How do I Apply Army Camouflage Makeup?

Written by lyle osinchuk
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How do I Apply Army Camouflage Makeup?
Blend in to your surroundings. (camouflage image by ril from

Camouflage is the art of hiding a shape's optical outline using visual disruption. The idea comes from observing natural adaptations in animals that allow them to blend in with their surroundings.

People have been practicing camouflage since the dawn of man. Hunters would cover themselves with animal hides in order to sneak up on their intended prey. Visual subterfuge is a long-practiced form of deception.

Military advancements in camouflage have gone from simple visual tricks to stealth technology. However for soldiers on the ground, camouflage is still a basic tool used to hide in plain sight. Simple techniques, used to fool the enemy's brain---using mottled patterns to match an environment and seemingly erase the outlines of a body or face---are easily practised using a few sticks of make-up and some natural foliage.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 5 colour compact camouflage kit
  • or
  • Individual double-colour military surplus camouflage sticks:
  • Loam & Light Green (vegetation)
  • Loam & White (snow)
  • Sand & Light Green (dry & desert areas)

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  1. 1

    Choose colours and materials that blend well with the area's terrain and vegetation. If possible you can work with a partner to apply camouflage to each other.

  2. 2

    Apply a combination of two or three colours in irregular shapes. Break the natural contour lines of the face, nose and ears with contradictory patterns that mimic your surroundings. If the area of concealment is heavy with trees and brush, use short vertical stripes.

    Use dark colours on shiny areas such as foreheads, cheekbones, noses, ears and chins. Use light colours on shadow areas under eyes, chins and noses.

    Remember to apply to the back of the neck and exposed arms. The backs of hands should be camouflaged as well. Palms can be left free unless hand signals are required.

  3. 3

    Be prepared to change your face camouflage if you move locations.

  4. 4

    For added concealment include natural camouflage to helmets and uniforms. Secure sticks, leaves and grass to a helmet or uniform using burlap strips, string or elastic bands. Helmets can also be disguised by adding irregular patterns of mud or paint. Natural mud can be used on uniforms to bind with leaves and grass.

  5. 5

    Be careful not to add too much camouflage as this could give away your position. Collect any natural materials for helmets and uniforms from a large area. One location stripped of too many leaves or too much grass can be suspect. Be sure to remove any shiny objects like jewellery or lapel pins from your person.

Tips and warnings

  • Apply baby oil or lotion to the skin first. This makes removing the camouflage much easier.

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