By "makeup", I mean cosmetics, as in lipstick, foundation, eyeliner, etc. My assumption is that it should be written as "makeup", but others have suggested "make up" or "make-up".

In case there are any regional differences, I'm primarily interested in the most idiomatic written form in Britain/Ireland.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Which dictionaries or other sources have you consulted?
    – choster
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 19:10
  • The British National Corpus is actually undecided between "the make up" (four hits that fit the bill) and "the makeup" (five). But it quite clearly rules out "the make-up".
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


Apparently, Brits use the hyphenated and single-word versions about equally often...

...but Americans have more decisively abandoned the hyphen...

In such usages the general trend is always two words -> hyphenated -> single word, so I've no doubt UK usage will catch up soon enough. As of right now I would say both forms are equally "valid" in BrE - but you may as well dump the hyphen now, since we all will eventually.

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