How Different Militaries Use Paints to Camouflage Soldier’s Faces [VIDEO]

For military forces around the world, having effective camouflage is a priority. But not every military uses face paints the same way, instead using variety of techniques to ensure that the faces of their soldiers don’t stand out during operations. Though each area approaches the task a bit differently, they are all effective in their own right.

[Scroll down for video]

Human faces have a specific structure, and the paints help disguise it by rendering many of the traditional features unrecognizable.

One video, included in a report by Popular Mechanics, demonstrates three different camouflage paint styles, hailing from the US, Britain, and South Korea.

As Dr. Christopher Larsen of the One Shepherd Leadership Institute in Missouri explains in the video, “light will cast certain shadows” on the face that are considered “very predictable.” This includes shadows around the eye sockets, under the nose, and below the chin. The human eye is particularly well trained when it comes to recognizing the pattern, making it easier to identify human faces, even in “none human objects,” like the moon.

By altering the shadows through the use of paint, it’s harder to identify a person’s face, allowing them to be more easily disguised in their surroundings.

The US approach to disguising the human face is considered the most “complete,” involving the highest level of coverage. When complete, the entire facial area and exposed neck are covered in paint, with the applied pattern being designed to trick the eye by reversing, pulling, or offsetting the traditional shadow placement.

South Korea uses a less complete approach, though guided by the same principles. Typically, they use a “bold diagonal striping,” which functions as a large pull down the center of the face combined with an offset. It also utilizes paint across the entire face and neck, but the pattern is generally considered less complex.

The “most sparing” coverage is employed by the UK, who recommends that soldiers “not cover everything” and that they “use the camouflage sparingly. The technique involves a series of splotches, not all of which are connected.

Even though the techniques are different, all three “really do solve the problem,” ensuring faces aren’t easily recognized.