If I were about 15 or so years younger, this approach might be all I need to look good as Gabrielle. If I want to get out of the house or take photos however, it requires a lot more makeup and time necessary to apply it. The main reason is vanity. If I’m going to show myself to the world in photos or in person, I’d prefer not to look like a man wearing makeup, or at least minimize that as much as possible. The signs of aging and my troublesome “man-shadow” need to be properly covered.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit exactly how much time is required to complete a full makeup job. My wife can do her face up nicely in just minutes. Gabrielle requires considerably more makeup though. In my own defense, I don’t exactly get as much practice as women do, therefore it is a skill that is developing very slowly.

With the investment of so much time and effort into makeup application (including the extra body shaving involved and doing my nails, etc.), I’d like to be able to show something for it. Taking photos to capture and remember the moment is always high on my list. Unfortunately, I’m often unaware of a bad makeup day until reviewing my photos. Oddly, I can’t always tell in the mirror first.

The cost of a bad makeup day
So what exactly is the cost of a bad makeup day for Gabrielle?

1) Time I can’t have back
Time is lost that might have been spent attending to responsibilities or simply relaxing. My life is a busy one. Hours of precious time lost to something that didn’t yield any returns really hurts.

2) Depleted makeup supply
I’m out that much more makeup after a bad makeup day. If the makeup doesn’t turn out well, it feels like supplies (and money) were wasted rather than utilized.

3) Nothing to show for the investment
There’ll be no new photos to share with the world. Regret and frustration fill the space that beautiful photographic memories should have.

It is cheating?
Being pretty slick with photo editing software, I could probably salvage some of the (bad-makeup) photos by touching up the problem areas. I already do color correction, fix up small problem areas, and remove blemishes and other minor unsightly marks in my photos. I’ve always done the same for photos of me in guy-mode, too. Although I’m capable of going a lot further, doing any major re-touching (on my appearance) feels like cheating to me. I prefer to show people what I looked like rather than what I tried to look like.

Photo: “bad day”
The picture up top was taken on my most recent bad makeup day. Photo after photo, nothing was turning out well. My face was the major problem area… it just didn’t look right. It didn’t look feminine enough. Subtle mistakes in the way I did my makeup caused some major problems. I tried changing the lighting, but it didn’t help. It was very upsetting – to end up with such an unproductive investment of my time. Shifting focus from trying to get a good photo of me, I instead took a few shots of how I felt. They of course, looked terribly ugly.

Applying some artistic stylization, the photo was made to appear as you see it. I like that word – “stylization”. When I fail look presentable on my own, I can always stylize the look of the photo. It’s an artistic way of masking problem areas. The stylized look is obvious and therefore not really much of a “lie”, or that’s how I feel about it. I can now say that I’ve simply chosen an artistic approach to the image, rather than explain that I looked terrible and needed to somehow remove or obscure as much detail as possible in order hide that fact.

When life gives you lemons…
I’m a firm believer in the phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This particular bad makeup day wasn’t a total loss. Although I did not achieve (photographically) what I set out to, I was able to re-purpose a couple photos for other things. There is also the photo in this post, titled “bad day”. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it either. Insecure as I am in my own vanity, there is a certain artistic quality to the picture. The look of defeat was captured on my face. It’s real. That’a how I truly felt in the moment. Frustrated and tired, I was about to call it a night… a wasted night. However that one last photo turned into this reflection upon a bad makeup day – something quite trivial to most people, and yet very important to so many of us.

Does it happen to you, too?
I know genetic women have their share of bad hair days, but I don’t imagine bad makeup days happens often. How many other t-girls experience the same? I’m not the only transgendered perfectionist, but perhaps I am the least skilled with makeup application… for now, anyway.

11 thoughts on “The Cost of a Bad Makeup Day”

  1. If there are any of “US” who CAN’T relate to this – I envy them more than words can tell….

  2. Some days it just doesn’t work out does it? I can related to that vibe.

    On the upside, tho… for each bad event, you can have really good days too. They make it all worthwhile.

    1. No, some days the paint just doesn’t want to work with my face, Lynn. :( Then again, I have a long way to go in terms of my makeup skills.

