Makeup, Make-up or Make Up?

Should I write makeup, make-up, or make up?

For the noun and adjective, use makeup.
For the verb, use make up.

Do I Write Make-up, Makeup, or Make Up?

The word makeup is a compound noun, which means it is a noun comprising at least two words. In the case of makeup, it is a compound noun made up of the verb (make) and the preposition (up).

Read more about compound nouns.

Write Makeup (for the Noun)

There are no definitive rules about when to use a hyphen (make-up), nothing (makeup), or a space (make up) with compound nouns. The best thing to do is use your spellchecker to determine whether the one-word version is a spelling mistake. If it isn't a spelling mistake (NB: makeup isn't), then you should use the one-word version as it is the most efficient and is highly likely to be the most current version of the noun. In summary, you should opt for makeup over make-up and make up. Therefore:

Write Makeup (for the Adjective)

As makeup is the most efficient and current version of the noun, it follows that it should be used as the adjective too. Therefore:

Write Make Up (for the Verb)

As a verb make up is a phrasal verb, i.e., a verb made up of a verb and another word (either a preposition or a particle). In the case of make up, make is the verb and up is a preposition. Phrasal verbs are never merged into one word or joined with hyphens. Therefore: Read more about phrasal verbs.

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See Also

What are adjectives? List of easily confused words