Choosing a Style
How To Find The Best Image For You
The breadth of styles and types of clothes available for women is enormous and constantly changing. This may be a strong factor in our cross-dressing. Let’s face it “men’s clothes are SO boring”.
Choosing an Image
How to develop a style that suits us in front of the mirror or a critical public? The very first step must be to critically consider what is possible within the constraints of your body shape and age. Many, at first, appear to like the tarty look of the street hooker and this may be fun for your mirror, your camera, maybe the internet and some specialist venues (once you are inside the door). However on most public excursions you need to consider what is appropriate for each occasion. This is where you learn why women with a bulging wardrobe still say so often
“I haven’t got a thing to wear”.
We are all influenced by what we see around us in the street or in the office as well as television and magazines. It can be enormous fun to play with all the styles and images whether we get out to show the world or not.
Do you want to ‘pass’ in the local supermarket?
Study the average shopper. Current fashions dictate trousers for women in almost every occasion. To wear a skirt will make you the odd one out. However shopping at the appropriate timing “on the way home from work look” will work.
Do you want to make a sensational entrance at the your favourite night-club?
Trousers rule here too. Think Madonna in her ‘Music’ video. However this is still the place to show your legs in hot pants or a mini dresses. Glitter has returned and PVC and fetishy looks continues to have a major influence on the trendy club scene where larger than life super-heroes can be a star for the night and often get in for free.
Do you want to look as good as the smartest girl in the office?
You may not be able to go to work in your finery but the office girl look can be so sexy. While (mostly male) bosses still encourage female staff to “make an effort” and expect a skirt or dress – this may be the image paraded in front of you every day and the image that you want a part of. Nails have to be perfect as they flash across the keyboard in front of you. Stockings keep you fresh, (at least that’s your excuse). They also drives the boys in the office mad with a flash here and there as you go about your business.
Do you want to hold court at the restaurant?
A meal with the girls is the perfect outing. Match the outfit to the style of eatery and the stage is set. Sitting in comfort in those killer heels. You can flirt from table to table.
Do you want to be the sexiest, most sophisticated, most glamourous girl in the shopping mall?
City malls attract the ladies that lunch. Heavy make-up and skirt suits don’t look out of place in the better department stores.
A simple pair of boobs can be made from flesh coloured tights folded into shape and tied into a stocking bag. The knot can be positioned for a nipple. Silicone breast forms are the ‘ultimate feel right falsies’. They feel very real to the touch. You will find a number of suppliers in this TGAtoZ Directory. Slipped into the bra cups these will warm up to your body temperature and move like they are part of you. Wearing a low cut bra that exposes the breast form can ruin this expensive effect, it is best to choose a pretty bra that covers the breast form completely. Alternatively a corset or one piece ‘body’ could provide bra cups which could hold the breast forms. You should consider having breast forms built into a Basque or corset for a strapless outfit. A ‘Wonderbra’ can also do quite amazing things by creating a cleavage from almost nothing. A favourite trick is to use tape from armpit to armpit to create a cleavage. This needs experimentation, beware some tape will stick so firmly that it will tear your skin on removal, avoid this with a small test for a few hours.
2023 update … Due to the growth in the market following Ru Pauls Drag Race. Chinese manufacturers have offered affordable quality “Breast form breast plates” These require a careful choice of size and clothes to disguise the joining lines but look amazing especially in pictures .
Hips and Rear
Fashions have differed in this area over thousands of years. However most women have wider hips and more amply rears than men. You will find specialist pads and padded underwear for the purpose of shaping these areas in this book. Foam shoulder pads, carefully positioned beneath dance tights can also achieve the desired shape. Waist It is rare to find any woman who believes her waist to be small enough and stomach flat enough. If you are not already aware that you “are what you eat” you will be if you aim to feminize your body. Diet will not only effect your shape but also your skin, hair and energy. You will win support from friends and family if you get to grips with diet. However most of us still need help to create a feminine waist, so a good lace up corset may be a necessity. The choice of corset depends on the shape of you and how much bare flesh you are going to leave exposed. You will find many corset suppliers in this book.
It is easy to get passionate about tights and stockings but – if it is not possible to wax or shave the look and the feel is ruined. Dance tights sheer to the waist and with a great deal of lycra in them, are the perfect foundation for the lower half. These tights will smooth out imperfections and are thick enough to hide, with just one layer, hairs and blemishes. Flesh coloured dance tights worn over a flesh coloured dance belt, (the corset can also be worn underneath), to gives the perfect nude image below the waist. Sexy lacy undies, sheer tights or stockings can be worn over this foundation. Now you know the secrets of all the showgirls.
