Have you ever written something and then regretted it? The complicated emotions I speak of in this article no longer trouble me, and I find the passage embarrassing. The easy thing would be to delete it. But so many of you have written to thank me for writing it that it doesn't seem right. These are, by far, the most popular paragraphs I have ever written. I don't go through it now, but I haven't forgotten the pain and confusion of my early transitional days. So if they help you, I'm happy about it. Please feel free to skip over them and move on to the practical part, which is extensively revised. I think it is a pretty good guide to removing makeup.
Dealing with Your Emotions
You're home after your session, date, fetish ball, or walk around the town, and it's time to change back. It's not just about removing makeup and taking off your dress. When you are confused and unsure, changing back to your daily persona can be painful.
After a session, Dom de Luxury encouraged me to sleep without changing and wake up as a woman. As a practical matter, this is a bad idea. It's bad for your skin and hard on your breast forms. But it's not about that. Like all her guidance, it's about your heart and your mind. Your emotions when you wake up and see someone different can tell you a lot about yourself. Are you happy? Embarrassed? Do you wish you looked like that every time you woke up? I recommend you do it at least a few times. Waking up in a new body in a new body in a situation you've been in thousands of times as your old self is powerful and instructive. It's a good way to find out who you are.
When I awoke, I would run to the mirror. I try to see the man in that strange, beautiful woman looking back at me. I can't find him and do not want her to leave. I delay as long as I can before I force myself to return to my ordinary male existence. As I did it, sadness and longing overwhelmed me. I looked in the mirror again, and she was gone. I was back to the self-loathing that had been mine for a lifetime.
But that sadness and longing told me who I am. Now I am more often a woman, 24x7. The emotions will stop being painful and become more positive and much more intense. That's when you know who you are and where you belong.
But you still need to take off your makeup.
The Practical Part
Let me begin with a correction: The first version of this article recommended Ponds Cold Cream and makeup wipes. I have come to view makeup wipes with fear and loathing. I have tried endless brands, and none of them work. They are not very good at removing makeup, leaving my skin red and raw from rubbing. They are also costly. Do not use makeup wipes.
The problem is that makeup is oil, and oil and water do not mix. If you take a glass of water and pour a little oil into it, you will see the oil and water separate into distinct, unmixed layers. You can stir it, and it may appear to create a mixture. But when the agitation of the water subsides, oil and water will once again sort themselves out into separate layers. Water is a polar molecule, and oil is a non-polar molecule, and these two groups do not mix. Water alone is not going to be an effective makeup remover.
The Oil Solution
A fundamental principle in chemistry is "like dissolves like." Since makeup is oily, the oil will remove makeup, and some people use oil. Mineral and olive oil are popular, but any oil will work. I find mineral oil is icky, and using olive oil is a waste of something good to eat. The problem with using any oil is that now you have oil on your face! Water still won't remove that! The oil-using crowd likes this. They feel the oil moisturizing their face. I'm not judging. If it works for you, that's fantastic. I don't particularly appreciate how it feels.
Surfactants are fancy molecules that have a polar end and a non-polar end. They look a little like sperm:
The polar end loves water, and the non-polar end hates it so that a surfactant can bind to oil and water simultaneously! That's a handy property for cleaning off your makeup! Any truly effective makeup cleanser will have surfactants as a primary ingredient. So it comes down to: which surfactants? Surfactants can be harsh; you want gentle ones.
Cold cream has been the traditional method for removing makeup for at least 100 years. I used Pond's cold cream, which has a long beauty and theatrical makeup history. It contains lots of oil and a small amount of surfactant. In cold cream, the surfactants are there to hold the cream together, not for cleansing. The oil does all the work. You must wash off cold creams, which don't remove all makeup. So if you use cold cream, you still need other products. Too many steps and harsh products have forced me to abandon this method. But it works, and unlike most makeup removers, it is inexpensive.
France has hard water, which is terrible for your skin. Bioderma invented micellar water to address this problem. They wanted to create a makeup remover that would remove makeup but be so gentle you didn't need to wash it off. Micellar water contains the highest quality water (it is so pure it can be injected) and extremely gentle surfactants. Depending on the version of Micellar water, it may contain other ingredients. It has become one of the most popular makeup products globally and is my current method of choice.
There are different varieties of Micellar water available from many different manufacturers. I haven't tried them all, so I don't have a specific recommendation. Most are very inexpensive. Some target specific skin types, so if you have oily or dry skin, factor that into your decision. I find the hydrating products work best for me, but choose the one that fits you.
You must use Micellar water with cotton pads. This is important! Cotton is polar, so the surfactants' heads attach themselves to it, leaving their oil-loving tails waving in the sky, ready to hook onto the makeup on your face! (That's how I think of it.) It won't work if you apply it with your hands or a tissue. Wet the cotton pad with the Micellar water and wipe off the makeup. Avoid rough cotton pads. Be good to your skin!
Pro Tip: Micellar is fantastic for repairing mistakes and is one of the reasons it is so popular with pro-Makeup artists. Just wet the tip of a cotton swab with Micellar water and fix your mistake. You can re-apply makeup right over the area you just cleaned. No additional treatment is needed!
Problems with Micellar Water
While the surfactants in Micellar water are very mild, some people have bad reactions to them. If you are one of these people, you should clean your skin immediately afterward or try another cleanser type.
What's a Micelle?"Some of you are probably wondering what a micelle is. When you add enough surfactants to water, the hydrophobic tails attract each other and form into little balls. The water-loving heads end up on the outside of the balls, and the water-hating tails are on the inside. These balls are "micelles."
There are oil-based cleansers that are easier to wash off than cold creams or pure oils. I have no experience with these, but many people use them. If Micellar water doesn't work for you, these might. Some popular products are Neutrogena Body Oil, Neutrogena Makeup Remover Balm, and DHC Deep Cleansing oil. There are many others. I've never used any of them. My understanding is that they also require an extra cleanser step.
There's more to do!
Now that the makeup is gone, you must take care of your skin. For more information about skincare, check out my Skincare Series! Have a nice day. Even if you look the same outside, you're always changing. That's a good thing! Let me know how it is going for you.