Updated on September 25th, 2018
Day of the Dead makeups are some of the most dramatic looks on Halloween, if they are done properly. Using different colors, broad lines, and accents like jewels can create some truly beautiful and creepy artwork.
But, drawing on human skin isn’t easy, especially on the face that has a lot of contours and different textures. It can be tough to do the elaborate designs that make Day of the Dead Halloween makeups look so amazing.
If you want your Day of the Dead makeup to look stunning instead of sad and creepy instead of cruddy it may take some practice.
Here are some practical tips that you can use to make sure that your day of the dead makeup is gorgeous and not just gory.
1. Get the Right Tools
Because Day of the Dead makeup requires a lot of detail it’s important that you use the right tools to create the elaborate lines and designs used in the makeup.
If you want to really look impressive you might want to invest in a makeup airbrush machine. Airbrushing is a fantastic way to get model-worthy makeups but the machines can be pricey and most people don’t want to spend that much on something they will only use once a year.
If an airbrush machine isn’t in the budget you get the job done with simple cosmetic sponges and paint brushes along with the right makeup.
Pick up an assortment of paintbrushes ranging from very fine brushes to thick brushes for broad and sweeping strokes. Paint brushes are easier to control than makeup brushes and less expensive.
2. Use Stencils
If you don’t draw very well freehand you should stencils to get the lines and designs that you want.
You can use regular stencils for some designs but for the linework you might want to create a custom stencil that is fit to your face.
You can create a custom stencil using a home printer. Find a design that you like online and then print it. Cut the design out and you can use that as stencil to get the look you want.
If the design is too big or too small for your face just change the size of the design on the computer and reprint it to get the fit right for your face.
In order to get the best color payoff and create the best designs skip traditional makeup and use body paint or highly pigmented Halloween makeup.
Body paint will be a little thicker than traditional makeup but the colors will be much more saturated and the paint will stay in place better than traditional makeup.
You will need either baby shampoo or cold cream to remove the body paint but if you are going to be wearing the makeup for a whole day or an entire evening and you don’t want to have to reapply it every half hour or so then you definitely should use body paint instead of makeup.
Body paint is easy to apply with brushes and sponges. Just be sure that one layer of color is totally dry before you apply another color so that the colors don’t bleed. You can set the entire thing with some translucent face powder.
4. Prep Your Skin
Because a Day of the Dead makeup will use your entire face you need to prepare your skin well before applying the makeup.
Give yourself a quick facial by holding your face over a bowl of steaming hot water. Put a towel over your head like a tent so that the steam from the bowl goes directly into your face.
That will open your pores and get your skin ready. After you steam you face for about 15 minutes wash your face with a gentle soap or baby shampoo.
Then apply moisturizer. When that is dry apply a good makeup primer. Let the primer set for about 30 seconds and then you can apply the makeup.
The primer will even out your skin texture and make your face totally smooth. It also will seal in moisture so that your skin won’t get dry under the body paint or heavy makeup.