Bringing it all Together
If you have need for all of the above – the breast forms, corset, hip pads, the effect can look like an odd construction kit. (Even through your outer clothes). A firm one piece ‘body’ will helps to bring the whole look together, smoothing out the joins and presenting you with the appearance of wearing just one piece of underwear.
Hiding your “Bits”
How To Hide Your ‘Crown Jewels!’
The first question every one asks “Where is the three-piece suite?” With your legs wide apart, you can gently ease your testicles into the cavities from which they descended they will disappear leaving only the loose scrotum sack. OOH, it doesn’t hurt – really! If you then put your penis back and down between your legs and put your legs together you have…
As we say, in the trade ‘Tucked’ !
The more you do it the more natural it will feel until as you push back your penis the testicles will find their way into the cavities on their own. When you take your knickers off and spread your legs the testicles should drop out into their normal position in the scrotum sack. If they don’t it is because the testicles are a little large for the cavities openings. Gentle pressure on the groin (where the pubic hair grows) will pop them back out. With a bit of practice you will create a flat girly genital area. But please – at your own risk.
(N.B. We know of no evidence to suggest that this practice has any long term detrimental effect from, for example, prostrate cancer. However raising the testes to full body temperature, as they will be in the body cavity, for any length of time will inevitably reduce fertility temporarily. After a period back at the natural body temperature normal levels of fertility will return. There should be no detrimental effect on your ability to get an erection or to orgasm).
Some will tape everything in place. Micropore surgical tape is far preferable to electrical or gaffa tape. Otherwise Suitable panties with a wide gusset hold everything in place. Ordinary knickers generally are not strong enough. A strong panty girdle will hold everything in place. But this will also squeeze the femininity out of your bum. Some bikini bottoms work well. Specialist shops sell a device called a ‘cache sex’ or a special type of underpants called ‘gaffs’. A girls dance belt from a dance wear shop, (not the boys as they are padded), is perfect as it holds all the bits securely, whist leaving the buttocks soft and full. A flesh coloured dance thong under opaque flesh coloured dance tights is perfect. Hip pads can also be worn under the dance tights. Then the fishnets, nylons, and fancy knickers can be worn on top.
Now you know !!!
Shaving full body and face …
Shaving Your Face
You may think you know how to shave your face but as a ‘girl’ you want it REALLY smooth and to last for a long time. Start by holding a flannel soaked in hot water firmly tothe beard area to soften the hair. Take off excess wetness and apply a good layer of shaving foam to allow it to soften the hair. A blade that has been used too many times will drag and be useless on your face. Shave top to bottom with the growth of the hair first. Re-apply a thin layer of shaving foam and shave up against the growth. For the ultimate, shave one more time after smoothing on a good layer of moisturiser, again against the growth. Feel the skin with your other hand, and learn in which direction the hair grows, especially on the neck, so that the final strokes are against the growth. After drying your face always use moisturiser.
In this day and age a toned, hairless male body is desired by many men and women too. Despite the problem of stubble re-growth much the most popular way of keeping the body smooth is to shave. Once experienced you will never want body hair again.
So – Where do you start
First run a bath, not too hot, use some nice bubble bath. Don’t touch the skin for at least three minutes after getting in. The skin goose pimples as the change of temperature. Ater a few minutes it will soften, the pores will open and the soapy water will soften the hairs. You will need a good triple blade razor. If you are shaving for the first time and the hair is long, the razor will clog up immediately. The secret is to keep the razor against the skin and move back and forth in short movements – under water. The back movement will unclog the blade. For the first few shaves some irritation is bound to occur. This irritation diminishes if you shave regularly. When you get into a routine every 2-4 days, the razor only needs to travel in one direction with nice long strokes. The easiest way to do this is by lying on your back in the water and lifting one leg at a time out of the water. Be sure to stretch and position your leg to present as flat an area as possible to the blade. Take care with the back of the ankle and the back of the knees; this is where it is easy to cut your skin. On the front of the leg, point the toe to flatten the shinbone and bend the knee to present the knee as a smooth dome to the blade. Keep the leg and blade wet, and wash the blade regularly. Shaving foam is NOT required. A small amount of ordinary shampoo will help the blade cut smoothly and comfortably. Cut against the growth of the hair and use your other hand to feel for any area missed. The prickly feel of re-growth does diminish after a few months. After drying yourself, moisturise all over with a body lotion. This will stop the skin from drying out and will make you feel silky soft. All other areas of the body can be treated in the same way. One area that is much easier to shave than you might imagine, is the least feminine part (the crack and sack), if you know what I mean.
