What is corrective make up?

(And why I don't like the term).

Corrective makeup (or grooming as I refer to it for guys) can be as simple as using makeup to address excess shine, a blemish or darkness under the eyes. Other times, corrective makeup may be more complex, like working with someone who has had a facial trauma, is experiencing illness or has a congenital effect (note the intentional lack of word ‘defect’).

The History of the Term

Early in my career corrective makeup was often referred to as camouflage or paramedical makeup, sometimes even called restorative makeup. Whatever the term, it is often more important that my work go unnoticed than noticed, so as not to look like one has makeup on at all. The makeup should give the appearance of balance to features affected by any number of factors like the ones listed above.

The goal is to neutralize these appearance-related concerns, but this is not the only goal. I believe corrective makeup should be coupled with products and application that support the integrity of the skin.

My Experience

I've been a hair and makeup artist for over 25 years. In that time, I have worked in both media and medical settings. In the media setting I worked with advertising and fashion for print, television and film; with models, musicians, movie stars and the like.

In the medical community I have worked in private practice, hospitals and cancer centers. I have had the privilege of working with plastic and reconstructive surgeons, dermatologists, oncologists, and psychologists. I have worked with persons with cancer, traumatic facial injuries, congenital factors and elective procedures.

These combined experiences guide my definition of corrective makeup. It was in advertising where I realized that everyone gets some form of benefit from corrective makeup, whether that’s reducing shine or addressing darkness under the eyes. The experience I received working under the guidance of the medical community helped me understand the sensitivities of working with patients. After all, aren’t all patients people first?

The Key

The key to corrective makeup is discussing, and sometimes helping to manage, a person’s expectations. In some cases, the makeup creates amazing transformations. And yet in others, makeup itself does very little to 'correct' one’s appearance related issues.  With expectations set, I've seen the placement of color and choice of product that makes a slight, almost negligible difference to the eye lift the spirit of my clients immeasurably.

-How one looks is not important. It is how one feels about how one looks that matters.-

The Modern Term

My modern definition of corrective makeup: the use of makeup to help bring balance to one’s appearance (rather than to cover up or correct).

Whatever the reason one seeks this service, for me, the term corrective makeup feels, well incorrect. I prefer the term medical makeup. This is not recognized yet, but it seems more appropriate and doesn’t carry the almost judgmental tone that can come from the word ‘correct’.  I'd love your thoughts.

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Jeanna Doyle