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Makeup for Day of the Dead and Temporary Skull Face Tattoos

Updated on August 21, 2014

Sugar Skull Makeup Tutorials for Dia de los Muertos

The Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, holiday is a time for celebrating those you have died and a time for dressing up in skeleton costumes.

As part of elaborate Day of the Dead costumes, participants wear face paint, or make up in elaborate colorful sugar skull patterns as seen to the right, or as just black and white skeletons.

There are many different online articles and makeup video tutorials to help you get ideas for creating your own sugar skull skeleton makeup. I've research and watch many of them to find the best makeup tips for this page.

You can also find easy ways of re-creating the Dia de los Muertos looks with temporary face tattoos, stencils and templates.

Dama de la Muerte by Juliana Coutinho. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Day of the Dead Make up Examples

Image a composite of Caitlin Doe's Day of the Dead, Ray from LA's

Dia de los Muertos Girl and Erika Arlene's La Muerte. Used under Creative Commons License.

Facepainting Event for Dia de los Muertos

Image by gozamos
Image by gozamos

Day of the Dead Face painting Event in Chicago by gozamos. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Snazaroo Face Paint Starter Kit Amazon

Snazaroo is billed as the world's favorite and easiest face and body paint.

Snazaroo Face Paint Mini Starter Kit
Snazaroo Face Paint Mini Starter Kit

The Snazaroo face paint kit comes with 6 colors for painting faces with 3 brushes and 2 sponges.

This kit is recommended for face painting at carnivals and other events, like Dia de los Muertos.

 

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Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Makeup

Image by Lai Ryanne
Image by Lai Ryanne

Face Painting Sugar Skulls for Day of the Dead

Sugar skulls have become *the* popular Halloween look to try. The colors, designs and creativity may have a lot to do with this growing popularity.

Face painting for Day of the Dead takes several things: a design, the right makeup, a steady hand, an ability to copy or create the Dia de los Muertos face looks and evidenced by many of the tutorials a lot of time and patience to apply all of the make up.

Start by looking at the different Day of the Dead faces and video tutorial to get an idea of the design to use. You can even Google for more ideas. I would suggest Googling for "Dia de los Muertos." If you are Googling with children you may get some scary or PG rated images from the Day of the Dead movies.

Once you have your design, decide the colors you will need for your makeup. Three brands that are highly recommended are the Snazaroo face paint (see starter kit above), NYX brand products (seen below) and Mehron theatrical products.

Some products come so you need to use brushes, others, like colored pencils are used for 'drawing' on the makeup. Drawing may be easier than painting for some people.

Start painting or applying. Be sure to allow plenty of time before the party or event to apply your Dia de los Muertos face paint, since it make take some time.

Remember to take pictures from your event!

Face Painting by Lai Ryanne. Used under a Creative Commons License

Day of the Dead Makeup Video Tutorial

In this video tutorial from Tina Phan, makeup artist Allyson Garro of Coco Coquette explains how she creates a sugar skull look for Dia de los Muertos.

Finished Sugar Skull Face Makeup

Image by Lai Ryanne
Image by Lai Ryanne

Sugar Skull Face Makeup for Day of the Dead Party by Lai Ryanne.

Used under a Creative Commons License

Tips for Applying Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Makeup

Deciding to get made up in Dia de los Muertos facepaint takes a bit of pre-planning and a lot of creativity.

  1. Watch video tutorials and read online tutorials.
  2. Select a design.
  3. Choose your makeup or face paint.
  4. Use a steady hand.
  5. Allow enough time to apply the makeup.
  6. Last Resort: Use a Temporary Tattoo or Template

Sugar Skull Makeup for Women - Videos

Sugar Skull makeup tutorials are very popular on YouTube. Here are some of the best ones that I found from venusocean, Laura Fisher, goldiestarling, BargainPrincess and Ilovegerado.

Recommended Makeup from Day of the Dead Tutorials

This is just some of the basic make up mentioned in the tutorials to get you started.

NYX COSMETICS JUMBO EYESHADOW EYE PENCIL
NYX COSMETICS JUMBO EYESHADOW EYE PENCIL

NYX jumbo eye shadow pencils in a variety of colors.

 
NYX Slim Eye Pencil - 906 - White
NYX Slim Eye Pencil - 906 - White

A white eye liner to help in filling in the white skin.

 
NYX Slim Eye Liner Pencil 901 Black
NYX Slim Eye Liner Pencil 901 Black

Eyeliner to help with defining the shadows and the darker areas of the skull.

 

Sugar Skull Makeup for Men - Videos

In these video tutorials from pfenixignited and duranleejo we see two different sugar skull skeleton make up looks designed for men, the first very colorful and the second more subdued in tones of black and white.

Online Tutorials for Day of the Dead Makeup

Some of the many online tutorials that will help you in creating your Dia de los Muertos makeup look. Indigo Janson has great online visual tutorials with step by step images on various Day of the Dead face painting looks.

More Day of the Dead Makeup Examples

Image a composite of Day of the Dead by David Sorich, Dia de los Muertos by Cody Garcia and Las Muertos by Tomascastelazo. First two used under a Creative Commons License.

