Many people dress up in Day of the Dead costumes and makeup for Halloween, although the actual celebration of Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is actually a joyous celebration honoring ancestors. The origins of Day of the Dead or Mexican, and those of Mexican heritage celebrate the day during the first two days of November each year. During these celebrations, many women wear intricate makeup based on the sugar skulls that are part of the celebrations. These fanciful skulls and the elaborate women’s costumes and makeup are sometimes referred to as Catrinas. To capture the intricate beauty of Catrina Day of the Dead skulls, keep these tips in mind:
Do Your Makeup in Steps
When you look at Day of the Dead makeup styles, you may be overwhelmed. The overall look is very elaborate. If you break it down into individual steps, you won’t feel so intimidated and the look will naturally come together. Do the base makeup first, then concentrate on the eyes. When you’ve completed the eye makeup, do the nose and lips. Finally, add any embellishments. You can go with an elegant, black and white style or opt for something really colorful, depending on the look you want.
Day of the Dead makeup starts with a stark, white face. Wash your face to remove any excess oils, add a primer to help your makeup last, then apply a pure white makeup over your face, avoiding the eyelids. Using a makeup sponge will ensure even coverage and help you blend out the edges under your chin and around the hairline. It may take two coats for full coverage. Once the base is in place, set it with a light dusting of facial powder.
Apply several coats of mascara to your lashes for volume and depth. Waterproof is best, and you should let it dry completely before proceeding with the rest of your Day of the Dead makeup. Line your eyes with a liquid eye liner, going all the way around, then color in at least half of your eyelid so the eyes look large and deep-set.
Using a thin eye pencil, draw large circle around the eye sockets (like a skeleton) to be a guide for the makeup. Now use a creamy eyeshadow to first cover your lids, then blend in the entire area inside the circle around each eye, carefully blending to create the illusion of eye sockets in a skull. Use black, dark green or a deep, dark purple for best effect. If you want some added detail, you can use just about any color to create a decorative look around the outside of the sockets. Use a repeating pattern such as dots or scallops in bright colors for a festive look.
Day of the Dead Lip Makeup
Your lips should be vibrant and really “pop” against the white of your skin. You can use Halloween makeup or a standard lipstick to color in the lips in bright pink or red. Let it dry, set with powder, then add a second coat and set it as well. Next, draw a thin, black line extending out from each corner of the mouth and add vertical “stitches” over your lips at intervals so it looks like the mouth has been sewn shut. Continue these out over the black lines.
The nose should look like the nose of a skeleton, so you’ll want to use either a makeup pencil or cream makeup and a thin makeup pencil to color in the tip of the nose in black and creating what looks like a triangular shaped opening with two thin points at the top. Look at a picture of completed Day of the Dead makeup or a skull to get an idea of how this should look.
You’ll probably want to add decorative details at this point. Look at genuine sugar skulls for inspiration or create a theme such as a cobwebs or flowers for your Day of the Dead look. At Halloween Empire, we offer several Day of the Dead makeup kits that will include instructions and patterns for elaborate detailing. We also offer wonderful Day of the Dead transfer tattoos that make it easy to add lots of depth and detail, even if you don’t have a steady hand. A final dusting of translucent or sheer white facial powder will help set your makeup so it doesn’t easily smudge or smear.