This may all sound tedious, but with practice the total routine for all areas of the body, can take as little as 15 minutes. Many girls shave legs and underarms everyday or two. It really is worth it.
Everybody has different rates of hair growth but you will probably need to repeat the waxing every four to six weeks. It is true that the term waxing actually makes hair softer. It is possible, depending on the amount of hair, to wax parts of the face. Epilator machines tend to break hairs off and hurt like hell. (No pain no gain!!).
Finding the best shape Eyebrows for you
For some plucking or shaving to achieve the pefect eybrow is not an option…. So I’m going to show you the eyebrow ‘plastic’ technique which masks eyebrows rather than removing them. It involves using a heated product on your skin, so please be careful and good luck.
Step 1 Firstly remember you ‘plastic’ out your eyebrows before you apply foundation and powder. Ensure brows are clean, dry and oil free. Then use an eyebrow comb to ensure hairs are separated.
Step 2 Take your plastic stick and using a small flame (match or lighter), heat the end of the stick until you see the plastic soften (2-3 seconds). Then wait until the plastic forms a fresh skin (around 30 seconds) but is still warm. Push the plastic in to the eyebrows starting from underneath the brows. Pushing it through in the direction of the hair growth. A good tip is to keep the inner upper section of the eyebrows exposed, this will make pencilling your eyebrows back in easier (although you can cover the entire brows if you desire). Repeat this process until eyebrows are flat and smooth.
Step 3 After waiting a few minutes for the plastic to cool, lightly powder. Then apply a coat of sealer (or spirit gum) completely covering flattened area. Allow to dry then lightly powder again.
Step 4 Using a make-up sponge, apply foundation in a patting motion over flattened area (this is an ideal time to do all your foundation). Ensure foundation is smooth before generously powdering.
Step 5 You’re now ready to start your eye make-up. The way you choose to shape, lengthen and arch your eyebrows is pretty much up to you, but you’re probably best keeping them to a fairly natural shape. If you kept the inner upper part of your brows exposed, use this area as a guide and keep to the upper edge of your natural brows. Remember, with your brows raised you can do higher socket definition and false eyelashes look great with plasticised eyebrows. I would recommend an iridescent shadow highlighter directly under the brow. This bounces light around and your new brows will look better close up. Use photograph five for ideas on how to create stunningly dramatic eyes.
To remove eyebrow plastic baby oil is great as it breaks down the plastic. Gently work it through the brows until the plastic is well broken down. Then using a damp , warm flannel wipe away. Repeat if neccesary then cleanse or wash face as normal. Spirit gum remover is also available should any residue remain. Try to be as gentle as you can and avoid getting products in your eyes.
By Pandora De Pledge Image Works
All of the products we have mentioned are available from:
22 Tavistock street,
How To Apply Your Make-Up
Photo 1 Start your makeover by washing your face in the way you would normally and then try to get as close a shave as possible to remove any stubble and facial hair. Moisturise.
Photo 2 Apply your foundation very thickly over the beard and moustache area, making sure to cover every space where facial hair would grow. Start blending the foundation with a make-up sponge, (foam make-up triangles can be bought very cheaply from most chemists or make-up stockists), but do not wipe the foundation around the face. Simply dab and press the foundation on to the face until the surface and appearance is evened out. What is left on the sponge will be adequate to then blend the rest of the face ie the forehead, cheeks, nose etc. Make sure that you cover every millimetre of your face, including the crevices either side of the nose and under the eye. Next you can apply concealer or cover-up stick to the under eye area to cover any dark shadows or blemishes. Gently blend this with your finger, but again do not wipe the make-up away, just pat and blend into the area.
Photo 3 Use your powder GENEROUSLY This is what will set the foundation which you have just applied. Heavily load your powder sponge with powder and then apply to your whole face using a strong patting motion. Make sure that your whole face is covered in powder, then gently brush away the excess powder with a large make-up brush This is your base completed, your face should be like a blank canvas ready to apply definition to.
Photo 4 Pull the skin taut on your face to determine the line of the cheekbone. Then apply a dark bronze blusher in a line along the cheekbone and slightly under. With your blusher brush you can then begin to blend this line with long light strokes, being careful not to blend the blusher up towards the eye area too much. Instead concentrate on blending just either side of the line you have created. Now apply your bronze blusher to the temple areas as this slims the forehead. Also lightly apply the blusher using your brush to the area either side of the nose. Again this makes the nose look thinner and more feminine. You can also apply the blusher lightly along the jaw line to give your profile more definition and slim the lower face.
