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New cosmetics target consumers across gender spectrum

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Every morning Lidia Brown applies her “war paint.” It consists of sparkly black eyeliner, a dab of pink lip gloss and a smear of BB cream. It has been a year since she began her gender transition, and the New York University sophomore said makeup helps her feel more comfortable in her own skin.

Brown is part of a growing number of transgender, gender-nonconforming and male-identified people who are seeking out gender-inclusive makeup products, and companies — both old and new — are responding to their demand.

Four makeup products from Foremen. Foremen's products are designed for cisgender men.
Four makeup products from Foremen. Foremen’s products are designed for cisgender men. Courtesy of Andrew Foreman

About 30 percent of Generation Z “beauty consumers indicate that they have used a genderless beauty product,” according to Lauren Goodsit, a global beauty analyst at market research company Mintel.

“The younger generation is both tolerant and open-minded. Their values and attitudes pave the way for a new wave of brands that are inclusive of both men and women,” Goodsit told NBC News.

While a number of legacy brands are using their marketing campaigns to usher in gender-inclusivity, several new makeup brands are launching products specifically targeting transgender women, gender-nonconforming people and cisgender (non-transgender) men.

New York-based beauty brand Fluide, which launched in January 2018, offers “makeup for all gender expressions, gender identities and skin tones,” according to its website. Its mission statement asserts the company was “created with the belief that makeup is a tool of transformation and a powerful means of self-actualization.”

Among Fluide’s models is gender-nonconforming advocate and writer Jacob Tobia, who sports a full face of makeup and a visible 5 O’Clock shadow on the company’s website.

Fluide co-founder Laura Kraber said her company “wants to evolve the mainstream conception of beauty by promoting positive self-image.”

Across the pond, London-based makeup artist Jessica Blackler, 21, launched the first makeup line in the U.K. specifically targeted to the transgender community.

Blackler said she was inspired to create JECCA Makeup in 2017 due to the “crazy” amount of social media requests she received from transgender people across the U.K. asking for makeup tips.

“Many wanted to know how to do eyeshadow or how to hide beard stubble,” Blackler said.

A 2017 campaign featuring JECCA's Correct and Conceal Palette.
A 2017 campaign featuring JECCA’s Correct and Conceal Palette.Courtesy of Jecca Blackler

First she started offering makeup lessons to trans women to help with some of their unique makeup concerns, but then she decided to go a step further and create products specifically for the community.

JECCA Makeup can be used by anyone, but Blackler said its Correct and Conceal Palette, which retails for $24, was specifically formulated by chemists to banish the blue-green undertones that result from facial hair shadows. According to Blackler, her peach-toned palette is the first concealer in the U.K. market to tackle this common issue faced by many in the trans community.

Andrew Grella, founder of Canadian makeup company Formen, said his makeup line is created by men for men. In an interview with NBC News, Grella said he wanted to fill a gap in the beauty market, a market overwhelmingly catered to the beauty needs of cisgender women.

Since launching in 2015, Grella said that his online sales have increased by 200 percent.

Andrew Grella, CEO of Foremen Makeup, has makeup applied underneath his eyes.
Andrew Grella, CEO of Foremen Makeup, has makeup applied underneath his eyes.Courtesy of Andrew Foreman

While many men and women share similar beauty issues, Foremen said his products are engineered to tackle skin issues unique to cisgender men. Foreman’s $35 Invisible Blotting Powder attempts to “control excess oil that accumulate on the face.” Men sweat twice as much as women, according to The International Dermal Institute.

When asked about the unique skin needs of cisgender men, University of Miami dermatologist Dr. Shasa Hu said “most men have a higher density of sebaceous (sweat) glands and produce more oil than women.” This, she said, means that when men apply foundation, they might have a harder time making the foundation last due to overactive sweat glands.

While a number of legacy beauty companies — like L’Oreal, Mac and Covergirl — have used marketing to show their gender-inclusivity, a few have done so through products. For example, Tom Ford has a concealer for men; Clinique has a men’s face bronzer; and Calvin Klein sells “manscara.”

The global male grooming market is currently estimated to be worth $21 billion a year, and it is expected to reach $29 billion by 2024, according to market research company Statista.

When it comes to makeup, not everyone is convinced there is a need for different products based on one’s gender identity or gender expression. Among them is Paul Heaton, owner of U.K.-based makeup and styling studio Born, which specializes in “trans beauty and feminization.”

“There is no difference in the makeup I use on my clients than any cisgendered woman would use,” Heaton said. “I use a mix of high-end brands, such as MAC, Urban Decay, Bobbie Brown and Illamasqua, along with drugstore products.”

Rather than applying several of layers of foundation to cover clients’ facial hair shadows, Heaton said he uses a color-correction technique where he applies pink hues under the foundation in order to cover the blue-gray hues.

One of Heaton’s makeup tricks is to always use a “dense, round brush” when applying foundation. “This gives a better finish, as a trans woman’s skin will be a different texture than a cisgender woman,” Heaton said.

Dr. Hu, the Miami dermatologist, said, “When a person undergoes hormone treatment, they begin to have higher levels of estrogen, and a lot of times their hair growth will decrease.” However, Dr. Hu added, even with estrogen, most trans women will not see a significant difference in skin texture and complexion.

