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Makeup as cosmetic camouflage
This article will address the outline of the basic elements of makeup.(1, pdf)
Congenital or acquired skin blemishes that cannot be corrected by medical treatment benefit from makeup. Some examples are listed below.
Indications for cosmetic camouflage
Vascular lesions (associated with blood vessels near skin surface)
Vascular malformations (port-wine stains) and hemangiomas
Excess pigment production after skin inflammation
Reduced pigment production after skin inflammation
Café au lait spots
Dark circles of the eyes
Chronic skin diseases
Temporary outcomes after surgery
Surgical procedures (rhytidectomy, rhinoplasty, etc.)
The elements of a good cover cosmetic
Greaseless (so that it doesn’t stain clothes).
Easy to apply.
100% fragrance free.
Applicable to all skin types. Be available in different shades to match different skin colors.
Nonphotosensitizing (not making one more sensitive to sunlight).
Broad types of cover cosmetics
Face in general – foundations, concealers, powders, blushers.
Eyes – Eye foundation, eye shadow, eyeliners, mascaras, eyebrow pencils.
Lips - lipstick, lip liner crayons, foundations, glosses.
The types of foundation cover
Base: Oil-based, water-based, oil-free, water-free.
Finish: matte, semi-matte, moist semi-matte, shiny. Matte finish is most suitable for cosmetic camouflage.
Form: liquid, mousse, water-containing cream, soufflé, anhydrous (no water) cream, stick, cake, and shake lotion. The cream form is commonly used for camouflage since it can have more iron oxide for coverage, and is thicker and more occlusive because of the wax.
The base of foundation cover
Oil-based foundations – for dry skin. Water-in-oil emulsions containing pigments suspended in oil such as mineral oil, lanolin alcohol, vegetable oil (coconut, sesame, safflower), or synthetic esters (isopropyl myristate, octyl palmitate, isopropyl palmitate). They are stable as they mix with sebum and are easy to apply. Water evaporates from the foundation after application, leaving the pigment in oil on the face.
Water-based foundations – designed for dry to normal skin. Oil-in-water emulsions containing large amounts of water and a small amount of oil in which the pigment is suspended in emulsion. Contain primary emulsifiers such as triethanolamine or a nonionic surfactant and secondary emulsifiers such as glyceryl sterate or propylene glycol sterate. They are less stable than oil-based foundations but are more popular.
Oil-free foundations – for oily skin. Contain silicone derivatives (dimethicone or cyclomethicone), which are noncomedogenic, instead of animal, vegetable, or mineral oils.
Water-free foundations – different oils (vegetable, mineral, lanolin alcohol, synthetic esters) are mixed with waxes to form a cream where high concentrations of pigment are incorporated. Titanium dioxide with iron oxide, occasionally in combination with ultramarine blue, are the coloring agents used. Waterproof, opaque, well-suited for cosmetic camouflage.
A brief explanation of technical terms – An emulsion is a blend of two or more substances that normally cannot be blended (e.g., water and oil). In a water-in-oil emulsion, oil surrounds droplets of water (e.g., butter, margarine). In an oil-in-water emulsion, water surrounds droplets of oil (e.g., milk, cream). An emulsifier is a substance used for emulsification, i.e., the process that produces an emulsion. A surfactant (surface acting agent) is used as an emulsifying agent. Soap is a type of surfactant.
The procedure for applying cosmetic camouflage
Skin preparation: The skin should be cleansed and moisturized if necessary.
Neutralization/correction of color: If there is a lesion, it may have to be neutralized by using an opposite color. A green corrector is used for pink or red discoloration, lavender corrector for yellow discoloration and gold corrector for a gray blemish.
Cover cream: It will take some experimentation to find the right shade of cover cream, and sometimes two shades will need to be blended. Samples should be applied to different parts of the face; the correct sample/blend will barely contrast with surrounding skin color. The cover cream should be applied by dabbing with the third finger or a synthetic sponge rather than be rubbed onto the skin. If needed for a more natural look, special theatrical sponges (stipple sponges) can be lightly dabbed on the cover cream to create freckles or beard stubble (men).
Powder application: After the cover cream dries for 5 min (8 – 10 min for dry or aging skin), it is waterproofed and set with a colorless powder. A setting powder is not needed for very dry skin; its purpose is to absorb excess oil, and a few minutes are all it needs to do so. Excess powder is removed with a brush or cotton ball. If scars are present, then a lighter powder is used over a depressed scar since depressed scars appear darker, and conversely, a darker powder is used for elevated scars.
How to remove makeup/cosmetic camouflage
Water and soap will not remove oil-based camouflage makeup easily. These require a water-in-oil-based cleansing solution to break down and remove the oil and wax coating. Subsequently, water and soap will do the job.
- Antoniou, C., & Stefanaki, C. (2006). Cosmetic camouflage. J Cosmet Dermatol, 5(4), 297-301.