How I Learnt to Use Makeup as a Trans Teen

Why do you wear makeup? Of course we all pray at the concealer altar, thankful for its ability to cover that irritating spot, and love the way foundation can simply make us look more awake—even when we're actually hungover. But beyond its practical uses, I'm sure I'm not only talking for myself when I say that makeup is just another of the weapons in our self-expression armoury—and we wear it to show the world exactly who we are and what we stand for.

So imagine never being handed that weapon. If you're a cisgender female, it's likely you won't truly be able to empathise. Makeup is practically thrust upon girls at a young age—whether that's in a physical form (like the friends at school who sniggered at your un-mascaraed eyes and foundation-less skin) or more subconsciously, through the bombardment of beauty advertising across every channel of communication. While this expectation that women will wear makeup for the benefit of others is troublesome in itself, once you navigate the war zone, you soon realise that with the right mind frame and intentions, makeup is just another form of empowerment.

But what if makeup has never really been on offer for you? Well, there are so many people out there who would love to benefit from makeup's confidence-boosting ability but have never been offered this schooling and you're about to hear from someone who fits this bill.

Well, that's exactly where Kohl Kares steps in. If you haven't heard of this charity, you'll want to pay close attention. It's the brainchild of makeup brand Kohl Kreatives (which, may we add, makes some of the best makeup brushes going) and aims "to bring the basics back to beauty for men and women, so they can feel good about themselves on a daily basis."

Their clientele? Primarily individuals transitioning from one gender to another, whom they help to re-create features cosmetically as well as teach "simple techniques to improve their self-esteem and help them reintegrate into society."

To do so, the charity offers free workshops internationally that teach men and women everything they need to know—and have never been taught traditionally—about makeup so they can head out into the world wearing their most confident face.

Here, we hear from Alicia, an 18-year-old trans teen on why makeup and the Kohl Kares sessions play such an integral part in her journey.