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What is difference between "put on" make-up and "apply" make-up??

Please explain with some sentences.

  • Both are possible but used differently. You can think of wear or put on makeup (or make-up) the same way you wear or put on your shirt. Apply suggests the sense of putting something onto a surface. I hope this helps clarify the nuances a bit. – Damkerng T. Apr 3 '15 at 10:02
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Put on make-up vs Apply make-up

There is no difference in meaning, but there is some difference in use.

The verb "apply" is a bit formal; it's often used in written instructions. I don't mean that it can't be used in conversation. It can be used but the use of "put on" is more common in informal English. Besides, sometimes, it sounds awkward to use "apply" instead of "put on". I think you can feel the difference in the following sentences.

She is putting on her make-up. She is applying her make-up. She doesn't put on make-up. She doesn't apply make-up. However, the use of "apply" sounds good when an instruction is given such as apply this cream twice a day.

  • Thanks @ Khan for your detailed answer. Could you please tell the difference between "put on" makeup and "wear" makeup. – Amir Feb 12 '15 at 9:06
  • As said by Maulik, to wear or to put on make-up is the same and common in use. – Khan Feb 12 '15 at 13:27
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You can use put on, apply and even wear in this context.

OALD has an entry for this word with examples

to put on your make-up
She never wears make-up

You can also apply make-up to dry skin.

I think 'wear/put on make-up' is more common.

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