Camouflage Cosmetics

Having plastic surgery is an exciting time but it may take a while for incision marks, bruising, or swelling to recede. Until you are a ready to show off your new look, you may want to consider camouflage cosmetics. These makeup products can help you feel confident during the days and weeks your body is healing from surgery.

If You’re Considering Camouflage Cosmetics…

Dr. Leonard will clear you to return to your normal daily activities at the appropriate time. While you will probably feel great, you might not be ready to see co-workers or friends yet. This is totally normal. Most people want to look and feel their best before resuming normal day to day activities.

When to Start

Be sure to check with Dr. Leonard before you start using camouflage cosmetics. While some people may begin applying makeup a day or two after surgery, some types of procedures will require a longer time to heal. For example, if you have incision lines, the stitches need to be removed and the incision completely closed before it is safe to apply makeup.

If you have had a nose procedure, makeup is usually okay to use after the cast is removed. A chemical peel or dermabrasion will have a longer wait time. The crust that has formed must be completely gone before makeup can be applied. Other bruises or swelling only have a wait time of one to two days before makeup can be applied.

What to Look For

Camouflage cosmetics come in a variety of products and price points. Dr. Leonard can recommend brands specifically for your needs. You can use specially made camouflage products, as well as standard makeup. You might have what you need in your makeup bag at home!

The most important thing is to keep the area that was operated on clean. If you choose to use products you already have at home, be sure to purchase new brushes and applicators. If you are in the market to purchase new products, make sure they are both hypoallergenic and fragrance free. Camouflage cosmetics can cover a variety of issues using three different techniques – concealing, color correcting, and contouring. Concealing will hide bruises and incision lines. Color correcting will neutralize skin that has been reddened or turned yellowish. Contouring creates the illusion of highlights and shadows, which will disguise swelling.


Concealers do what their name says. They conceal spots on your face that you might not want to show. This can include healed incision lines, scars and bruises. Concealer can also be applied to other body parts as well. When choosing a concealer, look for an opaque, waterproof option that feels natural on your skin. Some concealers can double as foundation for your face. These thicker concealers can cover a lot, but might be too much to use around your eyes. You might need to use a traditional concealer or color corrector around this sensitive area.

Color Correcting

Color correctors help even out skin that has turned yellow or red. Lavender tinted corrector neutralizes yellow. Green corrector is used to remove redness from procedures such as chemical peels or dermabrasions. Color correctors are similar to primer. They are light and less opaque than concealer. They are normally worn under foundation to give a fresh even look to your face.


Contouring is used to create shadow and light on your face. This can help hide swelling and bumps by creating shadows on those areas and then highlighting the areas you want to accentuate. Contouring actually requires two products, highlighter and bronzer. The highlighter will need to be about two shades lighter than your normal skin tone. The bronzer should be two shades darker than your skin tone. Be sure to find one that it not too dark, otherwise your face will look dirty and not create the proper shadow. You might have trouble finding a bronzer that is the right shade. If that is the case, you can purchase a foundation that is two shades darker than your normal foundation. You’ll need multiple brushes and applicators to use these products. This is the most difficult camouflage technique to master. With some practice, you’ll be able to properly blend the makeup to create illusions such as a smaller nose and higher cheekbones.

Removing Camouflage Cosmetics

It is very important to completely remove camouflage cosmetics at the end of the day. Some of these products, particularly foundation and concealer, may be thicker than the normal makeup you wear and will be more difficult to remove. There are special cleansers you can use to remove these heavier products. Once they have been removed, you can follow up with your regular skincare routine.

Contact Leonard Plastic Surgery

Leonard Plastic Surgery

Water Place │ 500 Liberty Street S.E., Suite 400 │ Salem, OR 97301

(503) 391-2760 │