Cyrus Miller
October 27, 2016 2:31 pm
Universal Pictures

‘Tis the season for PSL’s, Ugg boots, and bundling up — unless you live in Southern California. It’s also about to be Halloween, and that means it’s almost time to attend shindigs dressed as your favorite character from Suicide Squad, Beyoncé à la “Single Ladies,” or the classics: vampire, zombie, bunny, etc.

Below are a few DIY and drugstore hacks to create a brilliant looking makeup design for Halloween without breaking the bank… or your skin.


To create the appearance that you are no longer living, dulling down your skin is the first step. The simplest way to do this is find a foundation or concealer 3-4 shades lighter than your skintone. For those with fair to medium skin tones, find a foundation or concealer that also has the opposite undertone to your skin. So, if your skin has a more yellow undertone, use a lighter and pinker-toned foundation or concealer.

If you are redder, use a lighter and yellow-toned foundation or concealer. This will neutralize the dominant tone and help make you look fairer so you can achieve the ultimate zombie paleness.

For medium-dark to deeper skin tones, find something that is lighter and yellow- or warmer-toned to achieve pale skin without looking ashy. Avoid products with SPF if you expect to take photos.

Tip: If you don’t want to buy a whole foundation for one night, just get a concealer you can use all over. Try Nyx Concealer Wand for $4.99, which comes in six shades, and Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer comes in six shades for $6.49. For darker skin tones, try foundations such as L’Oréal True Match (except don’t find your true match for this look) at $10.95, Black Radiance Pressed Powders for $6.09, or Iman Cosmetics Foundation Sticks for $16. #PastyCorpseRealness


When creating a skull makeup design that requires you to cover part or all of your face with white makeup, layering is key. You will need to work with both cream/liquid makeup and powders to make an opaque white canvas. Start by using the lightest possible concealer or foundation you can find as a base (see above). Then, use Nyx Milk pencil ($4.50) to outline the shapes you want. Roughly color in the areas you want to be white, then BLEND with a sponge, fingers, or a brush.

Add more until the desired color is reached. PRESS a matte white powder shadow to set and build color payoff. Alternatively, you can use baby powder. Finish with a translucent powder if your skin is oily — or if you plan on dancing throughout the night. Use eye and lip pencils to complete the look with whatever colors you need.

Tip: for a dimensional finish, use a frost white shadow on the high points of the face. #StrobingSkullOnFleek

Universal Pictures

Contouring the cheek bones, jawline, and eyes can help create the illusion of being undead — or even just help you change your face shape to more closely resemble your character for the evening. Contour color should be a taupe or grey tone that is darker than your skin tone, creating the illusion of a shadow. If you have a bronzer and a grey eyeshadow, dip your brush in both to mix together your own version. Bronzer alone will only add a healthy glow or a touch of color, which defeats the whole point.

You can also use a grey eyeshadow alone as your contour for a more dramatic effect. To save a few bucks you can pick up a small eyeshadow pallette with taupes, greys, and blacks to do face and eyes from one palette. NYX Natural Eyeshadow palette for $7.50 is perfect. #CheekbonesToDIEfor

Def Jam

There are several ways to fake a hemorrhage. If you only need small bloody details, use a true red or wine-toned lip liner to draw the shape of the wound, and fill in any areas you want to appear injured. Elf Matte Lip Color in Rich Red or Wine are $3 at Target, and they help you with precision outlining , and let you fill in slightly larger areas.

Next, take a liquid lipstick in a true red or wine tone and go over the fake injury. It will add dimensional texture and even more longevity — which means things will look even bloodier. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen or Madrid ($6) are great products to try.

For more freshly bloodied looks, you can add a red gloss on top  —  or even make your own blood at home. To make fake blood at home, you can use corn syrup or simple syrup, cocoa powder, food coloring, and cornstarch. The food coloring may stain clothing, but the cocoa and sugar are antioxidants and hydrate the skin. Fake blood capsules are not very expensive either — just add some ground coffee beans for a thicker, more congealed texture (and ground coffee beans also help you avoid skin irritation — because science). #BeBloodyBeautiful


If you want gore and decay but can’t be bothered with glue and prosthetics — or you are allergic to latex — you’ll be happy to know that faking a cut or bite is cheap and easy. All you need is lash glue and Kleenex (or any tissue). Clean the area where you plan to apply the cut — and make sure you dry the area completely. Apply a thin coat of lash glue to the area. While the glue is still wet, lay a piece of crumpled tissue over the glue. Repeat until the desired thickness and texture is achieved. (Here is a how-to with pictures).

With scissors or a paper clip, make a slit in the tissue (but don’t cut your own skin!). If this makes you nervous, you can tear up the Kleenex before you place it on your skin.  Once your “cut” looks the way you want, cover it with foundation and powder so it will set and match the rest of your skin tone. To make it bloody, fill in the cut as described above.  #DropDeadGOREgeous

Some brands, like e.l.f, have boxes with preselected makeup items for specific looks. It may be nice to have a friend to help you complete these looks — or at least to have fun while watching each other transform. You can also split the cost of any needed supplies.

And be patient, because getting these looks done may take a couple attempts. Most importantly, have fun!