Reviews

Cross-dressing can be a complicated business. I mean, ignoring the simple (!) act of getting comfortable with who you are, there's the whole practical side to it too. Like so much else in life, there's no instruction manual, so most of us muddle our way through, learning as we go.

Although being trans has always been part of my life, I guess the end of the 90s would mark my real start in all of this. You know, buying your own things, trying to learn how to do your make-up and avoid 'why so serious?' jokes when you look in the mirror. :-)

There are two things this page isn't: one, a list of links and two a how to. There are plenty of the latter on YouTube and Pinterest, performed/written by some very talented people. What this list is, is a list of the things I've tried and which of those I've found work for me. Again, what works for me, may not work for you, but that's all part of the fun, right?

Products and Places
  • Body shaping
  • Make-up Removers
  • Shaving
  • Wigs


Body Shaping


If, like me, you have a love of pies and tasty food, you may well be blessed (!) with extra... bra filling than more svelter people. While this isn't great for drab mode, with some careful application of some medical tape (thanks Boots!) and the right bra, you can enhance your cleavage. With the right bra and some chicken fillet inserts, you may well be able to fill our your top very nicely.

Now, there's probably lots of other tapes available than this one. Probably wider, stronger, etc. Yet, this one - Boots Pharmaceuticals Microporous Surgical Tape 5cm x 5m - is easily bought on the high street and doesn't require anything - other than patience - to remove. It's not too pricey either. Oh, don't be tempted to get the more flexible, sticky bandage tape; that doesn't *ahem* - hoist as well.

As to boosting your boobage - to use a scientific term - there are various ways to enhance what Mother Nature didn't give you. Stuffing your bra with bags of rice, a roll of tights, specialist bra fillers, etc. For me, and given the above comment about pie ingestion, two sets of silicon bra fillers in a good t-shirt bra seem to do the trick. I bought mine from La Senza over ten years ago, and they're still going strong. 

There are plenty available on-line and lots of high street shops stock them now. I've got the olive shaped ones, although experimenting with different shapes, might mean you get a better fit.

[ NB: The eagle eyed amongst you will notice I've not said anything about shapewear. That's to follow ]

Make-up Removers

I'll be honest here, I love Clinque products, so this section will have Take the Day Off in here. Combined with some good face wipes - not loo roll - these will help remove all incriminating evidence. Do take extra care around your eyes and eyeliner can be a pain to fully remove. A gentle soak with this product and it takes most of it away. L'Oreal Paris also have Skin Perfection, 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution, which also does the trick nicely.

I find the Garnier Skin Naturals make-up wipes good with either of the above. Again, available in most chemists and supermarkets. Pop them in your shopping basket and off to the self-checkout if you're nervous ;-)

Shaving

The bane of modern man's existence and quite possibly, doubly so for those of us who like to be fancy once in a while. An electric razor might be okay for work, but I've yet to find one - shall we say - 'as close as a blade' as a famous ad once said. :-)

Everyone has their preferred blade, or set of blades and I'll share mine here. Skip over disposable blades, you're just heading into trouble, in my limited experience. For my body, I like the multi-blade cartridge razors, such as the Gillette Mach 3. Personally, anything more than three blades and I find them a little unwieldy, but again, your mileage may vary. 

For my face, I prefer the old school double edge safety razor. Not only are the blades a lot cheaper than the cartridge systems, the shave is very close. However, here be dragons. shave carefully; don't rush. Using a shaving oil on your face first, and then a good shaving gel is very nice. I wasn't convinced by shaving oil the first time, but having read the instructions properly (duh!), applying first, waiting and then gel on top, meant I've had less irritation, which means less redness. Shave down once, rinse and using the other side of the new blade, go against the grain (so to speak). There are quite a few videos on how to shave with a DE razor on YouTube, so that might be worth a look.

Oh, unlucky enough to catch yourself? A styptic pencil will close that cut for you. Yes, it will sting, but it's better than dripping gore on to your best frock ;-)

You can find these pencils - they look a bit like a chalk lipstick (and no, I don't recommend them on the lips) - in high street chemists for a few quid. A word of warning, other than the *ahem* slight tingle, don't drop them,as they break fairly easily. 

Wigs

Before I first started out, I once read the line: buy the best wig you can afford. Nothing gives you away more easily than a bad wig. Now, if said person was a wig retailer, I couldn't comment, but the advice has served me well. :-) It's also true that a good wig won't make you perfect, a good one will help, so don't expect miracles. There is also, I think, that rub of what you like, against what suits you. For example, I think a bob cut is lovely and that was my first wig. However, with a jaw like Dredd, that's not the best shape for me (Ed: Whoops!)

Take a moment to have a look via your favourite search engine (or Pinterest!), at what your face shape might be. Then, what haircut would suit it. I've put some ideas below. 





Go armed with ideas, and a budget. If you can, try on when you get their. If you can try on while en femme, as they say, even better. If you're nervous about doing the latter, get your local trans support group to invite a vendor along, that usually works well. :-) I've bought wigs in bloke mode and when you try them on...? Well, tired 80s rocker rather than fab-u-lous. Lessons learned eh? :-)

As to shops; Chameleons have had visits from Hot Hair and Sally's Glitz and Glam. Hot Hair have shops in most major cities, they're trans friendly and the web-site is good too. Sally has a web site and shops in Barnsley and Sheffield. Both vendor have good prices and excellent service. Yes, you will get lower prices on eBay and on-line. However, - and I bet you saw a 'but' coming, right? - a good wig vendor will offer sound styling advice, they can trim to wig for you and they have stock to let you try them on. Going back to my first comment about a good wig, on another note, a friend who worked in sales once told me: it's easy to sell someone their first telly or car. The hard part is being good enough so they'll trust you enough, to come back again and again..