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The Medical Makeup Artist

Medical Makeup Artistry is an aspect of makeup artistry that many people may not have ever considered or even knew existedAt BAMM, we believe it is an integral component of any Makeup Artist’s skill set. It forms a fundamental part of the training on our Peter King Tv & Film Makeup Course and is a highly desirable course for our Bridal Makeup students too.

Sue Bardwell, who works for the charity run organisation Changing Faces, is a highly skilled Skin Camouflage Practitioner who forms our team of tutors at BAMM. We are very grateful to have her expertise on board and there is, quite possibly, no one better suited to teach our students this makeup topic.  


For those of you not familiar with the incredible work that Changing Faces do here is a brief insight into how and why skin camouflage came into being:

Skin Camouflage originated after the devastating effects of skin traumas that soldiers endured after the 1st world war.  In 1932 ‘Covermark’ produced the first line of camouflage cream. The government funded the administration of the creams to war veterans, through trained nurses and local people from the British Red Cross.  After 40 years, the Red Cross’s administration of skin camouflage slowly became lower on the list of priorities (despite it’s continued need) and in 2012 the job role was handed over to the charity run organisation Changing Faces.

Dr James Partridge pioneered Changing Faces in 1992- after he was involved in a serious car accident that left 40% of his face and body covered in burns. Sadly, the result of Dr James’s injuries did not stop at extreme scarring but also changed attitudes in people toward his appearance. This prompted his to formulate the Face Equality Campaign- a campaign born out of a need to raise awareness for people facing the affects of facial disfigurement.

You can find out more about the charity via their website:


Through their continued work we are finally starting to see a positive shift in the media’s attitude towards disfigurement.

The Changing Faces Makeup team impart an enormous amount of knowledge to our students during a typical visit to BAMM- from understanding and recognising medical skin conditions and skin abnormalities (and how to camouflage them) to using the correct colours from a branded cosmetics palette in order to be able to effectively conceal a tattoo ( whatever the size).

Following a one-to-one Q & A session with Sue Bardwell, between us, we will endeavour to cover all your unanswered queries:

medical_makeup_artist_1How did you get into skin camouflage?

I originally came from an art background and gained a degree in Art – although I really didn’t know how to utilise it as a career.

It took me ages to find a niche that held my interest and after I finished my degree I needed to pay off my college debt, so I worked as a posty for the Royal Mail.

When I left I received a very generous farewell collection from my colleagues and decided to use the money to pay for evening classes to do a VTCT in Fashion Photographic Makeup. I followed this up with a VTCT in Media Makeup at Swindon College.

After my training, I then started Face Painting for my in laws (who were all performers at the time) and it was from here that my love of transformative makeup came!

I was volunteering for the Red cross for a ‘Home from Hospital’ scheme when I saw the skin camouflage service advertised on a leaflet (some 14 years ago). I thought “what an amazing way to help people, using skills that I enjoy doing!”.

During this discovery, I then began teaching ‘Visual Studies’ on the Media Makeup Programme at Swindon but, after having children, I needed to reduce my hours. I  now freelance and teach face painting to parents whilst volunteering and running my Skin Camouflage Clinic at the hospital, which I find extremely rewarding.

What type of person do you think would make a good skin camouflage practitioner?

  • Somebody who has had first hand experience of using skin camouflage and has seen the beneficial effects.
  • Parents who have a child /children who suffer with a skin trauma.
  • Makeup Artists who would like to extend their skills into a more therapeutic field.
  • Beauty Therapists who wish to offer this as another service to clients
  • Nurses who would like to extend their therapeutic role into a cosmetic field.
  • Anyone who wishes to volunteer for a charity in a rewarding and fulfilling field.

In your years of administering skin camouflage, what is the most valuable lesson you have learnt?

Never assume, never promise, never judge. Be realistic in terms of what you can achieve in a limited amount time.  Listen.  Always know your limitations and be happy to signpost to relevant organisations.


What is the general procedure of administering skin camouflage to a client?

  • You normally have 1 hour with the client and in that time I will do the following:
  • Assess the clients skin condition
  • Find the best colour match
  • Apply camouflage cream
  • Apply setting powder
  • Get the patient to apply the cream themselves (this is the key to success)
  • Fill in paper work (which includes a prescription request form,  enabling the client to get the creams on the NHS- at the doctor’s discretion).

 How does someone train to be a Skin Camouflage practitioner?

Contact Changing Faces and see if there is a need for a practitioner within your local area.

If you are chosen to be trained by Changing Faces you need to be aware of the commitment and skills that are required in order to undertake this volunteering role.

There are three areas of expertise in which you need to become competent in to become a skin camouflage practitioner:

  • The Clinical Environment
  • Communication Skills
  • Practical Application of the creams and powders.

You will train under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, on a shadowing programme, until you have successfully completed your training and you will be required to maintain your skills following your qualification.

For an insight into Skin Camouflage please contact us to book on to an introductory day course.