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5 Things to Know About Covering and Camouflaging Vitiligo

5 Things to Know About Covering and Camouflaging Vitiligo

illustration of woman with vitiligo applying makeup

This content is brought to you in partnership with Vitiligo Vanquish but opinions are those of the Living Dappled editorial team. We strive to work with brands that fit the collective lifestyle of those with vitiligo, and only work with brands we love.

Are you new to covering and camouflaging vitiligo? There’s a lot to know about the types of beauty products on the market and how they work – or don’t. It’s easy to get overwhelmed – and we want to help. Here’s your guide of things to know about covering and camouflaging.

There’s a difference between makeup, tanners and camouflages

If you’re new to covering and camouflaging vitiligo, you might be overwhelmed by the vast array of products on the market. What’s the difference between makeup, tanners and camouflage anyway? Quite a lot actually – and knowing what makes each of these unique can help you find the right product for you.

Makeup is a general term used in the beauty industry to refer to many types of cosmetics. When it comes to products that cover your skin, makeup is typically a foundation that is applied to your skin and sits on top of it. Makeup typically requires daily application and most often comes in the form of creams, liquids and powders.

Tanners and camouflages are cosmetic products that produce artificial skin color by temporarily staining the top layer of skin. They products are available as lotions, creams, mousses, sprays or liquids and can be applied at home or via a tanning booth at a salon. When it comes to vitiligo, the difference between a tanner and camouflage is that tanner is typically applied to the entire body while camouflage is usually applied only to vitiligo spots. As a result, tanners will provide a tint of color to both your natural and depigmented skin while camouflages will color match your spots to your natural skin color. Both tanners and camouflages tend to last a few days before they begin to fade.

Today there are products created specifically to cover and camouflage vitiligo

Over the past few decades, the beauty industry has made significant strides to creates products that are inclusive of all skin colors and types. The good news? Today there are beauty products specifically designed to meet the needs of those with skin conditions – and that includes products that cover and camouflage vitiligo. One of our favorites? Vitiligo Vanquish, a liquid camouflage for vitiligo that allows for color customization and coverage of white spots.

Vitiligo Vanquish was created by and for those with vitiligo in partnership with Fake Bake and comes in a kit that includes everything you need – a 6-ounce camouflage liquid, large and small application brushes, a glass dipping and storage jar, washable blotting cloth and optional color-customizing drops. (All for just $39 by the way.)

Vitiligo Vanquish liquid camouflage box
Shop Now: Vitiligo Vanquish Cosmetic Camouflage Liquid Kit, $39

Most products only provide coverage for up to a few days

You heard that right. While makeup typically requires daily application, tanners and camouflages can last a few days and even up to a week. That’s because tanners and camouflages work by applying an active ingredient – typically dihydroxyacetone (DHA) made from sugar beets or sugar cane – to the surface layer of your skin. The active ingredient darkens the skin and artificially produces a tan – temporarily.

Your skin is constantly shedding – and that means removing the artificial coloring from tanners and camouflages. As a result, most “coverage” lasts up to seven days but will start fading after three days. Products can also start fading earlier depending on wear and tear on your skin. Are you washing dishes? Taking frequent showers? Activities like these can cause products to fade more quickly.

Why does this matter? You want to set realistic expectations for how often you’ll need to reapply product – and make sure your lifestyle can accommodate the time requirement if you plan to use tanners or camouflages frequently. If a product advertises wear that is longer than a week, you can be skeptical.

Not all products are transfer-resistant

If you’re familiar with makeup, tanners or camouflages, you’re likely also familiar with stained clothes, towels, sheets. You name it, someone has seen it. That’s because not all products are transfer-resistant. In other words, not all products are formulated to avoid transferring onto external surfaces.

This can be a source of worry, frustration and even embarrassment to those wearing the product. When shopping, look for products that say “transfer-resistant” and read the reviews to see if previous customers agree with the claim.  

Products can be expensive, but don’t have to be

Tired of feeling like your beauty routine is equivalent to a monthly college loan or mortgage payment? You aren’t alone. People pay for results and while a product that works doesn’t have to expensive, the reality is that cosmetic products don’t necessarily come cheap.

Most makeups, tanners and camouflages cost an average of $10-50 per product. However, the cost per ounce of product can vary – and that’s how products can quickly become expensive. The cost also typically does not include application accessories like sponges, makeup brushes or blotting pads, which can increase your final purchase price. (And remember, you don’t have to break the bank – Vitiligo Vanquish is available for $39 for a 6 oz bottle that can last three to nine months depending on usage.)

If you’re looking to save money – but still find the product that works – you have a few options. First, read the reviews carefully to see if the product is worth the investment. Second, consider the full cost of the product by checking the price per ounce and adding in the cost of any accessories like mitts or brushes. Lastly, some cosmetics stores – including Ulta, Sephora and many department stores – have consultants that can demo products on your skin before you buy.

Share your experience with covering and camouflaging vitiligo below.

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