Paris Lees

What It Feels Like for a Girl

Little girls are made of sugar and spice but transgender women consist of rather pricier ingredients...

I recently had a friend over for a beauty session, a frequent event at my house, and I asked her: Do you pamper yourself often? No, she said, you can’t exfoliate if you can’t afford exfoliator. And she’s right: sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. But it is almost always expensive.

No wonder girls shop-lift. It’s something of a female rite of passage round my hometown. Girls (and boys) pop into Boots makeup-less, penniless and empty-pocketed, and emerge bulging-pocketed, thieving, fledgling women. Then you mature and stop stealing, aside from the odd eye-liner, when you can’t be bothered to queue, and you spend the rest of your life repaying Boots. I think Boots knows the score. Boots the drug-dealer, lurking on your local high street, slipping you a few freebies until you’re hooked. And makeup addiction, I tell you, is one of the worst to crack – including crack. I smoked crack, once, and never again. I also tried Maybelline Watershine Diamonds lip gloss and I’m afraid I was instantly addicted.

Full makeover also requires Touché Éclat, Yves Saint Laurent’s classic concealer, at £25. Vichy Dermablend foundation, £15.50 at Boots, covers stubble for those trans women who lack the thousands of pounds needed for laser hair removal. For lashes, try Clinique’s High Impact Mascara, £14.40 at John Lewis; for rosy cheeks, Laura Mercier Shimmer Block, £31 at House of Fraser. These commonly used cosmetics, mascara, concealer and foundation, are worth spending on as brands pump money into researching and creating ever-improved versions. It’s a competitive, lucrative market.

Removal, thankfully, costs less. Superdrug cotton pads are £1.69 and Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Make-Up Remover retails at £3.39. Moisturiser is another couple of quid. As Dolly says, it costs a lot to look this cheap. But anyway, you’re worth it, right – it’s all worth it? Well, yes, if you’re lucky, the investment will pay off and you’ll be able to walk down the street without being called a tranny. And that, of course, is priceless.


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