In the first few weeks of recovery, the use of post facelift makeup can help conceal the bruising and swelling. However, cosmetics are best avoided for at least a week to prevent irritation, infection, and permanent tattooing, which may happen if the cosmetics get into the incision site.
Moreover, post facelift makeup can help some patients show up for work sooner (without drawing some unwanted attention); however, others forego the use of camouflage cosmetics and just patiently wait for their social recovery.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says that most patients look socially presentable at two weeks postop, although it all depends on the type of skin, extent of surgery, individual healing, and propensity to bruise (some are less likely to bruise than others).
Mineral- and water-based cosmetics with hues slightly lighter than the patient’s skin are the best way to conceal discoloration. It is highly ideal to use brand new makeup, sponges, brushes, and applicators to minimize risk of irritation and infection.
On the other hand, oil-based cosmetics are best avoided while the skin is still sensitive because they may cause irritation; they also require a special remover and are harder to take off than mineral and water-based makeup.
However, camouflage cosmetics are not the only thing that can hide postop symptoms. Large sunglasses, turtle neck tops, and scarves can also come in handy, and of course less “troublesome” than applying makeup to conceal skin discoloration.
Once the postop symptoms are gone, makeup application becomes a breeze. In fact, most facelift patients have mentioned that the reduction in their wrinkles makes it easier for them to apply creams and foundation.
The problem with deep lines—e.g., nasolabial folds, or more commonly referred to as laugh lines, and marionette lines, or creases that run straight downwards from the mouth’s corners—is they can trap powder, foundation, or cream, further accentuating their appearance.
To correct facial lines and wrinkles, Dr. Smiley highlights the importance of lifting the SMAS layer (and not just the skin alone). By going deeper into the facial layer, he can deliver more natural results that can persist long term.
To further smooth out the lines, some of his patients require simultaneous fat injection, which can also be used to create a smoother lid-cheek transition, and to plump up the gaunt cheeks.
And with less facial lines and sagging appearance, and “softer” cheeks, most patients find makeup application more pleasant after surgery.