Camouflage or corrective make-up: what is it and how to apply it

Skin imperfections, especially the most visible and evident ones, can create considerable psychological distress, lead to insecurities and discomfort and thus negatively affect our everyday lives.

In order to meet the needs of people who suffer from these kinds of problems, modern cosmetology has studied special make-up products that provide particularly high coverage and thus are perfect for the permanent or temporary concealment of skin imperfections through corrective make-up known as “camouflage”.

Camouflage is a term that derives from the merging of two French words camoufler (concealment) and maquillage (make-up) and in the scientific language it is also called Corrective Dermocosmetology.

The embarrassment caused by skin imperfections can be reduced by using corrective camouflage make-up.

Camouflage: the main imperfections that corrective make-up is used for

Since the 1940s, the field of application for camouflage has been extended and today it is also used to cover temporary or permanent imperfections, related to plastic and reconstructive surgery, dermatological treatments, pigmentation issues and dermatological problems, more specifically:

  • surgery: face lifts, rhinoplasty and blepharoplasty
  • dermatological treatments: fillers, dermabrasion and laser treatments
  • dermatological conditions: acne and acne scarring, rosacea and couperose, vitiligo, psoriasis, morphea, SLE
  • temporary or permanent skin imperfections: angiomas, moles, sun sports, melasma, traumatic (e.g. burn) or surgical scars

When camouflage should not be used:

  • on lesions caused by infection
  • on acute dermatitis
  • on exudative skin lesions
  • on erythrodermic or pustular psoriasis
  • in the case of confirmed hypersensitivity to the ingredients in the cosmetics used.

What does camouflage make-up aim to do:

  • conceal imperfections with a natural look
  • ensure long-lasting hold
  • be easy to apply.

Camouflage make-up can be used on both men and women and applied all over the body, wherever you need to conceal an imperfection. The technique must be fast and easy to repeat so that it can be done wherever and whenever it is required.

What features must camouflage products have?

Cosmetic products for corrective make-up must meet a series of pre-requisites, including: 

  • coverage ability
  • colour options
  • matteness
  • long-lasting
  • water-resistant.

They must also be hypoallergenic, especially because they are applied to delicate, fragile skin. Therefore it is better if they are formulated without potentially irritating and/or sensitising ingredients, as well as tested for heavy metals.

Camouflage: 5 tips for applying it better

The application technique for corrective camouflage make-up includes 5 sequential steps, which are all equally important for successful corrective make-up application:

1) Cleansing the skin:

Before applying make-up, it is always a good idea to cleanse the skin. A gentle, rinse-off or leave-on, product is ideal, as it does not alter the hydrolipidic film of the skin and preserves its barrier function. 

2) Moisturising the skin:

After cleansing, it is fundamental that we moisturise the skin with a highly tolerable emulsion product with a light texture or even a concentrated fluid if the skin is particularly dehydrated.

3) Neutralising pigmentation issues:

Many imperfections are caused by changes in the colour of the skin, i.e pigmentation issues, and to neutralise them, or conceal them to the point that they are almost invisible, we must counter the colour optically. This step is also important for reducing the amount of make-up that you will use to cover it in the next step.

The contrast is achieved on the basis of the theory of complementary colours: as opposite colours cancel each other out, the base colour is neutralised due to the optical effect. 

Thus, we must choose a concealer in a complementary colour and apply it by dabbing it on with the fingers or using a make-up sponge:

VERT - neutralises red colours (redness, erythrosis, couperose, rosacea, flat angiomas, rashes and recent scars).

CORAIL- neutralises blue-purple and/or brown colours (dark eye circles, bruises, veins and capillaries).

VIOLET - neutralises yellowish complexions and dull skin tone.


  • the coral colour neutralises blue-purple hues and attenuates excess brown discolouration: dark eye circles, bruises, veins and capillaries, as well as hyper-pigmented spots
  • The green colour neutralises the colour red: redness, erythrosis, couperose, rosacea, flat angiomas, rashes and recent scars
  • the violet colour neutralises yellowish complexions and dull skin tone

4) Applying the foundation:

Wherever there are imperfections, you must even out the area with the pigmentation to match the skin around it and so:

  • choose the foundation colour that best matches your complexion
  • choose the texture depending on the severity of the imperfection you want to conceal: 
    STICK: more pigment-rich for severe imperfections on the face and body 
    FLUID:  lighter for slight or moderate imperfections on the face, neck and décolleté

CREAMY: perfect for imperfections on the body.

  • apply it by dabbing it on with your fingers or using a make-up sponge and blending in particular the edges of the areas affected by the imperfection so as to even it out with the skin around it.

5) Setting the cosmetics you’ve applied

To set the foundation, apply a light and impalpable face powder, tapping it on gently with a brush.

Lastly, spray the area you have applied make-up to with a spray solution to complete the setting and get rid of the “patina” effect and create a very natural look. Tissue off any excess product.

Corrective make-up: post-application tips

After concealing the imperfections, you can finish off your make-up with other make-up products, all the better if specific for sensitive skin.

At the end of the day, it is important to remove make-up from your face and other areas of the body where you have applied camouflage. Choose an extremely gentle make-up remover to effectively remove make-up, while respecting the balance of the skin.  

If you have sensitive skin and you want to know how to choose your make-up and apply it, please read:
Make-up for sensitive skin
Applying and removing make-up from sensitive skin