Photo 5 Next apply, (with an eyeshadow applicator or your finger), white highlighter or white eyeshadow to the area just beneath the brow bone and down to the crevice of the eye socket. Also apply the highlighter to the length of the nose blending with your finger. Again making your nose look thinner and feminine. Next apply the highlighter to the area above the line of blusher that was done on your cheekbone. Blend gently with your blusher to give the area a pearly glow and raise your cheekbone thus accentuating the previous work you have already done on your cheeks. Then take an eyebrow pencil that matches your colouring (usually black or brown) and gently sweep along the length of your eyebrow until they begin to take the colour of the pencil. You can gently train them into a more flattering shape by lightly building areas that may be thinner than others. A good tip is to slightly elongate the brows by adding to the outer edge with your pencil. The key here is to gently enhance what you already have instead of thickly drawing on a new pair of eyebrows which are difficult to get even and can quite often look messy.
Photo 6 Take a liquid eyeliner or kohl pencil and draw a fine line very close to the lashes from the inner part of the eyelid to the outer, (thickening the line slightly towards the outside edge). Next deepen your brow bone, (the natural crease between your eyelid and eyebrows), using a brown eyeshadow, being careful not to over do It (sometimes less is more!) Make sure the outer edge of the brow bone line meets the outside edge of the top line eyeliner Blend gently with a cotton-bud stick.
Photo 7 Using Kohl pencil or liquid eyeliner draw a fine line from the outer edge very close to your lashes, about two thirds of the way along the bottom part of your eyelid Soften line with a cotton-bud stick.
Photo 8 Apply false eyelashes by putting a thin layer of the glue on the rim, (which normally comes with the eyelashes). Hold the eyelashes in the centre by the tips using your finger and thumb. Then place the lash middle point over the middle of the eye and gently place on the eyelid. Keep as close to your own eyelashes as possible. Firmly hold the eyelash in place with your fingertip for a couple of seconds and keep the eye closed. After about thirty seconds open your eye. Next blend your own eyelashes together with the false eyelashes by using a light application of mascara. Take the mascara wand and gently push your own eyelashes up towards the false eyelashes. Then gently touch your lower lashes with the mascara wand as you did with your upper eyelashes.
Photo 9 Outline your lips with a lip pencil, usually a shade darker than the lipstick that you wish to wear. Try not to draw outside of your own natural lip line as this can look very un-natural and obvious try to use one long stroke of the pencil, from the corner of the mouth to the middle and then repeat on the other side
Photo 10 Fill the lips with your chosen lipstick direct onto the lips (or a lip brush). Blend the lip line that you have already drawn with the lip brush but do not go over the outer edge of the line It is best to blend the line inward on the lips rather than outward and over the lip line. Blot over the lipstick with more of your loose powder until the lips are matt and dry Gently brush away the excess powder with your large powder brush.
Reapply lipstick and As a finishing touch add a dab of your white highlighter in the middle of your lower lip.
Then The Stunning End Result !!
With grateful thanks to Jodie
Model : Rob to Allison Photography by Academy Studios
Make-up by Pandora De Pledge.
Wigs and Hair extensions
Wigs & Hair Extensions
Hair is probably the most important feature that distinguishes gender difference especially at this time when the fashion for men’s hair styles are so very short. The most obvious way to experiment with your image is to wear wigs.
Wigs can totally change your appearance. Many people like this total change. Wigs come in many styles, colours and qualities, you really do need to try them on to get the one(s) to suit and fit you best. Real hair wigs are much more expensive than monofibre and are much harder to look after needing a good understanding of styling techniques. When choosing a wig, ask yourself whether you want a natural daytime or a big glamourous evening look. Women make the most of hair for special occasions by styling it, but wigs come ready styled and are difficult to tame for day wear and a glam wig worn during the day will make you stand out in a crowd. Most longer wigs will look more natural if some hair is pinned, clipped or tied up. Wigs can be cut and styled to flatter the shape of your face. Lace front wigs appear (at least from a distance) as if the hair is growing from your scalp. These are designed for the stage to allow hair to be swept up off the face. These used to be very expensive but recently a number of manufacturers have brought out reasonably priced ready to wear wigs with lace fronts. So be bold and have a good chat with the girls in the hair salons and wig shops.
Many well known people use wigs all the time. UK soap stars Barbara Windor is a real study with the various styles she uses as Peggy at the ‘Vic’ to a glam look for a celebrity interview. Cher makes it obvious that she uses wigs by changing not only style but also colour all in one show. Wigs can be great fun and can help you create character or period looks whether you want to look like a young pop queen like Britney Spears or historical queen like Marie Antoinette.
