The art of applying military camouflage makeup is important because it gives our fighting men and women of the armed forces one more safety measure. The movies often portray the application of military camouflage makeup but, rarely do these come close to an accurate portrayal. For civilians who want to learn the art of military camouflage makeup, perhaps for hunting or playing war games such as paintball, there are many good resources on the subject, including the Ranger Manuals available at military surplus stores.
1. Understand the reasons for applying camouflage. The purpose of camouflage is concealment from enemies. Camouflage helps to eliminate some of the visual cues that may tip an enemy off to your presence. Using military camouflage makeup to hide shine and color while breaking up the easily defined shape of the human face is the primary goal.
2. Choose the appropriate colors for the setting you are hiding in. Green face paint will stick out like a sore thumb in a desert setting. Black camouflage is inappropriate for snow-covered battlegrounds. In the most common applications, brown and green camouflage makeup will prove to be the most appropriate as these colors occur naturally in the majority of landscapes.
3. Start with a clean face. Prepare your skin by washing your face with soap and water. Apply a thin layer of lotion to avoid skin irritation and facilitate easy removal of the paint when you are finished. While washing your face and applying the lotion, set your camouflage makeup kit in the sun so it can warm and soften. If you are applying camouflage in cold weather or at night, you may have to warm the makeup in your hands prior to applying it.
4. Apply a thin layer of your base color to eliminate shine and color from being visible to your enemy. This base color should be applied evenly to the whole face, including the eyelids and ears. Also make certain to conceal the neck and hands with the base color.
5. Break up the pattern of your face so that your distinguishing features such as your nose, mouth and eyes are not easily recognized. This is done by adding secondary colors over the base coloring. Running a streak of green over a base of brown camouflage makeup creates a broken pattern. Apply the face paint in vertical or diagonal lines across your eyes and mouth while using horizontal or diagonal lines across the nose. Use small lines and blobs of color, instead of dramatic broad stripes, as the purpose of camouflage makeup is to create a less conspicuous appearance.
6. Adjust for shadow. Color changes throughout the day as light is cast from different angles. By adjusting the darkness of your camouflage makeup throughout the day, you will attain better concealment of your features because your camouflage will resemble the natural environment more closely.