Meet the beauty brand changing the lives of trans people through make-up

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Elizabeth Bennett
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London brush brand Kohl Kreatives are on a mission to ensure everyone can benefit from the confidence-boosting powers of make-up. 

As any beauty fan can testify, make-up is a powerful tool for self-expression and an extension of your personal style. However, for trans people and those in the process of transitioning, make-up has the ability to be particularly empowering when it comes to shaping and expressing a new identity.

Mastering make-up can be challenging for all of us but seeking help and advice when your a trans person can be problematic. Luckily, change is afoot. US-based Sephora announced a new initiative earlier this month that aims to provide a safe space for trans people to discover make-up. The store confirmed that they would be hosting interactive make-up workshops to share knowledge and help build confidence. Likewise, here in the UK, East London-based make-up brand, Kohl Kreatives now offer a similar service.

Founded by make-up artist Trishna Daswaney, Kohl Kreatives is a beauty company with a difference. Giving back is at the heart of what they do, and through their charity arm, Kohl Cares, they offer free make-up consultancy to transitioning transgender people wanting to learn how to construct and reconstruct their faces using make-up. Funded thanks to their Shape Collection, all profits from the sales of this range go straight to the initiative. 

Daswaney discovered first hand the transformative power of make-up when she struggled with her own confidence growing up as a result of being bullied. “I first discovered coloured eyeliner. While it didn’t make that much of a difference physically, I felt like a completely different person,” Daswaney explained.

This early realisation led to her career as a make-up artist, and became the impetus for starting her own brand and it’s charity led ethos. “Your appearance has a huge impact on your everyday. I created the brand and consultancy to help people feel amazing and learn the make-up techniques that prolong that feeling,” she added.

The brand run their workshops in a variety of venues from support groups to mental health facilities, and their open to anyone at any stage of their transition. In particular, young people at the beginning of their journey. “With under 18s nationwide, they have no ready access to hormones so make-up is the only way to achieve the way they feel internally, externally,” Daswaney pointed out.

The sessions involve skincare tutorials for pre and post HRT skin and tips and tricks for facial feminisation and masculinisation. “We always visit more than once making sure that we are able to build on techniques over time giving them more confidence in their skills,” Daswaney said.

When Stylist spoke to Addison Evans, a non-binary Kohl Kreative client from Oxfordshire, they shared how the service had impacted them. “My experience was very empowering at a time when I was first learning how I wanted to express myself as a transgender and non-binary person. Realising that taking control of my appearance, for my benefit and expression and without having to tick a box on specific gender attributes, was an important step mentally as it was physically,” Evans told us.

Shop the Shape Collection here

Main image: Kohl Kreative