Brown, the New York University student, said she finds the burgeoning market for gender-inclusive makeup products encouraging. While she cherishes some of her beloved makeup products, like her sparkly eyeliner, she said she still has a hard time finding a concealer that works for her skin.

“I want those days to be over,” Brown lamented, “the days of going to multiple makeup stores and always leaving empty-handed.”

With products on the market geared toward consumers other than cisgender women, Brown said she feels like “someone is looking out for people like me.”

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Keith Raniere: NXIVM sex cult leader sentenced to 120 years in prison | US News

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A disgraced self-help guru who ran a secret cult, where women were branded with his initials and ordered to have sex with him, has been sentenced to 120 years in prison.

Keith Raniere founded a “personal and professional development” company called NXIVM (pronounced nex-ee-um) in 1998 in Albany, upstate New York.

But during his trial, prosecutors said NXIVM was in fact a cover for a sex cult that manipulated and brainwashed dozens of victims, putting some on starvation diets.

Victims told of how they had to hand over embarrassing photographs and documents that were kept as collateral to keep them quiet about what was going on.

Keith Raniere
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An artist’s impression of Raniere during his sentencing

His control was apparently so absolute that one woman testified about how she was confined to a single room for two years after she said she was attracted to someone else.

NXIVM charged thousands of dollars for invitation-only self improvement courses at its New York headquarters, along with branches in Mexico and Canada.

Members included millionaires and Hollywood actresses willing to endure humiliation and pledge obedience to the defendant as part of his teachings.

Rainere, 60, was convicted last year of crimes including racketeering, smuggling, sex trafficking, extortion and obstruction of justice.

He remained unrepentant, saying: “I do believe I am innocent of the charges. … It is true I am not remorseful of the crimes I do not believe I committed at all.”

US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis called him “ruthless and unyielding” in offences that were “particularly egregious” because he targeted young girls and young women.

He handed down the sentence in federal court in Brooklyn after a lengthy hearing that included victims’ statements.

Prosecutors claim Raniere led a criminal enterprise, inducing shame and guilt to influence and control co-conspirators who helped recruit and groom sexual partners for him.

India Oxenberg
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India Oxenberg pictured arriving at court for Raniere’s sentencing

During his sentencing, Raniere was heavily criticised by former followers, including India Oxenberg, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg.

India Oxenberg called him an “entitled little princess” and a “sexual predator” and lamented she “may have to spend the rest of my life with Keith Raniere’s initials seared into me”.

Prosecutors had sought life in prison for while defence lawyers said he should face 15 years behind bars.

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Two children among four dead after migrant boat sinks off French coast | World News

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Four people, including two children, have died after a migrant boat sank off the coast of France, authorities have confirmed.

The children were aged five and eight years old.

Eighteen people have been taken to hospitals in Calais and Dunkirk, according to a statement by the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea.

The statement said a widespread search and rescue operation is looking for other passengers.

“The boat carrying the migrants sank. An investigation was opened by the public prosecutor of Dunkirk to identify the causes of this sinking,” the statement read.

A sailboat raised the alarm after it spotted the vessel – which was travelling in wind gusts of up to 18mph – in difficulty near Dunkirk.

Customs and Navy patrol boats from France and Belgium went to the area, along with a lifeboat and fishing vessel.

It is believed there were about 20 people on the boat, who were trying to get to the UK.

In a statement, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she is “truly saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life in French waters this morning” and that her thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s loved ones.

“We are in touch with our French counterparts who are leading on the response and have offered whatever support they need as they investigate this incident,” she said.

“This tragic news highlights the dangers that come with crossing the channel and I will do everything I can to stop callous criminals exploiting vulnerable people.”

Care4Calais founder Clare Moseley said the refugee community in Calais is “utterly devastated”.

She said: “We are grieving for the victims, we stand in sympathy and solidarity with their families and friends.

“It is cruel and horrifying that this time, young children are among the victims.

“This unnecessary loss of life has to stop. No one should ever feel they have to get into a fragile craft and risk their lives crossing the Channel, least of all vulnerable children.”

In the past year, more than 7,000 migrants have made it across the English Channel to the UK – up from 1,800 the previous year.

According to the prefecture, four people died making the journey in 2019 and four so far this year.

Sky’s Home Affairs Correspondent Mark White said the issue is significant for France and the UK.

“The British Government has been warning for some time about the potential for a significant tragedy,” he said.

“Home Secretary Priti Patel says she has met with her French counterpart on number of occasions and has made clear she wants France to do more,” he said.

“It appears we are certainly witnessing a tragedy that is unfolding today.”

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Search and rescue operation launched after migrant boat sinks near France | World News

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Eighteen people have been taken to hospital after a migrant boat sunk off the coast of France.

A widespread rescue operation is searching for other passengers.

A sailboat raised the alarm after it spotted the vessel – which was travelling in wind gusts of up to 18mph – in difficulty near Dunkirk.

Customs and Navy patrol boats from France and Belgium went to the area, along with a lifeboat and fishing vessel.

Eighteen people were been taken to hospitals in Calais and Dunkirk, according to the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea.

It’s believed the people on the boat were trying to get to the UK.

The Dunkirk public prosecutor is investigating what caused the sinking.

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