Most synthetic wigs can be stored tucked away in a bag. Real hair wigs, however, need to be kept on a wig stand to avoid losing the styling. Most wigs are styled during manufacture and will return to shape simply by shaking out prior to putting them on and then gently fingering them into shape. You should avoid over-brushing and combing which quickly damages wigs. Men generally do no more than comb or brush their hair. Watch women – they use their fingers to tease and style. This is also the way to handle your wigs. Some styles will benefit from the use of mousse, spray and leave-in conditioners. Initially ask the advice of a wig shop or hairdresser.
Your wigs will need washing and conditioning. Serious mistakes can be made whilst washing wigs. It is recommended to brush the wig through before washing and then submerge in cool water (NEVER hot) with either a special wig shampoo or a fabric detergent, (remember your wig is actually plastic the same as your acrylic clothing). Leave to soak and then rinse first in clean water then soak in clean water with a generous amount of fabric conditioner. Wrap the wig in a towel to absorb the majority of water, give it a good shake holding it at the back of the neck, before putting it on a wig stand to dry completely and before teasing it with a wide toothed comb. Alternatively ask a wig shop or hairdresser to wash and re-style your wig. Then carry it home on the wig stand inside a box. There is hardly a wig shop anywhere that does not welcome male / tranny customers.
*Many Wig shops can be found by looking in our TG AtoZ Directory on this website*
The length or thickness of your hair need not hold you back from achieving the head of hair you desire. Victoria Beckham changes the length of her hair from week to week with extensions. Extensions can be attached by a number of methods and some are better than others. Monofibre is cheaper than real hair. None are cheap. Depending on the bonding technique the process can thicken and lengthen your own hair.
Hair Removal & Laser Treatment
Any hair removal method has to work around the fact that it is only during the Anagen stage of growth that the follicle can be neuteralised. Typically only 10% of hair follicles are in this phase at any one time and the growth period is different for each individual is different. Talk about a moving target.
How Lasers Work
The laser seeks to use the concentration of pigment (Melanin) in the hair shaft to absorb the laser light and thereby damaging the follicles ability to regenerate hairs with heat. Meanwhile the laser must be able to pass harmlessly through the other tissue components.
The Laser Process Is Not Easy Or Without Risk
It is very hard to hit the hair root (dermal papilla) repeatedly and accurately, since the laser beam is only one to several thousandths of an inch in diameter. In many cases, the laser can destroy tissue around the follicle. Debris such as blackheads, whiteheads and oil can keep the light from reaching the root. Similarly a curved or distorted follicle may obstruct the laser light. In these cases, the laser will not hit the hair root but will singe the hair at the surface, or glance off the side of the follicle wall. When any of the above happen, some minor scarring can occur.
The greatest risk with lasers is permanent eye damage, which increases with the higher-class lasers. Severe skin burns can also be caused by laser light. The clinic should provide protective eyewear (which is suitable for the wavelengths used). In the USA this is mandatory.
Laser – Not For Every One
A number of factors will effect the result of the treatment.
Hair Colour – There must be a good concentration of colour in the hair to absorb the laser light the laser light will not be absorbed by grey, white or blond hair.
Skin Colour – Coloured skin contains so much pigment that the laser light is absorbed in the skin and not the hair.
Hair Condition – The hair needs to be just visible on the surface of the skin. The shorter and coarser the hair is the better the treatment works.
Medication – Some medication can cause photosensitivity of the skin, these include some antibiotics, blood pressure, heart tablets and Premarin. These medications do not exclude patients from treatment but need to be discussed in detail by patient and clinician.
Hormone Levels – It appears that those with higher ‘female’ hormone levels respond faster to total elimination.
Because of the combination of all these factors it is very hard to follow recommendations from others who have received treatment, as every one will have a different experience.
Use Of Lasers Is Regulated
In the UK the Local Health Authority will supply details of the registered clinics and the lasers that they use. This registration covers the safety aspect of the use of lasers but does not have any bearing on the effectiveness of the treatment. As a condition of the registration, treatment may only be carried out with the authorisation of the clinic doctor, and by a trained laser clinician. The certificate of registration and the clinicians training certificate must be displayed.
Areas To Consider When Approaching A Clinic
Is the above advice and explanation freely provided? Are consultations free? Is the clinic registered with the health authorities? Which laser machine is used? Who will operate the equipment and therefore carry out the treatment and are they trained? What arrangement for test is suggested? Is the correct eye protection provided? Does the clinic welcome and understand the special needs of transgendered clients? Can you bring a friend? Even after getting positive answers to these questions you are bound to feel vulnerable it is important that you have trust and confidence in the clinic and the clinician. They should be aware of this and should be supportive in providing the clinicians background experience and commitment. Before full treatment any good practitiioner should insist on patch tests to gauge skin reaction and probable success rate.
