Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Rebecca Zarate MT-BC, AVPT, LCAT


According to Merriam Webster (2022) the definitions for Makeup are as follows; “Cosmetics (such as lipstick, mascara, and eye shadow) used to color and beautify the face”, “A cosmetic applied to other parts of the body”, and “Materials (such as wigs and cosmetics) used in making up or in special costuming (as for a play).” Many of the articles reviewed also discuss the importance of skin care and the rituals that one goes through when applying or removing facial products. For this research, a combination of all definitions above will be most beneficial. However one may define makeup, within the current body of literature, there seems to be a universality about what is known. Though makeup’s ability to physically transform is obvious, those individuals who use it more often, tend to have an affinity for it's emotional impact as well. Whether the application provides a calm space, helps one to better understand themself, provides a sense of control, a hobby, sense of pride, helps increase self-esteem. or allows them to feel a closer kinship to themself. Makeup can be an outward reflection and expression of who someone is. It can allow for people to feel a sense of control and balance in life. The therapeutic value of makeup is therefore an important argument to consider in expressive therapies. he concept of makeup as therapy is extremely new, and the expressive arts therapies field lacks research on this topic. As a response to the gap in literature, a critical review of existing knowledge around makeup, skin-care, face massage, physical touch, and how these may effect ones mental health or sense of self must be explored. This review is a starting point for more in depth studies and ongoing research to be done on how makeup could be used as a therapeutic tool.




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