SCA’s Rowena Wilson looks at the differences between make-up artistry and skin camouflage when offering a service to clients.

Recently I was lucky enough to be asked to talk about skin camouflage to student make-up artists at University College Birmingham (www.ucb.ac.uk) in my capacity as a Changing Faces volunteer (www.changingfaces.org.uk). This made me jot down my thoughts on what are the differences between skin camouflage and other professional make-up services that the students learn about as part of their course.

These differences need to be taken on board in terms of the products used and the relationship with the client if a professional and caring service is to be provided.

1. Products

Many clients who wish to use skin camouflage will also want to obtain the products on NHS prescription which maybe possible at their doctor’s discretion. The make-up artist needs to be aware of which products are available on prescription and include those in their kit. These products will also be tried and trusted in terms of coverage and durability – the key factors for camouflage cosmetics. To this you can add favoured non-prescription brands or products as experience and knowledge builds. For example, I carry products from the brand, Varama, www.varama.co.uk.

2. Teaching the Application Techniques

The principles of applying camouflage cosmetics are largely the same as for beauty cosmetics but being able to teach how to apply the products correctly is key in almost every consultation. Many people will want to use their camouflage on a daily basis and so getting the appropriate application techniques to fit their lifestyle is also very important. For example, people who do not wear beauty make-up will want something that is quick and uncomplicated and this is especially so with male clients and children.

3. The Correct Approach

People seeking advice on skin camouflage may have had a traumatic incident in their lives which has significantly altered their appearance, they may have been born with a birthmark or developed a skin condition such as vitiligo or rosacea. Whatever the situation the client must be treated with respect and always asked what it is they want help with concealing – just because someone has a scar on their face it doesn’t mean they want it concealing, they may be more concerned about the old tattoo on their arm! Because of the psychological aspects of skin camouflage work, I would always recommend some specific training for make-up artists who want to make this part of their repertoire.

Changing Faces provide training for their camouflage service volunteers and the British Association of Skin Camouflage (www.skin-camouflage.net) provides a full training and CPD programme from its base in Chester as well as online services for members.

Including skin camouflage certainly gives an additional and complementary dimension to the usual make-up offer but it needs investment both in yourself and in your clients.

SCA can be contacted for free advice about skin camouflage. Recipients of advice are encouraged to make a donation to SCA’s Featured Charity, The Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust (www.raft.ac.uk) or to Changing Faces (www.changingfaces.org.uk).


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