Laser Treatment Is Not Proven Permanent
Some trials record patients that have not experienced re-growth in four years. However for legal reasons the manufacturers of these relativly new machines are unable to class the process, (or advertise the process), as permanent with current records.
Vicky Lee’s own Laser Facial Hair Removal
Why did I choose laser? I had tried electrolysis but as I work so many hours I felt that one day a month was less intrusive than weekly electrolysis. I knew that laser would not clear my white hair (which was maybe 30% of my growth) and that I might move on to electrolysis for this after laser.
Over the last few years – talk of “painless”, fast, miracle laser treatment, for removing facial hair has been talked about a lot. During 1998 I compared articles and manufactures details (particularly from the USA). I have also talked to many people who had tried the treatment here and in the states.
Many sources of information conflict, but overall I found Chris Hart at Cristianos Laser Clinic gave the most consistent and complete answers and advice. In the seventh edition of The Tranny Guide I felt (at last) confident to run an article on my findings and in March 99 I embarked on a course of treatment myself.
Overall after a year I have been thrilled by the results. The boost to my confidence has been amazing. By the third treatment I was able to change my foundation to a much lighter brand and I was no longer worried about rubbing my make-up off in public.
The treatment has led (for me), to a surprisingly greater effect which I will describe in detail. Suffice to say at this point that I know I am more “left of centre”, (that is closer to fully transsexual), than I had previously accepted. The following is my diary as I look back over the year.
With the Chromos 694machine I understand that treatment at less than 15 joules per centimetre square of flesh is ineffective. The best results are achieved at 20 Jcm2, However not every body can cope with the discomfort at this setting.
My test patch was at 17 Jcm2 and my treatment was between 18.5 and 20 Jcm2. Through a discreet cobbled mews I approached the Laser Clinic, after a three-hour drive from London to Manchester. The smart modern rooms shared the facility of a group of businesses. Chris and Sue in smart white uniforms made me feel most at ease. In fact they had me in stitches of laughter (but that’s not difficult – especially when I am nervous).
A consultation consisted of Chris studying my stubble, (which was just visible after one days growth, as advised over the phone). I was lucky my hair was dark and my skin light with no tan and I was not under any medication. However due to my age I have about 20% white hair which will not absorb the heat of the laser and therefore will not be treated.
I had thought that if the treatment worked for me I would take it step by step whenever I wanted to, or felt I could afford it. However it was soon clear that this was not the right approach as Chris spent a long time explaining to me how hairs grow and the treatment has to be “managed”.
Chris explained If she “zapped” the hairs with the laser most of the dark hairs would be destroyed. However only 10% of the hairs are growing in their follicles (anagen stage) at any one time. Other follicles will be empty (between telagon and anagen stages) and some will have hairs but they are not growing (catagen stage). Most of the destroyed hairs will fall out over the next few weeks, but ONLY the hairs growing will be gone for good. At some time in the future the follicles not growing a hair, or without a hair, will start to grow a new hair. It may take some months before that happens.
Chris told me for long term results I need to commit to a routine of a treatment every 4 – 5 weeks (NOT more and not less) therefore allowing us to know what the follicles are doing and catching them systematically as they start to grow. I could then expect to clear the whole face within on average 10 treatments – IF I could cope with the discomfort of treating the whole face each visit.
Chris’s charges, flexibility of her care, and the management of each case are just some of the reasons that I had chosen her service (despite the 6-7 hours drive and the loss of a complete day to each treatment). The other reason is that she uses the Chromos 694 machine which, I believe, has currently the best reputation, clinical trial results and technical match to the job.
For her fee Chris covers the whole process of freezing up with ice packs and taking breaks if necessary. It IS uncomfortable (but not as bad as electrolysis). Some people can’t take too much, without taking a break. I have seen Chris give one client a break, with cooling ice packs, while she alternates with another client.
From those that have been to other clinics I have heard that a half-hour (or hour) treatment may be just that and sometimes includes freezing up, leaving less time for laser shots. If the discomfort is too much then breaks become lost time. Of course this ‘up against the clock’ level of care may not allow enough time to cover the whole face, leaving little control over the management of the hairs growth cycles.