Las Muertos © Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Sugar skulls have taken over the online makeup world as *the* Halloween face to try.

The elaborate color palette, fine shading details, and exaggerated anatomy pay tribute to [and honor] the deceased during the Day of the Dead.

— Beautylish

Inspiration for Day of the Dead Makeup

One of the best ways to choose a Day of the Dead look is to look at designs done by other people, then choose the best design, or elements of different designs to create your own unique look.

Day of the Dead Skeleton Makeup

Image by Olaf
Image by Olaf

Tips for Applying Day of the Dead Skull Makeup

Creating a skeleton makeup look is very similar to the sugar skull look, only with the skeleton you have a more limited color palate (black, white and sometimes gray).

Take a look at the video tutorials below, to get an idea how to be coloring and shading your face. A lot of this look is emphasizing bone structures, using make up to create shadows or contours of the cheekbones

Several of the makeup brands that are highly recommended are the Snazaroo face paint (see starter kit above), the NYX brand of eye pencils and eye shadows and Mehron.

Some people may find it easier to paint with face paint and brushes, others may find it easier to draw the designs with colored pencils or use a combination of the two.

Since the face paint requires some time to get it on, be sure to allow enough time before any costume event to get the make up in place.

Bring along a small makeup kit with brushes to do any last minute touch up after eating food or drinking beverages.

Applying Day of the Dead make up by Olaf.

Skull Makeup Video Tutorials

Video Tutorials from LetzMakeup, xxmichaeljames and MrDMontage on how to create a skull or skeleton look.

Skeleton Face Paints on Amazon

2 Large 18ml Snazaroo Face Painting Compacts Colors: 1 BLACK and 1 WHITE - PERFECT FOR ZOMBIES
2 Large 18ml Snazaroo Face Painting Compacts Colors: 1 BLACK and 1 WHITE - PERFECT FOR ZOMBIES

This two color Snazaroo combination features black and white compacts, the colors needed to create a skeleton.

Mix the colors together to get any gray that is needed.

 

Skull Full Face Temporary Tattoo on Amazon

Skeleton Death Skull Full Face Temporary Tattoo Kit - Set of 2
Skeleton Death Skull Full Face Temporary Tattoo Kit - Set of 2

Create the look of a deathly skeleton skull with this set of 6 full face temporary tattoos.

Apply with water and finish up with black make up around the eyes.

Comes with 2 full face tattoo kits.

 

Sugar Skull Skeleton Temporary Face Tattoos

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon

Make up Your Face with Temporary Face Tattoos

Temporary Face Tattoos is another option for creating a Day of the Dead Face look. These pre-made, pre-designed temporary options are especially appealing to those who may not feel terribly artistically inclined.

The tattoos are fairly easy to apply with just water and can stay on for several days if desired before removing with rubbing alcohol or oil.

Each of the kits has a predetermined sugar skull or skeleton set of tattoos. The number of individual tattoos that come with any particular kit varies.

There are a few variations of the designs with whichever kit is chosen so you can create your own version of the look depending on where you place or orient the tattoos.

You can also vary the design by applying or filling in face paint. In the face tattoo example to the right one eye has been painted with black and the other left alone.

Day of the Dead Temporary Face Tattoo available on Amazon.

Day of the Dead Temporary Face Tattoo Kit

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Full Face Temporary Tattoo Kit - Set of 2 Complete Kits
Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Full Face Temporary Tattoo Kit - Set of 2 Complete Kits

Create a beautiful sugar skull skeleton face mask with this set of 23 temporary tattoos.

Applies easily with water. Finish up the look with white make up.

Comes with 2 full face tattoo kits.

 

How to Apply Sugar Skull Makeup with Temporary Tattoos - Videos

In this video Rob Hawes demonstrates how to apply the full face Sugar Skull tattoos.

Sugar Skull Face Makeup Template or Stencil

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon

Use Templates for Day of the Dead Makeup

Another technique for creating Sugar Skull Faces is using pre-made face templates or stencils to create Day of the Dead Makeup look.

The example shown here to the right is just one of many templates from the Nix collection which were created by Europeand Body Art and airbrush artist, Nick Herrera.

Designed to be used with an airbrush makeup system for airbrush face painting, to create a consistent professional look, these templates could also be used as stencils with makeup and brushes or sponges.

Designs come displayed in colorful versions or black and white, they come with basic and more advance versions of the templates. What the final look is up to you, depending on where you place the stencils and the colors.

Sugar Skull Skeleton Airbrush Makeup Face Template available on Amazon and eBay.

Colorful Sugar Skull Face Templates on Amazon

Nixs Collection-Sugar Skull #2 Airbrush Makeup Face Template
Nixs Collection-Sugar Skull #2 Airbrush Makeup Face Template

This version of the Nix collection sugar skull is designed to be done in a variety of colors.

The templates include basic stencil versions and more advanced versions.

More colorful Day of the Dead stencils available on Amazon.

 

What do you think about the ornate face painting for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)?

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    • SimonJay profile image

      SimonJay 3 years ago

      Dia dos mortos is basically Halloween but celebrated on different days, these are some great ideas here, but wow there's so many here along with a lot of videos.