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Makeup vs. Makeover: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 19, 2023
Makeup refers to cosmetics applied to enhance or change facial features, while a makeover is a comprehensive transformation or renovation of appearance.

Key Differences

Makeup is a term predominantly used to describe cosmetic products like lipstick, foundation, eyeshadow, and more, which people apply to accentuate or alter their facial features. These products can range in texture, color, and purpose, allowing for a variety of looks to be achieved. It's a tool many utilize daily or on special occasions to highlight beauty or express individuality.
In contrast, the term makeover takes on a broader scope. A makeover can involve not just the application of makeup but also hair styling, clothing changes, or even more extensive transformations like cosmetic surgery. The goal of a makeover is typically to achieve a renewed or drastically altered appearance.
While makeup forms a part of the makeover process, it's just one component. A makeover might include a session with a hair stylist, a wardrobe update, or even guidance on skincare. The emphasis is on the overall transformation and not just the face.
Furthermore, both terms, makeup and makeover, have found metaphorical uses in the English language. For instance, the "makeup" of a team could refer to its composition, and giving a room a "makeover" might mean redecorating it.

Comparison Chart

Primary Definition

Cosmetics applied to the face to enhance or alter appearance.
Comprehensive change in appearance.


Focuses mainly on the face.
Can involve entire body, clothing, or even non-human items.


Typically temporary, can be washed off.
Can be temporary or long-term, depending on the changes.


Includes items like lipstick, mascara, foundation.
May include hair, clothing, surgery, makeup, etc.

Metaphorical Usage

Can refer to composition (e.g., "team makeup").
Refers to a significant change or transformation.

Makeup and Makeover Definitions


Cosmetics used to color and beautify the face.
She applied her makeup before the party.


A complete transformation of appearance.
She got a makeover for her birthday, complete with a new hair color.


Products to enhance or change one's appearance.
His makeup kit contains various shades of


An overhaul in attitude or approach.
He had a personal makeover, adopting a more positive outlook on life.


Composition or constitution of something. The makeup of the committee was diverse.


Rebranding or updating of an entity's image.
The company is planning a brand makeover next year.


The way in which something is arranged.
The makeup of the book includes several short stories.


Comprehensive change or renovation.
The old house underwent a dramatic makeover.


A reconciliation or friendly settlement.
After their disagreement, they had a heartfelt makeup.


A significant alteration in style or form.
The magazine had a makeover, sporting a modern design.


The way in which something is composed or arranged; composition or construction.


An overall treatment to improve something or make something more attractive or appealing.


(Printing) The arrangement or composition, as of type or illustrations, on a page or in a book.


A major change in the use of something, or in the appearance of something or someone; a radical transformation.
This room is a mess; it needs a makeover.


An overall beauty treatment (involving a person's hair style and cosmetics and clothing) intended to change or improve a person's appearance


A complete reconstruction and renovation of something;
The blighted neighborhood underwent a total makeover


Can a room have a makeover?

Yes, "makeover" can refer to renovating or redecorating spaces like rooms.

How long does a makeover take?

It varies—from hours for hair and makeup changes to weeks or months for renovations or surgeries.

Can men wear makeup?

Absolutely, makeup is for anyone who wishes to use it.

Is makeup permanent?

Generally, makeup is temporary and can be washed off, but there are semi-permanent options like tattoos.

Are there TV shows about makeovers?

Yes, many shows focus on personal, home, or even business makeovers.

Is a makeover just about appearance?

While often related to appearance, a makeover can also be about attitude or approach.

Is makeup always related to cosmetics?

Predominantly, yes, but "makeup" can also refer to the composition of something.

Is makeup safe for all skin types?

Most makeup is safe, but some individuals may have sensitivities or allergies. Patch tests are recommended.

Are there professionals who specialize in makeovers?

Yes, many stylists, makeup artists, and consultants offer makeover services.

How often should one get a makeover?

It's subjective; some do it seasonally, others for special occasions, and some rarely or never.

Is all makeup vegan?

Not all, but there are many vegan makeup brands available.

Why might someone want a makeover?

Reasons vary—some desire change, a confidence boost, or it might be for a special event.

Is a makeover always drastic?

Not necessarily; makeovers can be subtle or significant, depending on the individual's preference.

How do I choose the right makeup for my skin type?

It's best to consult with a makeup artist or dermatologist for personalized advice.

Can businesses undergo a makeover?

Yes, businesses can have branding or image makeovers.

Can a makeover boost confidence?

Many people feel rejuvenated or more confident after a makeover, but individual experiences vary.

Is natural makeup better for the skin?

Natural makeup can be beneficial for sensitive skin, but it's essential to check ingredients and ensure no allergies.

What's the purpose of makeup primer?

Primer prepares the skin, helping makeup apply smoothly and last longer.

Can makeup expire?

Yes, makeup products have shelf lives, and using expired products is not recommended.

What's in a basic makeup kit?

Often foundation, mascara, lipstick, and eyeshadow, but it varies by individual preference.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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