Time for action – After exfoliation protective goggles and a good freeze up with ice packs – Chris made 122 shots at 17Jcm2, to the side of my neck. Her pen like tool has to be at right angle to the skin, as she aims a green spot of light the size of a penny. A metal probe touches the skin near by, to set the distance of the laser from the skin. Then ZAP � the red laser replaces the green light and the smell of burning hair accompanies the shock. She overlaps a series of circles leaving no hair untouched. This was my patch test and as I had come so far this was done in the morning to allow a good 3-4 hours to see what reaction I had. I was lucky no unexpected skin reaction. I returned to the table for another 844 shots (966 in total).
At the end of this session I wondered what kind of loony I was. I felt that I could not touch my skin (which was not the case – it just felt that way). In the car I had the air vents on cold, blowing at my face AND the windows open all the way home. The smell of burning hair in my nostrils stayed with me for about three days. I had allowed two days before I had to shave and make-up. When I did, I felt that (although looking and feeling OK) my skin was like that of an orange and that the blade could not get at the hair. The black hairs although singed off down to the skin had started to move out of the follicle and looked blacker than ever. My white hairs of course just grew as before. A layer of Dermablend got me through the night (just).
It was a full 5 days before my skin calmed down smoothed out and I could shave properly. The next few days left me feeling the whole thing was a waste of time until 17 days after the treatment. It was a Monday morning and as I looked in the mirror I was amazed. WOW – There were large bald areas with no dark hair – a very significant result.
8/4/99 – My second visit 903 shots. As Chris froze me she explained that I must NOT let my face tan at all. She advised high factor sun cream at ALL times. Her arm had caught the sun that week and she shot her arm with the laser. By the time I left a burn the size of a penny had developed on her arm. I didn’t need telling again, just imagine that all over your face. Later in the year I was to catch a bit of a tan on one side of my neck which left me looking like a leopard for 10 days – the burnt skin exfoliated away, but fears of skin cancer in my old age plagued my mind. More care with the factor 30 sun cream in the future.
5/5/99 – My third visit 729 shots at 20 Jcm2. Yes less shots as there were less black hairs to aim at and each shot was less fierce (less painful) as there were less black hairs in each circle. This time on my WOW day I was really stunned after two weeks of recovery, my skin was looking great. Just a few small areas remain stubborn notably (in my case) on one side just under my chin. Not only was the dark hair GONE but the skin was softer and smoother. (The white hairs were soft. I had to shave by feel as I could not see them). Friends commented at how healthy and glowing I look. This was almost as good as it could get – I had tasted Nirvana and this was when the Transsexual effect took hold.
I was experiencing something new. For example at the bank counter wearing trousers, tee shirt and NO make-up the clerk called me Mrs (my paperwork is gender free). Many people did the same. Previously even in a skirt and make-up, for years, most people recognise me as a tranny and show it by the way they refer to me. Now it is only when I speak that they look shocked and realise (their mistake). This I find leaves me a little embarrassed for them so now I am working harder to modulate my voice. However after years of public exposure, (all be it from beneath a layer of Dermablend), my confidence has gone through the roof following the first three treatments.
2/6/99 – My fourth visit 738 shots at 20 Jcm2. On arrival Chris studied my face and said “OK as expected new follicle growth, good, that means they are growing and when I zap them I get most of them for good”. Seven more times and each time we will catch the new follicle growth, which will become less and less. I was surprised even though I thought I understood the cycles, I had thought I had been LUCKY and that I had managed a quick (and cheap) result.
I realised that I needed to commit to ten treatments 10% X 10 treatments = 100% cleared – IF my visits are regular enough to get the hairs when they are growing. I realised I needed to commit to a cycle of :-
1 – Treatment
2 – Five to seven days of rough skin that is hard to shave and is hard to cover with make-up
3 – My wow day about 10 to 15 days after treatment.
4 – About two weeks of ecstasy – days of little make-up and super skin.
5 – In the last few days of the month some new follicle growth.
It was not until this the 4th visit that I fully understood the commitment that I had to make. (Of course the alternative with electrolysis is many more visits and many days growing hair long enough to grab hold of with tweezers). As we booked the next session in the diary I looked forward and realised how much this was going to effect the rest of my year. I had hoped for a three-week trip to America but realised that this would be hard to arrange.
5/7/99 – My fifth visit 714 shots at 18.5 Jcm2. I explained to Chris how I have found it hard to take the ups and downs of emotion between the thrill of being clear of facial hair and the week of recovery after each treatment. I guess that is because I am impatient. These emotions are also coloured by the fact that as the process is relatively new – it takes a leap of faith to believe that the total process will be permanent (or at the least need little maintenance). It has been a struggle to stop my face tanning, as I tan easily.
