For years, how beauty products are marketed has defined what many consumers deem ideal or inspirational and, more often than not, beauty products and trends are imagined on thin, white, cisgendered people. Yet as a new decade approaches, what constitutes beauty is changing. It is no longer standardised.
The Government Equalities Office tentatively estimates that there are approximately 200,000-500,000 trans people in the UK but when it comes to beauty, trans people have not been truly visible, for example in global advertisements or on brand Instagram feeds – until now. When trans model and activist, Teddy Quinlivan was tapped by Chanel Beauty for a major campaign earlier this year, it signalled positive change for the trans community. "I am the first openly trans person to work for the house of Chanel and I am deeply humbled and proud to represent my community," Teddy wrote on Instagram. "This [is] a victory that made all of [the] shit worth it."
Great strides have also been made by Illamasqua in particular, which has started to use gender inclusive language in its Instagram captions. Non-gendered makeup lines are on the rise, too, for example Jecca Makeup and Fluide, and transgender models are featured more by major brands. Take Lady Gaga’s promotional video for her global beauty brand, Haus Laboratories.
The beauty industry as a whole seems to be working towards broader beauty standards and genuine inclusivity, but the transgender community is still marginalised in its mainstream. While buying and using beauty products may seem one of the lesser challenges faced by transgender people on a daily basis, talking to a number of trans women proved their appearance and how they present themselves to the world forms a key part of their identity. It can serve as a tool for self-expression, experimentation, empowerment and more.
Ahead, five trans women share the poignant beauty moments that shaped their transitions.