After Facelift: What About Makeup?

Facelift surgery can be uplifting. There’s anticipation about how youthful you’ll look, the fact that you’re doing something special for yourself, and the attention you’ve put into carefully planning for surgery. Yet, anyone who’s had a facelift may say that the first days and weeks after surgery can be tough.

That’s because the big reveal won’t be realized right away. You’ll be bandaged, your face may look puffy or bruised, and you’ll be sutured. You won’t look or feel like yourself. Most post-facelift patients will want to turn to makeup to try to look (and feel) like them themselves again. But be careful before putting anything on your face while it’s healing.

In fact, Kaiser Permanente urges facelift patients to NOT apply post-op makeup until they get the information – and the OK – from their plastic surgeons. We second that motion. Kaiser Permanente warns: “Makeup (which gets into) fresh suture lines will form a permanent tattoo.” Ewww! So. Not. Worth. The risk.

Facelifts and Unfamiliar Faces

After a facelift, it’s common to feel uncomfortable about being a bit unrecognizable – even to yourself. Swelling does funny things to our features. When we look in the mirror, we generally know what to expect. Facelift surgery alters the familiarity we have with our old selves.

Remember: You just had surgery. During facelift recovery, the initial side effects will fade with your scars and bruises. Typically, facelift patients feel comfortable being seen in public after 1-3 weeks. And while not every bruise or bump may be healed, it’s unlikely others will notice them.

Turn to your plastic surgeon and his or her office staff for tips on reducing the appearance of scars and bruises rather than feeling self-conscious. Get instructions for recovering gracefully. Ask if products can help, such as:

  • retail or drug store makeup.
  • camouflage cosmetics.

Retail or Drug Store Makeup and Facelift Surgery

Until your swelling subsides, applying cosmetics can be a bit like using under-eye concealer after a good, long cry. You may or may not get the effect you hoped for. One way to get good results is by having realistic expectations. Don’t plan to to go all-out glam right now.

That said, your plastic surgeon may approve items already in your makeup case (ditch any that are old) or available in stores. For the best post-op experience, bring in makeup items or their descriptions before surgery. Ask your plastic surgeon which will be least likely to:

  • delay healing.
  • irritate your skin.
  • cause adverse reactions.

And know this: Just because a product is labeled “hypo-allergenic” doesn’t mean you can use it without your plastic surgeon’s blessing. That simply means it’s less likely to cause allergic reactions than other cosmetics.

Camouflage Cosmetics and Facelift Surgery

Believe it or not, a full range of products exist to hide bruises and scarring – and they’re called “camouflage cosmetics”. Plastic surgeons’ offices sometimes carry camouflage cosmetics for patient convenience.

You can often buy them at department store makeup counters, specialty retailers (ex: Sephora) and drug stores. Lines worth looking into include:

  • “5 Camouflage Cream Palette” by Make Up For Ever
  • “The Big Cover Up Kit” by Cover FX Skin Care
  • “Kamaflage Tester Kit” by Sacha Cosmetics
  • “Camouflage Cream” by Prescriptives
  • “Cover Creme” by Dermablend

Get your surgeon’s blessing and buy your product(s) prior to surgery so you won’t have to run around searching for the right shade afterward.

A Final Look at Post-Facelift Makeup

You’ll need to avoid hot water after surgery. If your plastic surgeon okays makeup, ask him or her to also suggest a makeup remover. Another concern is sun exposure, since facial burns after a facelift can cause scars. Add approved sun block and a floppy hat to your pre-op shopping list.

Lastly, take your plastic surgeon’s post-facelift makeup tips seriously. View before and after facelift photos so you know what to expect.

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