I’m an AFAB genderfluid person with ribcage-length wavy hair. Some days, I love my hair length and it makes me feel like a pretty pretty princess, and others I’m just like, “Ahhh, get off my head, hair!” Generally, I put it up to approximate the look of short hair, but most updos and braids I know how to do are associated with a feminine look. Any ideas for braids and compact hairstyles that have a more masculine feel? —No, 19, Montreal
This is a great Q, as hair can be a major defining characteristic of gender presentation. The best thing about this is that you can do some solid experimentation without any major or permanent consequences, since it grows back! Here are some styles you can try on those days where you wish you could just buzz your head:
Traditionally, “male” hairstyles have short hair on the sides of the head, so for a “masculine” feel, that’s what you might like to mimic. This is an easy look to recreate and can be done in a few different ways.
One is by slicking the sides down with gel or hairspray. For the rest of your hair, depending on how you’re feeling that day, you can leave your gorgeous mane down, braid it into a single French braid, or braid it into an updo.
If you are really trying to impress the cute puppy you see every morning on the way to school, show off your sweet braiding skillz a bit more. You can braid the sides of your hair down instead of slicking them back. You can tuck these braids under a ponytail, or just let them fall with the rest of your hair.
A more permanent look is the side-cut or undercut, where you shave one or both sides of your head. I had a side-cut for two years and it really helped me reconcile feeling like both genders at once. I even got a couple stripes shaved into the side of my head for an extra one-two punch to traditional gender roles! On the days when you’re feeling like a guy, you can show off your shaved scalp, but when you’re feeling more like a lady-mermaid, you can part your hair to cover your buzzcut.
The only drawback to this look is that it is pretty high-maintenance. You have to shave the sides down every few weeks, and it’s also pretty annoying to grow out. But I think the undercut is a great balance of masculine, feminine, and everything in between. Happy hair-doing! —Shriya
I have lots of freckles, and I love them. I want to be able to put on makeup and be transformed into a beautiful fairy creature, but I don’t know how to apply makeup over my freckles without looking like a corpse. How can I even out my skin tone without covering my face in inches of makeup? —Anne, 18, Selinsgrove, PA
Lots of freckles = automatically a beautiful fairy creature, so it’s lucky that you’re already as covered in that respect as you are in little flecks of pigmentation, huh? I am so glad your question is not UGH I HATE BEING A DAPPLED ANGEL WHO WAS GIVEN THE GIFT OF A GORGEOUS JACKSON POLLACK BABY DEER FACE, as we sometimes get here at O!YPT. You are smart AND a woodland seraph, aka what I like to call “tha whole dangg package.”
There are plenty of ways to keep your spots out in the open while giving you a uniform skin tone everywhere else. One is to use a specific, different color (or colors) of concealer on the part(s) of your face that you want to smooth. I have hyperpigmentation around my nose, so I use a green-toned concealer there in order to nullify the redness and make that part of my face match all the REST of my face that isn’t covered in sun specks. When I have dark circles under my eyes, I pave over them with a yellow-based concealer, which ameliorates my exhaust-o-face, for the most part, without making me look undead. For zitzzzz, if they’re red, I hit ’em with the green shit I mentioned earlier. If they’re still visible, I layer a pink-based concealer that’s close to my skin color over the top of that. Pow, done, great, freckles intact, rad. Tha. Whole. Dangg. Package.
If you’re looking for full-stop overall coverage that doesn’t look like you tried to encrust an impasto onto your zones, may I recommend forgoing both a heavy foundation and all these different aforementioned fingerpaints (they’re fine on their own, but can look pretty DONE-UP when you add MORE face makeup to them—I like that for myself)? Instead, pick one multivalent product in the form of a BB or CC cream, which are kind of like tinted moisturizers and foundation boned (tha whole dangg…you get the point, Jesus, ARS). These can be expen$ey, but this one from Skin79 is pretty great and under $20, which, for a BB or CC cream that actually works, is tight as FF. The shade range of that one is, unfortunately, limited, so if you’re a person of color, this thread on Reddit’s Brown Beauty forum (I live and die by the rules of makeup Reddit, even though I’m otherwise terrified of that website) recommends this one from Black Radiance, which is SIX GODDAMN DOLLARS and comes in plenty of hues. Try that! Now go cavort around in the forest like you’re meant to, ya spotted sprite. —Amy Rose
Whenever I hug someone, I leave a big smear of foundation on their clothes, which forces me to awkwardly scuttle away with a guilty conscience. Is the problem my hugging style? I know the answer might be “wear less makeup,” but I don’t think I wear that much, and I like how my current amount looks. How do I keep my makeup from transferring to the clothing of the objects of my affection? —Clare
I totally feel this and run into the same problem from time to time. I’m pretty sure you can’t prevent makeup from going hither and yon in ALL instances, but here are a couple of things you can do to cut down on ruining weddings with your face.
First, do you use a setting powder? After you have your foundation and blush all done, but maybe before applying eye makeup, you can use a translucent powder, like this one from Make Up For Ever to get it all to stay put/create a barrier between your makeup and white shirts. Using a large brush loaded with powder, tap off the excess and then apply it to your face in a pressing motion. You’re dab-dab-dabbing the powder onto your makeup, not swirling it around. This is my preferred method for setting my makeup.
Finishing sprays exist, too. Lots of companies make them, like MAC and Make Up For Ever. I’ve used this one by Skindinavia because someone gave me a sample, but play around to find which works best for you.
Hardcore makeup fans sometimes even USE BOTH. Powder and then spray. Like face shellac. I guess you could try that? And, yeah, I’d say to also work on changing your hugging style if you’re in a situation where you think this might be a problem. (Do NOT change your hugging style in the middle of a makeout sesh or with your grandma!) Why not take a cue from Auntie Mame and just pop-kiss everyone instead?
Hope this helps! —Jane Marie
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