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Art and Science of Makeup

January 9, 2009

Throughout the history, we can find instances about people using natural and manufactured substances for cleansing, beautifying, grooming, altering and enhancing their bodies in order to feel and look good. Makeup therefore is the art as well as science of applying various materials (cosmetics) on the human body in order to clean it, to protect it, to look more attractive and to conceal body odors. Cosmetics include hundreds of items: powders, creams, oils, lotions, perfumes, deodorants, nail polish, lipsticks, lip gloss, hair colors, hair sprays, gels and many other products.

A whole industry has developed around the business of beauty. There are beauty salons, hair salons (even nail salons!), spas, health resorts, cosmetics companies, wedding studios and photography studios. There are makeup artists, beauticians, cosmetologists, hairstylists, tattoo artists, masseurs, cosmetic surgeons, marketers and cosmetics product developers. The television, film, theater, modeling and entertainment industries make the extensive use of makeup and prosthetic for special effects. There are magazines and publications specially devoted to the beauty industry. It is difficult to categorize the art of make but here we will try to classify it according to the areas of expertise, as explained below:

Salon makeup generally deals with shampooing, hair cutting, hairstyling, hair treatment, hair dyeing, removing unwanted hair, facial, pedicure, manicure and many other face, body and skin treatments. These services are usually availed of by all people by visiting the salons but there are freelancing beauticians who provide home services as well. Corrective makeup is the subset of salon makeup in which blemishes and defects on the human body are removed or corrected with the help of cosmetics of corrective surgery.

Theatre makeup or stage makeup involves applying rather heavy makeup in conjunction with stage lighting to highlight the actors’ faces, so that audience can view their expressions clearly from reasonable distances. This often includes defining the eyes and lips as well as the highlights and lowlights of the facial bones. Live performance makeup is similar to theatre makeup but also includes hairstyling/coloring and special costumes according to performing artists’ demands as well as the type of music played (pop, rock, country, heavy metal etc).

Film and television makeup depends on the subject of the film and the character to be portrayed. Fantasy, horror and science fiction films make maximum use of special effects makeup and prosthetics. This kind of makeup requires complex process of making plaster molds and rubber and silicon casts. Makeup artists can find full vent to their creativity and skills in this area.

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