Corrective make-up: Hiding tactics

Corrective make-up is an immediate, effective and affordable solution to conceal skin problems and boost your confidence

woman doing make-upFor many people, having the ability to conceal skin problems they consider worrisome, can be transformational both aesthetically and emotionally. And there are specialised cosmetic formulations that empower them do to it. These formulations referred to as corrective, camouflage or medical make-up, conceal skin imperfections on the face and body. These products have unique properties and characteristics that are necessary to achieving satisfactory results for women, men and children. When applied properly, these products can help the user feel more confident in all aspects of their lives.

The look-good, feel-good factor

I've worked with virtually every type of skin discoloration, disfigurement and birth defect, teaching me a very important lesson: it's all about perception. When you think about it, visual cues are often what draw us to approach another human being to strike up a conversation or share a thought.

If a person feels that there is something about her appearance that makes her self-conscious, it can often cause her to feel that her 'flaw' is the only thing people see and she may become shy, hesitant and withdrawn. Yet, when that same person is given a way to correct the condition, suddenly she feels free to be the person she wants the world to see.

The corrective course

In the 30 years as a skin care specialist and make-up artist, I have had the privilege of helping thousands of clients feel good about their appearance through the art of corrective/camouflage make-up. Along the way, I've developed my own techniques and preferences for treating certain situations. I'm sharing a few of the universal tips with you.

  • Find a qualified professional to advise you. Whether you have more challenging skin conditions such as vitiligo [loss of pigment] or melasma [darkening of the skin], or more common conditions such as dark under eye circles or blemishes, the make-up artist's or medical practitioner's job is to provide thorough and detailed instruction. It is important for you to be able to duplicate these techniques easily at home with a little practice.
  • Do your homework and look at the options. Don't believe the marketing claims, believe your eyes. Does the product really conceal? Does it look natural? Does it last? Does it match your skin tone? Is it waterproof? You will want to use the best product you can find.
  • Talk with a professional after you've done some research on your own; you'll be more prepared for a conversation about what you are looking for and less apt to be sold something you don't need.
  • Look for foundations that have highly concentrated pigment and a high degree of opacity that allow you to conceal skin discolorations or imperfections without using additional products.
  • Match your skin tone exactly. The key to any successful corrective/camouflage make-up application is to match your skin tone exactly to achieve the most natural looking results.This is particularly important for men and children who may not apply make-up to their entire face, but only to the area to be concealed. To choose your skin tone shade, use natural daylight. This is the key to corrective make-up, but really, a good idea for any make-up.
  • For best results, apply your make-up near a window. The second best option is to apply it under full-spectrum daylight bulbs—readily available in any store.
  • Also, never choose your make-up shade by matching it on the back of your hand or on your wrist unless that's where you'll be wearing the make-up! Apply a little along your jaw line where your neck meets your face. If it disappears, you've got the right shade. If you see a stripe, you know you need to go lighter or darker until you can't see where the make-up ends and your skin begins. Sometimes you may need to mix two shades to get the exact one, but the results will be worth the effort.

Practice makes perfect. Remember, the goal with corrective/camouflage make-up is to make yourself happy when you look in the mirror. Having the complexion you've always dreamed about may simply be a matter of seeking out the best products and learning how to use them. Be patient with yourself and relax; have fun with the process. You'll be amazed at what a transformation on the outside can do for you inside.

Making it a part of the treatment

Corrective/camouflage make-up is a perfect adjunct for the advancement in all types of rehabilitative, plastic and reconstructive surgery. It is a desirable addition to patient care for those physicians who want to provide a more holistic approach to treatment. Again, it all comes back to perception.

Studies have shown, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to demonstrate, that patients who are pleased with their appearance actually feel better and have more energy to devote to getting back to their normal routines. On the other hand, patients who look ill tend to feel less energetic and have a less positive outlook on their prognosis for recovery.

Even patients suffering from the visible effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatments have found corrective/camouflage make-up to a valuable ally in their battle against cancer. And for this reason too, many dermatologists and plastic surgeons around the world offer the addition of corrective/camouflage make-up services to treatment plans for their patients.

Particularly for facial disfigurements, corrective/camouflage make-up offers one more tool to complete the transformational process that begins with surgery. The physician offering corrective/camouflage make-up as protocol can ease the transition between the period of healing and total recovery for their patient.

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Linda Seidel
Linda Seidel is all of these—a pioneer, make-up artist, author, educator and aesthetic rehabilitation specialist based in the USA. With a talent for portraiture and drawing, Linda Seidel thought at one time she'd pursue a career in art. She did just that, but her medium was make-up, not paint or pastels. Her unique approach to corrective make-up has been recognized and applauded by medical professionals, the cosmetics industry, the media, and most of all, by her clients.

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