      I do love the good-makeup days though. I love when I take a few quick photos and I see the image of a gorgeous, sexy t-girl! It’s hit and miss with the photos, just like the makeup, but on the good days, I’m FEELING awesome and smiling ear to ear! :D

  3. Hi Gabi, I too have me days…especially when working on my brows. I use spirit gum to make the brow lay down and it seems there are those days or nights when the humidity is high, time is of the essence and I need to get done quickly! When that happens I just start over and chock it up to learning! It has caused me some problems, but I can just do a “makeup lite” and get by. Even the best of them have bad days! I woulkd love to see a before and after pic…from male to female!

    1. So your problem area is your brows, Debbie? People usually can’t tell when I don’t get my brows just right… hellooooo bangs! lol Yes, I do love my bangs – they hide some of my problem areas and look rather pretty as well. :)

      I WISH I could get by with makeup-lite, but I need quite a bit more these days to properly transform my rugged man-face in to Gabrielle’s soft, feminine face. A facelift and permanent hair removal (of my man-shadow) would probably make it possible to look right without layers of thick makeup… but that is just not in the budget right now. :(

      In terms of before and after… I think we’ll just stick with the after for now. The “before” may be a bit jarring and I would rather people see and get to know me as the beauty I am inside – Gabrielle. :)

  4. Heh.

    I find this fun to read.

    When I first put on makeup for cosplay it took an eternity to get everything just right.

    Now I have got it down to just over a half hour, for the full foundation with face paint stuff applied.

    since I go for a pale, porcelain doll look, I use ivory foundation (cover girl), and use of all stuff, talcum powder to get the deathly pale I go for. LOL. I used to use this stuff called white heat, but I ran out of it, and needed some kind of powder. I am amazed how well talc actually works. Certainly not something for everyday use though, it does give a very pale complexion.

    Now, that being said, there are days I cannot get the eyebrows how I want, nor my lip shape. There are times the lines are waaaaaay tooo thick around the eyes.

    The lip shape I do is a cupid’s bow, or so I have been told, it has a deep “V” in the center of the upper lip, and too avoid an angular look is a trick without having huge and oversized, stupid looking lips. LOL

    For my birthday I wore my Mana Cosplay. For that costume I use this really pale and pricey foundation. Before my party I thought I had replaced the depleted supply of this foundation with the same stuff, but this tube I got had an added moisturizer. The result was a foundation that DID NOT DRY!!!! I learned this as I applied the blue lipstick, and eye markings, along with the black eye strakes. The blue was a bear to get right, and basically the foundation acted like a blotter!!!. The thin graceful eye markings became ugly thick lines, and the ones close to each other blended. This is when I learned of setting powder, thanks to my lady friend.

    This foundation though was horrible, and even with the setting powder the fine lines were to thick and the cupid’s bow was not as refined as I like.

    In a word, my costume for my costume party was almost ruined by an over sight on my part.

    So yea, Gabrielle, I have been there. Under slightly different circumstances but there none the less.

    1. Thanks for sharing your own makeup frustrations, Pythos. :) Yeah – bad makeup days really stink, but at least there is usually a learning experience to be had, right? Got to look for that silver lip liner… er, silver lining. heehee No matter personal preference or style, I think it’s safe to say we all get bad makeup days. I wish makeup came with a “do-over” option. If things didn’t go on right the firs time around, you can push the do-over button, the clock resets back in time, and the makeup is magically restored from face, to dispenser. :D When I can figure out how to make such a technology a reality, I’ll be one wealthy t-girl! lol

  5. Yep, had those bad days too…and I don’t get anywhere nearly as much practice as others, my fault mostly too.

    There was a time when I could actually manage full makeup in 15 minutes…that was about a year ago. Now though, if I pushed it, I “might” make it in an hour…that’s just the makeup, not the shaving, nails, etc.

    When you get it right though, you do it well. Thank you for posting.

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Erin. :) I’ve gotten much better with my makeup application technique and have a lot fewer bad makeup days as a result. It still takes quite some time, though. Even so, I’ve improved on that, too

  6. I know what you mean, there have been times I have gotten ready in less than an hour but most of the time I try to give myself an hour and a half. for me i anjoy the whole process of getting ready and doing my makeup so when it does not turn out I still had the fun of doing it. The more you do it the better you do get though.

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