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Easy Day of the Dead Makeup Tutorial Perfect For Halloween

Learn how to glam up and be the center of attention this Halloween. Follow this easy and fun Day of the Dead makeup tutorial and look beautifully undead!

It’s the Halloween season once again! A lot of people don’t know it’s actually one of the busiest times of the year for makeup artists like me. More people are not only dressing up, but they’re working to get the look right. Over the years, I’ve learned to mellow from all the parties, but that doesn’t mean I don’t put on a great costume. It’s been a three-year tradition among my friends to sit down for an intimate dinner while playing Clues! (How’s that for fun?) Last year, I decided to be Carmen Sanchez from the Book of Life, wearing this beautiful sugar skull on my face. Well, it drew a lot of attention I vowed to share a nice Day of the Dad makeup tutorial. And here it is!

Easy Day of the Dead Makeup Tutorial Perfect For Halloween

How To Look Like Carmen Sanchez With These Simple Steps

Before I proceed to the actual Day of the Dead makeup tutorial, let’s hav a short history lesson, shall we? Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a huge celebration in Mexico from October 31 to November 2. No, this isn’t All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. The sugar skull, which I’m going to share with you, is part of this Mexican tradition and is usually placed on graves to serve as decor. Eventually, it became mainstream and is now part of everyone’s Halloween.

Why am I telling you this? I believe when you know the history or the story behind it, you’ll learn to appreciate sugar skulls and Day of the Dead makeup. Not only that, you’ll get more inspiration!

This Day of the Dead tutorial is quite long, but trust me when I say it’s easy. Just follow the steps and I bet you’ll get the look you want after:


Here’s what you need for this Day of the Dead makeup tutorial:

  • blending brush
  • flat brush
  • buffing brush
  • angled lipstick brush
  • pointed brush
  • shading brush
  • cream-based makeup or face paint

Step 1. Start with a clean face

Before you begin to apply any makeup, make sure your face is clean. Washing it with water and gentle facial soap will do. Pull your hair up or in a ponytail to avoid any hair sticking on your face while you’re doing makeup. It’s also important to have clean hands. You don’t want to have dirt trapped in your pores.


Step 2. Choose your color palette

Once your face is ready, get your color palette. Here, Kryolan 24-color Supra Palette was used, which you can buy on Amazon. This is cream based, so it’s easier to blend – and it does blend very well – on the skin and with the other colors later on. If you don’t want something that’s cream based, another option is to use a white face paint and then layer it with the white shade. If you’re pressed for time, this alternative is better since the cream has to be set into a powder.


Step 3. Start painting your face and neck

The first thing you need to do is to apply the white cream base on your face and neck. Cover all your bases using a buffing brush. Leave the eyes because you’re going to do a different makeup on that area. Once you’re done, brush some powder to let the cream set.


Step 4. Create the eye outline

Then work on your eye outline. Grab your angled lip brush, dab it to your black eyeshadow, and trace the circular outline of the socket of your eyes (after all, you’re making a skull!), going over your brows. The brush greatly helps in creating a thin outline to guide you when you have to put more colors in this area.


Step 5. Color your eyes red

It’s time to fill these areas of your eyes with red color. She’s using Coastal Scents B09, which kind of looks like bold pink. But I actually like playing around with colors for this one. You may want to check out Kat Von D’s Mi Vida Loca Remix. The colors are just as vibrant!

To apply the makeup, use a flat brush and cover the entire socket with red, reaching all the way to the edges of your brows. Sometimes the makeup runs off, to avoid letting it mess with your white makeup, powder some tissue onto the messy areas.

We’re done with the first part of the Day of the Dead makeup tutorial! Now look at the image below.

As you can see, half of the face is already done. But this is just to make the tutorial quicker and easier. All you need to do is to copy the finished product on the blank side of your face. Are you ready?


