What are the Different Types of Makeup Used in Hollywood?

Most women regard makeup as an essential tool in their daily beauty arsenal, which they use to improve the way they look, conceal imperfections, add color, and make them feel more confident about themselves. Yet, these cosmetics devices transcend being a mere part of a lady’s armory. In Hollywood movies, there are various types of makeup used to enhance or change the appearance of the actors and actresses, allowing them to smoothly convey and relate their personalities’ to the audiences. In this post, let’s look at the different types of makeup used in Hollywood, and the significant role they play in fashion trends started in the movies.

Basic/Straight Makeup

One of the most common misconceptions about makeup is that they are meant for people who want to enhance their appearance better in films. However, there are cases when the actor’s natural look is already close to the character being portrayed to the point that no significant changes using makeup are needed.

When that happens, makeup artists only use basic or straight makeup on the screen actors. This type of makeup is applied to simply keep the actors’ natural appearance while considering factors such as camera distance and lighting. As the face is three-dimensional, camera angles or proximity plus strong lighting may reveal or trigger some undesirable attributes like excess shine seen during close-up or extra oil produced with the heat of lighting. Basic and straight makeup resolves or compensates for that by ensuring that the subjects still look normal amidst the processes and elements done in filmmaking.

Character Makeup

Character makeup is the opposite of basic or straight makeup as it is applied to alter the look of the actor, as major changes are needed in appearance to make it close to the character played. Such types can be commonly seen when there is a difference in age, like an actor playing an older-aged role, or during flashbacks scenes when they need to act as younger versions of themselves.

Health is another factor, as character makeup helps an actor appear more convincingly healthy or hill. Other application includes differences in sex, temperament, or race.

A full character makeup may need to use other devices to complement the cosmetics alterations made. It includes the use of wigs, bears, eyebrows, or mustaches. You can often see this type of makeup in movies that have time periods set decades ago.

Special (FX) or Prosthetics Makeup

Special effect (FX) or Prosthetics makeup is the most complicated and time-consuming yet also the most stunning and impressive type of makeup used in Hollywood movies. From the realistic wounds and significant changes in facial features to the wicked witches, apes, aliens, and otherworldly frightening creatures, all that is made possible and made look real by this type of makeup.

For less complex changes, makeup is done through the use of grease paint and oil-based colored pigments. For characters or roles that need dramatic alterations, prosthetic pieces made of foam latex, silicone, or gelatine are added to make it impressively realistic. Though the process of creating and applying them is tedious and time-consuming, given that prosthetics are molded to the actors to ensure they will perfectly fit, efforts are rewarded with the attainment of the extremely convincing effect.


Actors, screenwriters, and directors often get massive credit for the final outcome of the movie. Yet, it’s good to note that these films have amazing make-up artists teams behind the camera that use these different types of makeup to help create the characters, help bring realism to their portrayal, usher timeframe authenticity, and initiate character development. That’s how powerful makeup can be, cutting across its cosmetic prowess, and making people enjoy the movies to the fullest delight.


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