For me; I am not even close to full time, it's an occasion or event when I get dolled up. I am also a bit OCD, so I want to be thorough. I have no illusions of "passing". I am just too male to be that convincing. I don't however want to attract the wrong kind of attention so being close to passing is a goal that I strive for. I am my own biggest critic of myself too and I always want to improve on the last time. It's that military side of me again, always aware that there is room for improvement and not to be satisfied with a partial effort. Being perfect isn't possible, but trying to is.
So here is what I go through (spoiler alert). First of all, there are somethings I do on a regular basis for maintenance. I keep my eyebrows thin by plucking and trimming, manicure my nails and trim all those unwanted nose and ear hairs. I also keep my groin area shaved on a regular basis. That's just manscaping. A day or so before hand however, I will exfoliate the hair on my hands and feet, back, arms and body. The day of, I will shave my chest, armpits and legs nice and smooth. I make sure to shave my face very close and time it as close as I can to getting ready as it grows back quickly. That's just the preliminary.
When I begin to get my girl disguise on and sit down to get serious is when I actually consider the start time here. I usually start with one last naked inspection of my shave job and fix any touch ups. Next I slip into my bra and panties. I usually have a few tricks I use to create cleavage and add my silicone breast forms. Then I put on my corset. I take out a wig and shake it out and style it a bit. I usually slip on a robe and sit down at the makeup mirror next. In my earliest pics I still showed beard shadow even after a close shave and foundation. I later discovered Dermablend cover up which works great to hide that. After the concealer, I apply a base foundation and powder to hold it. Then I go through the trickiest phase...false eyelashes. My own lashes are tiny and pale so I have to do this step. The hard part is gluing them on in the right spot without gluing my eyes shut or putting it on too high or not straight. Sounds easy but I wear glasses to see close up and I can't wear them while applying the lashes. So it often takes several attempts to get them on right. Once I conquer the lashes, I do my eye makeup which includes brow liner, eyeliner (also very tricky without glasses), eyeshadow (I blend a few colours) and mascara. I then add blush and lip liner before moving on. I save the lipstick and gloss until after I'm dressed. I learned that one the hard way.
Next I pick out an outfit to wear which sometimes involves a few changes. I like to wear vintage stockings a lot which are time consuming to put on too. The garter belt is necessary (and sexy) and then nylons have to be rolled on wearing gloves to prevent snags from my nails. I learned that one the hard way too. Seams have to be adjusted and belt clips attached. The back ones are tricky. Then I put on a slip and a dress or skirt and top and I am getting close. Then there are the finger nails to polish still. I tried extensions before but they take longer than painting them. I would have had to do the toes first before the nylons but I often end up skipping the step if I know my toes will be hid in boots all night. While I wait for my fingernails to dry, I pick out my accessories; necklaces, choker, bracelets, earrings, ankle bracelet, etc. The neck choker can take time with the tiny clasp. Once dressed, I put on my lipstick and put on and fix my hair.
I just hope that all of you admirers and non CDers can appreciate the effort we put in to be the Ladies that we strive to be. The old saying about "Walk a mile in their shoes before criticizing them" could not be more true.