Step 6. Begin creating the outline of spiderwebs on your forehead

Get your angled lip brush and use it to create outlines for spider webs on your forehead. For the color, your black eyeshadow will do. Rather than tracing lines, it’s better if you use dots so they’re easier to blend in if you make mistakes, which is more likely to happen since getting the right symmetry is usually trial and error.

Steady your hands by putting your arms on the table. After you’ve made the thin outline and you’re happy with the result, you can go back to tracing more solid lines.


Step 7. Start working on the outline of your nose

After you’ve completed the outlines on your forehead, work on the outline of your nose such as the image above. The outline runs all the way to the nostrils.


Step 8. Then proceed with the outline of your mouth

Avoid putting colors on your nose first and proceed with creating your last outline around the mouth to make the jawbone of the skull. Using your angled lip brush and your black eyeshadow, create dotted lines that run from the corner of your mouth all the way to the cheekbone. Then make the same thing from your ears toward the cheekbone. Do the outlines as well from the corner of your lip toward your chin area.


Step 9. Create a soft gradient effect

Go back to your forehead. This time, put more black eyeshadow around the edges of the hairline and the lines of your web using a buffing brush. You also need to use the angled lipstick brush for better definition on the lines.


Step 10. Brush red on your forehead

Add some red eyeshadow near the eyes and below your web to create a nice transition between the whites of your forehead and the reds of your eyes. You can make the gradient soft or bold, but I prefer the former. I like the faded look of the color.


Step 11. Refine the spiderweb outlines

Using an angled lipstick brush, define the lines of your forehead further. This way, the cobwebs become more prominent and visible.


Step 12. Work on the eyes

After you’re done with the forehead, it’s time to work on your eyes. For the Day of the Dead makeup tutorial, there’s a lot of emphasis on silhouettes around the eye area. You can do that by brushing black eyeshadow on the corners of your eyes and then defining the outlines of your sockets using a pencil brush. For this part of the tutorial, your blending brush is important to create the smoky gradient. Use a tissue as well to make sure you don’t end up brushing below your eyes.


Step 13. Place crystals

This is my favorite part! For a more glamorous gothic look, add some rock crystals. The tutorial is using these red ones, but any color will do. Place them in more or less the same distance from each other around the outlines of the socket. The bigger stones can be placed near the eyebrows while the small ones can be below the eyelids.


Step 14. Attach your eyelashes

To highlight the eyes further, use fake eyelashes. For this tutorial, Esquido eyelashes are being used. Of course, you can use your favorite brand. Just don’t forget to make sure you attach those lashes properly.


Step 15. Work on the flower details on the cheeks

We’re almost done! At this point, it’s time to work on the flower details of your cheeks. You need your angled lipstick brush to create the swirls and the pointed brush for a better blending of your black eyeshadows. Using your red eyeshadow, dab red circles on the swirls then trace the edges. Blend the black colors on your upper cheekbones near the ears.


Step 16. Complete the details of the mouth and lips

Work on your lips. Reapply black color on the lines you’ve made using your angled lipstick brush. You will also use it to create the “teeth” on your mouth area by making lines running from the upper to the lower part of your mouth. With the pointed brush, soften the look, making it appear more like a shadow than actual lines.

With a clean brush, apply white makeup in between the lines. Then draw a black line that will run across the middle of your lips (actually the upper outline of your lower lip) to complete the mandible of the skull.


Step 17. Blacken the nose

It’s time to complete the nose. If you’re not using a black face paint or you have a cream-based makeup, cover the makeup with your black eyeshadow.


Step 18. You’re done!

Arrange your hair, add some fake flowers, and you’re done! You’re ready for your Halloween party.


Check the full Day of the Dead makeup tutorial by Shonagh Scott right here:

So what do you think of our Day of the Dead makeup tutorial? Did you have a hard time following through? I hope not, and I definitely wish you’re looking your best for the Halloween season. Now your look is complete, it’s time to get your costume ready and be the human Carmen Sanchez this year.


Do you have a Day of the Dead makeup tutorial of your own? Share your link or photo in the Comments section below. Don’t forget to pair your makeup with this!

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