George Miller said the crux of the decision was to consider the concept of a “half-life” for this particular group of people. There are some people who are considered “to live to the fullest”, that would be Max (an outsider) and Imperators like Furiosa. The Imperator’s design is described as having the top of their shaved heads covered in black — and the idea is that if they start to get sick and prove themselves “semi-living” they will turn completely white.
Miller went into detail about this in a conversation at the Sydney Opera House. It’s something he hopes will become clearer on viewing, as it’s one of his favorite little details about “Road of Rage.”
War Boys have a “half-life” and a lower lifespan that is key to their appearance, and it makes a lot more sense to get rid of them. Instead of painting their faces in war colors, they instead used a bony look with sunken eyes and cheeks highlighted with black shadows on a pure white base. Their scars are also meant to emphasize their bony appearance as they have gone to great lengths to embrace an early death, up to and including the adoration of car parts that will outlast their short lifespan. Surname.
It is details like this that make “Mad Max: Fury Road” an all-time hit movie that you like to watch over and over again.