The day of the dead is a very special time of year in Mexico, and it’s celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. The holiday focuses on honoring loved ones who have passed away, so it’s common for people to wear makeup that looks like skulls or skeletons, as well as traditional clothing like ponchos and sombreros.
It’s easy to find Day of the Dead makeup kits at costume stores or online, but you can also make your own with products you already have at home! Here are a few tips:
Use black eye shadow to create a skull-like shape around your eyes
Use red lipstick to create red lips on your face
Use an eyebrow pencil to draw a line across your forehead where there would be hair if you had any (you don’t)
Use white eyeliner pencils to create lines down each side of your nose and over your cheekbones (think Marilyn Monroe)
Day of the dead makeup for woman
The Day of the Dead is a widely celebrated holiday and has a distinctive style of makeup that is traditionally associated with the holiday. The style is known as “sugar skull” makeup because of the way it mimics the skull candy which is used in the celebration. Applying Day of the Dead makeup has become a popular tradition and is simple enough to accomplish for most people. Although there are essentially endless variations, achieving the basic look is easy to accomplish.
Creating the Base
Wash, moisturize, and prime your face. Use whatever cleanser you normally use, or simply use soap and water. A clean and oil-free face is best to ensure the makeup application goes smoothly. Next, apply moisturizer because large amounts of makeup can dry out your skin. Lastly, apply a makeup primer to smooth out your features and help the makeup apply more smoothly and come off more easily.
Washing is a must to make sure the face is oil-free when you start the makeup. Moisturizer and primer will help you accomplish the look better but are not absolutely necessary.
Apply white base to the whole face. Don’t use anything grease-based like clown paint from the halloween store. Instead, using water-based theatrical makeup, like the one sold by Ben Nye, is often recommended. White Kabuki makeup is also a good option. It is probably easiest to order either of these online, if you have that option available. Use a sponge or brush to apply the makeup to your whole face, avoiding the area around your eyes.
- Apply the makeup from the top of your forehead just below the hairline to the sides of your face at the edge of your ear and around your jawline just under the chin. Don’t go all the way under your chin or down onto your neck.
- You may need to apply multiple coats so your face is covered completely. You don’t want the makeup to be too caked or become lumpy, but you want your face to appear fully white with no skin showing through.
- Don’t apply makeup to your lips.
Use a powder to set the base. Using standard setting powder, lightly cover the whole face. Using a brush or a powder puff are both fine. When using a puff, be sure to dab rather than wipe to keep from smearing the white base you’ve just applied.
- Setting with powder is not absolutely necessary, but it will ensure a longer lasting look.
- At this point, you can also lightly brush hot pink eye shadow or blush on the contours of your cheeks, chin, and forehead.
Draw circles around the eyes. You can use an eyeliner pencil, liquid eyeliner, a nude pencil, or even cream eye shadow. The idea is to outline the whole area of the eye that you want to emphasize.The circle should encompass the entire eye socket, from the top of the eyebrows to the lower edge of the eye socket.
For people with thick or tricky eyebrows, a light swipe of an Elmer’s glue stick can help straighten them and even them out. It’s safe and washes off easily with water.
Don’t worry about making a perfect circle, because you can blend it with makeup in the later steps.
Accentuating the Eyes
Apply mascara to both eyes. Don’t be afraid to apply 2 or 3 coats of mascara because you are going for a darker look than you normally would. Using one coat of brown mascara and then one coat of black can give your lashes a fuller look. Mascara and other features don’t need to be perfect given the overall look. It’s also not a big deal if you get mascara on your eyelids since you will be covering this whole area anyway.
- If you want to curl your lashes, this is the time to do it.
- You can also buy mascara that is specifically meant to create more volume, such as Maybelline’s The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara or Urban Decay Perversion Mascara.
Apply black eyeliner to both eyes. Go around the waterline of your eye as you usually would when applying eyeliner, but also cover about halfway up your upper eyelid. Also make sure you get the inside and outside corners well since you won’t be able to get them with paint or eye shadow. Liquid eyeliner works best but pencil is an option.
Blend from eyelashes to eyebrows. Using either an all over eyeshadow brush or a blender brush, blend eyeshadow up from the eyeliner filling in the circle from eyelashes to eyebrow. Then extend shading around the bottom of the eye socket, filling the rest of the circle. One you finish, you should have a fully filled circle around your eye. The circle does not have to be perfect.
- You have a decision to make here: do you want to stick with a basic black and white look or add some color? You have freedom to style your eyes in a way that most fits the look you want. You can stick with all black or use a vibrant color like blue or pink.
Add small dots all around the outer edge of the circle. Place the dots so that they overlap just slightly using the eyeliner from before. If you want a very simple look, you can stick with black filled circle and black dots. If you you used blue or pink, black dots are also good, but if you used black to fill in the circles, you could use bright red paint to make the dots stand out.
Rather than simple dots, you can also draw more elaborate flower petals with bright colors.
Accenting the Nose and Mouth
Paint the lips. Start by applying basic lipstick. Bright red or pale pink are the best options, but feel free to pick what you like best. Then, use black lip liner (or eyeliner) to draw a horizontal line across the middle of your lips.
- You can make the line extend just past the edges of your mouth or you can extend it all the way to your jaw line.
- Don’t make it super wavy, but it doesn’t have to be straight as a ruler either.
Draw small vertical lines through the horizontal line. This completes the stitching of the mouth.
- The size of the stitch lines is up to you, but don’t exceed an inch long.
- How close you place them is also up to you, but don’t get them so close that they blend together.
Paint the nose. Use black paint or liquid eyeliner to emphasize the nose. Start on the bridge of your nose and paint at least to the tip forming a triangle with rounded points. You can also paint the whole nose covering the nostrils if you want to.
Adding Extra Features
Draw spiderwebs on the forehead and cheeks. Draw two lines, like the points of a triangle, on your forehead with the point towards your nose. Draw a third line down the middle of the first two. Connect all three lines with wavy horizontal lines filling in the web. Depending on what type of shirt you are wearing, you can also add spiderwebs to your shoulders or chest.
Draw small crosses and hearts. Using black eyeliner, you can add a small cross to your forehead and one on each cheek. Using red lipstick, draw a small heart on your chin. These touches symbolize the love and spiritual aspects of Day of the Dead.
Draw flowers. You can use flowers to customize the look in a number of ways. Keep it simple with a small flower on the cheek or whole bouquet starting at the temple and continuing down the cheek to your jaw. You can also draw petals around the black makeup on your eyes.