Day of the Dead Makeup Tutorial

Monday, October 27, 2014
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When it comes to holidays, it's hard to think of a more interesting one then Mexico's Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. The celebration begins at Midnight on October 31st, when, according to folklore, heaven's gates are opened and deceased children may reunite with their families for the following 24 hours. Adult spirits join the festivities on November 2nd and the remembrance of those passed continues. Beautifully crafted and decorated sugar skulls represent the departed souls. Beautiful and haunting, the colorful and glittering skulls have become extremely popular costume inspiration for Halloween. While dress may vary from traditional Mexican attire to skeleton suits, elaborate face painting is a must. In this how-to post, I'll show you how to create a sugar skull makeup look using a basic face painting kit and a couple cosmetics I borrowed from my makeup bag. In a pinch, you can create this look without face paint – just skip the white base and use eyeliner and lipstick for the black and red shades.

The step-by-step tutorial is after the jump.

Day of the Dead Makeup Tutorial

For this tutorial, you will need:

White, red, and black face paint (I used Sweet Colors Face Paint Kit)
Makeup brushes (I used Snazaroo Face Paint Brushes)
Black eyeliner pencil (I used Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner)
Red lipstick (I used Nars Semi-Matte Lipstick in Shanghai Express)
Cosmetic wedge (optional)

day-of-the-dead (1 of 15)

1. Start with a layer of white face paint applied with a cosmetic wedge or fingers. You can avoid the area around your eyes and the tip of your nose.

day-of-the-dead (2 of 15)

2. Use your black eyeliner pencil to line your eyes all the way around and extend the line out a bit. Why eyeliner? It's ophthalmologist-tested and it freaks me out to put face paint so close to my eyeballs.

day-of-the-dead (3 of 15)

3. Use your black face paint to draw a circle around both eyes using a thin pointed makeup brush.

day-of-the-dead (4 of 15)

4. Fill in the circles with black face paint.

day-of-the-dead (5 of 15)

5. Paint the tip of your nose to look like the nasal cavity of a skull, except cuter.

day-of-the-dead (6 of 15)

6. Use a small makeup brush and red face paint to create half-oval shapes all the way around each black eye circle.

day-of-the-dead (7 of 15)

7. Go around each "petal" with black eyeliner pencil. You can also use your black face paint and a brush but I found the pencil to be much faster and easier to use.

day-of-the-dead (8 of 15)

8. Use the same eyeliner pencil to create a spiderweb on your forehead and a little heart. Apply red lipstick or, if preferred, substitute white lips using face paint or a novelty lipstick.

day-of-the-dead (9 of 15)

9. Use eyeliner or black face paint to extend the line of your lips and draw vertical lines through them and your lips.

day-of-the-dead (11 of 15)

10. Use your red face paint and a makeup brush to create a small flower on your chin, if desired. I mixed in a little yellow to make and orange flower but that's optional. Trace around the shapes with your eyeliner pencil as shown.


Don't forget a pretty flowered headpiece or bolero hat! Have fun, sugar.

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