However the biggest experience has been rationalising why I am putting myself through all this. I lay on the table enjoying the pain – knowing I am working towards a goal – but what is that goal and why is it important to me? The conclusion is somehow scary and exciting all at the same time. I conclude I am “left of centre” more towards the transsexual end of the scale than I had previously accepted. This takes me to a different level of explanation and requires a new level of acceptance (or again potential rejection) by my loved ones.
I know that Chris gives time to listen to all of her clients and is so patient with our fears, which of course for the trangendered, carry so many extra facets. (I can’t believe that all clinics can offer as much empathy).
8/8/99 – My sixth visit 760 shots at 19.5 Jcm2. Chris explains that she finds that the top lip is the most stubborn area. For those that live close enough she offers to zap their top lip Inbetween treatments (at no charge). As I can’t make these extra visits – she offers to zap my top lip (and my stubborn under chin area) twice over. The top lip hurts the most and to do it twice really takes some endurance.
7/9/99 – My seventh visit 790 shots at at 18 Jcm2. Limited new follicle growth. The skin repairs itself much faster.
5/10/99 – My eighth visit 631 shots at 19.5 Jcm2. At this point I am virtually clear of dark hair and new follicle growth is negligible. As each shot is only hitting a few dark hairs the pain is much reduced. The skin returns to normal colour by the next morning and the skin feels fine.
9/11/99 – My ninth visit 507 shot at 20 Jcm2. Less shots and each shot only finding a few new hairs. This visit felt more painful but I put that down to being run down and very tired. We have planned for me to have one more treatment in December and then leave it for a few months to see what new follicle growth occurs. I expect over the next few years that I will need to have a few treatments as new follicle growth may occur. However for me this is not too important as I still have to shave the white hairs and the main objective of removing the dark shadow is complete.
Please note :- I paid full price for my treatment. No concessions or favours were made because of my journalistic position. During my visits to the clinic I have met many others that have been at different stages in their treatment. ALL have talked of similar experiences. One client I met had a particularly stubborn top lip after 10 treatments despite very good results everywhere else. Chris insisted that as long as this client could make the visits, she would treat the top lip for free, “I am not letting it get the best of me” she said. After my third visit a transsexual friend who has lived many years as a woman, started travelling with me for her treatment. Her experience has closely matched mine.
Most recent correspondence with others here and in America have all of us in agreement that even more important than the choice of equipment is the choice of management and care.
There are many clinics offering laser hair removal. Some of those that especially welcome transgendered customers are listed in this TGAtoZ Directory. There are many machines offered (and new ones are being developed). I have had successful reports from others that have been treated with other machines. Every person will have a personal experience dependent on hair colour, skin colour, pain threshold, personal commitment, choice of clinic, and machine. This has been my experience. I just wish I could have done the whole thing ten years ago when ALL my hair was dark. I know that I would now have NO facial hair and this really would feel like a miracle.
Vicky’s Lee’s conclusion
Only time will tell if I have experienced the future of hair removal. I expect to need a touch up with the laser from time to time. Chris Hart will probably adjust her expectations and pricing to more exactly match the client through her growing TG experience.
I need white hair removed which currently can only be achieved with electrolysis. I would choose to engage a pratitioner like Sara or Erica who’s hours of hands on experience and proven results I would trust with or without a computer.
In the USA I know that new (laser like) machines are being offered to work on white hairs and darker skin.
To Summerise What Has Happened Since
I knew the theory is that only 10% of the hair follicles on my face would be in the ‘Anagen’ stage of the growth cycle. I therefore expected a minimum of 10 treatments to clear my face. I paid ‘Cristianos Clinic’ £200 per treatment with the promise that if 10 treatments did not clear the growth further treatments would not be charged. (This is exactly the same promise made to all clients). After I wrote the report I went on to a total of 11 treatments after which I deliberately took a 3 month break. This was a good period with very little black hair. With no beard shadow even without make-up. (I was being called Miss and Madam everywhere I went). The condition of my skin has never been better. However after the break I had a sprinkling all over of black hair again (but definitely no where near as thick as ‘new growth’ not re-growth. I have had 4 more treatments since and the black hair is now virtually eliminated. Obviously I am disappointed that 10 treatments did not ‘do it’ for me and of course the clinic would hope not to have to give 4 extra treatments for free. Right now I have to say I am thrilled with the results. I could not have been treated with more care, patience and consideration. I consider Christ Hart a good friend as many of her clients do.
Chris Hart at Cristianos Laser Clinic
Downs Court, 29 The Downs, Altringham, Cheshire.
Also at: Earls Court Clinic, London, SW5
Tel: 0161 929 5560 or 07932 786534