Camouflage makeup: what it is and how to apply it

Uneasiness caused by skin blemishes may be reduced with the help of camouflage makeup.

Skin imperfections, especially when very visible and marked, can cause strong psychological distress, which generates lack of confidence and uneasiness, thus adversely affects our daily lives.

To meet the needs of those who suffer from these problems, modern cosmetology has developed special makeup cosmetics that have very high coverage properties, thus are ideal to conceal skin imperfections, either permanent or temporary, through corrective makeup techniques referred to as "Camouflage makeup".

Camouflage is a term that comes from combining the two French words camoufler (to camouflage) and maquillage (makeup) and, in scientific terms, it i salso defined as Corrective Dermocosmetology.

The main blemishes camouflage can be useful for:

Since the 1940s, when it was first used, camouflage has been used for an increasing number of purposes and skin imperfections. Today, it it used for permanenet and temporary blemishes, caused by cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, dermatological treatments, discoloration and dermatological diseases. Specifically, it is used in the case of:

  • surgery: facelift, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty
  • dermatological treatments: fillers, dermal-abrasion, laser
  • skin diseases: acne and acne scars, rosacea, vitiligo, psoriasis, morphea, LES
  • temporary or permanent skin imperfections: birthmarks, moles, sunspots, melasma, traumatic scars (eg. from burns) or surgical

When not to use camouflage makeup:

  • on lesions caused by infections
  • on acute-phase dermatitis
  • on oozing skin lesions
  • on erythrodermic and pustular psoriasis
  • in cases of any known hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients in the camouflage makeup user wishes to use.

What are the objectives camouflage makeup needs to meet:

  1. conceal imperfections while giving a natural effect
  2. ensure long-lasting makeup hold
  3. be easy to apply.

Camouflage makeup can be used by women and men alike and applied anywhere over the body where there is a need to conceal a blemish. The application technique should be quick to perform and easily reproducible, so that it can be performed anywhere and as often as needed.

What features must camouflage makeup products have?

Camouflage makeup products must meet a number of requirements:

  • provide coverage
  • be available in a variety of colours
  • give a mattifying effect
  • be long-wearing
  • be water-resistant

In addition, they must also be hypoallergenic, especially because they are supposed to be applied on delicate, fragile skin. Therefore, they should be formulated without potential irritants and / or sensitising ingredients, as well as being tested for heavy metals.

How to apply camouflage makeup?

Camouflage technique involves five sequential stages, all equally important for successful camouflage:

1) Cleansing:

Before applying makeup, we recommend to always cleanse skin.
A mild, either rinse-off or rinse-free, cleanser is ideal that does not alter the hydro-lipid layer over the skin surface and preserves the barrier function.

2) Moisturisation:

After cleansing skin, it is essential to moisturise it with a well-tolerated, creamy, lightweight product or a concentrated fluid, if your skin is particularly dehydrated.

3) Neutralizing the discolouration:

To neutralize the discoloration, which means turning it almost invisible, you need to optically counter the colour of the blemish. This step is also important to reduce the amount of make up that you’ll need to cover the blemish in the step that follows.

Neutralising the colour of the blemish is done according to the  theory of complementary colours: since opposite colours cancel each other out, the starting colour is neutralised by an optical effect.

Hence, you must choose a concealer in a complementary colour and apply it by dabbing with your fingers or by using a sponge:

  • The coral colour neutralises blueish- and purpleish-coloured discolorations and softens excessively brown skin areas: dark circles, bruises, capillaries that show through skin, besides hyperpigmentation spots
  • the green colour neutralises reddish-coloured discolorations: redness, erythrosis, rosacea, flat hemagiomas, rashes, recent scars

4) Application of the foundation:

Regardless of where the imperfection is, it is important to blend the area affected by the discolouration with the unaffected, surrounding skin and thus:

  • choose the foundation shade closest to your complexion
  • choose the foundation texture based on the severity of the blemish to be covered:
    STICK FOUNDATION: richer in pigments, suitable for severe imperfections
    FLUID FOUNDATION: more lightweight, suitable for mild, moderate imperfections
  • apply foundation by dabbing with your fingers or a sponge and blend the edge of the blemish area with the surrounding skin and your general complexion.

5) Setting makeup

Set the foundation by applying a face powder that has a lightweight, impalpable texture, by gently dabbing it on skin with a brush. 

Finally, spray a refreshing solution over makeup to finish off setting makeup and prevent any makeup thickness from showing, thereby giving a very natural look. 

Remove any excess product by gently dabbing with a paper tissue.

Post-application tips

After concealing imperfections, you can complete your makeover with other colour makeup products, preferably specifically formulated for sensitive skin.

At the end of the day, it is important to remove make-up form the face or other body areas where camouflage makeup was applied.

Pick a gentle makeup remover, that is  effective in removing makeup, yet respects skin balance.

If you have sensitive skin and you wish to learn how to choose makeup and how to apply it, please also read:

Makeup for sensitive skin
Applying makeup to and removing makeup from sensitive skin


Want to learn more?

Ask a question to our experts

All BioNike products of the TRIDERM, DEFENCE and PROXERA ranges are developed to reduce the risks of intolerance and are suitable for sensitive skin. Such products are, in fact nickel-tested, preservatives-free, perfume-free (or having an allergen-free perfume), gluten-free and manufactured ​​with carefully selected and controlled ingredients.

In any case, we recommend that you consult your pharmacist and/or dermatologist, who will be able to recommend what is best for your skin.

Did you know it?

The DEFENCE COLOR COVER range by BioNike has been developed for those requiring very high coverage performance, ease of application and a long-lasting and natural effect, while respecting skin, especially when it is sensitive.

The DEFENCE COLOR COVER and DEFENCE COLOR makeup products by BioNike are developed to be highly tolerated by sensitive skin and, besides not containing preservatives, perfume and gluten, are also nickel-, chromium- and cobalt-tested *.

*Formulated to minimise the content and release of nickel, chromium, cobalt. Each production batch is tested in conformity with EC Regulation No. 1907/2006.