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Day of the Dead Skull Makeup and Face Paint

Updated on September 9, 2014

Dia de los Muertos -- Mexican Day of the Dead Face Painting and Makeup Ideas

Discover skull face paint designs to celebrate this occasion in style.

Mexican Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is a time for honoring the dead. The skull is an important theme, with sugar skulls are offered to the dead and living.

The sugar skull has influenced the face painting and costumes that can be seen alongside the more traditional skull-shaped masks in Day of the Dead celebrations. As you can see here, the festival's makeup is based on the traditional skull with darkened eye and nose sockets, but also includes intricate and sometimes colorful details on the rest of the face. These include petals around the eye sockets plus a spiders web on the forehead and often hearts and flowers.

I hope you enjoy the different interpretations of the sugar skull face paint and makeup that you you will find here

Sugar Skull Makeup with Emerald Eyes - Day of the Dead Face Paint from 'Beauty by Sarah'

SarahVictor has some wonderful face paint and makeup videos, and I love this Sugar Skull one she has created for Dia de los Muertos.

Sarah does speed videos but includes on-screen text that lets you know exactly what products she is using.

I love the green she uses for the eye sockets. I also really like the way she demonstrates how to get those straight lines on your forehead! She shows a very nice example of how to create that spider web look that is so much a part of the Sugar Skull makeup for women.

I don't think the video preview picture below does this Day of the Dead face painting justice so do take the time to watch it. The eyes in particular are beautiful and look like emerald velvet.

Begin with the Basic Sugar Skull and Line Detail

White Face, Black Outlines

To start off, you need to create a blank white skull face and then to add in eye sockets, teeth, and the heart-shaped areas on nose and chin with black face paint.

A black and white set of face paints like this one from Snazaroo will be ideal for this. They are also safe and non-toxic, if you have any younger Day of the Dead fans wanting their faces painted.

Mehron Makeup Color Cups (.5 oz) (Purple)
Mehron Makeup Color Cups (.5 oz) (Purple)

Professional/theatrical purple makeup from Mehron.


Day of the Dead Skull with Purple Eyes - Dia de los Muertos Makeup by Goldiestarling

Here is another stunning example of a Sugar Skull Dia de los Muertos face painting for women, this one from the talented goldiestarling.

This one is narrated so you will get some help, but she does warn you at the beginning that it takes a long time. In my opinion the results are worth it!

A mix of face paint and regular makeup products are used here, but they are all listed below the video over on YouTube if you want to recreate this look. That gorgeous rich purple is from the Mehron Tropical palette. For a finsihing touch she adds rhinestones around the eyes (use eyelash glue for a safe way to stick these to skin if you want to try it yourself!).

This Sugar Skull design was inspired by a painting by Sylvia Ji.

Mexican Day of the Dead Face Design - Sugar Skull Makeup Photos from DaCheller

This Sugar Skull face painting from tortolita07 is another step by step tutorial, this time with a beautiful turquoise blue in the eye sockets.

Team it with hot pink for a vibrant but feminine look. It's perfect for partying, and even better with that hair!

I love the way those eyes shimmer. She used an aqua glitter over the top of eyeliner base for that sparkly effect.

Dio de los Muertos Face Painting - Dead Day Face Step by Step from MrDMontage

Can a man wear sugar skull makeup? Of course he can! Where would all those skeleton brides be without a Day of the Dead groom?

As MrDMontage shows, the sugar skull look is perfect for guys. Yes, this painting has flowers, but there's nothing girlie about it. His video shows you the progression of his Dia de los Muertos makeup step by step.

Only 2 colors are used, but don't be fooled -- a great deal of work went into this one to give it that amazing look. The mouth is particular is just awesome!


© 2010 Indigo Janson

Did you like the look of this fun makeup?

Submit a Comment
  • deckdesign profile image


    6 years ago

    I've always found the Day of the Dead masks fascinating. Great job on putting this lens together.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Beautiful lens, thanks so much for sharing!

  • SpannerMontanna profile image

    Neil Spencer 

    6 years ago from uk

    This is very interesting

  • poorwendy lm profile image

    poorwendy lm 

    6 years ago

    I love Day of the Dead. It's such a colorful celebration.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    6 years ago from UK

    @Lee Hansen: I'd love to go to one too. I hope everyone who is celebrating has a fantastic time! And thanks for your great comments, Pastiche!

  • Lee Hansen profile image

    Lee Hansen 

    6 years ago from Vermont

    I love dia de los muertos skull art and makeup. I've creates a few pieces of sugar skull art and hope to get a bigger collection going this year. I'd love to go to a Day of the Dead party or celebration. Love this lens!

  • aesta1 profile image

    Mary Norton 

    6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    These are great make up.

  • VspaBotanicals profile image


    6 years ago


  • KimGiancaterino profile image


    6 years ago

    Yes, very nice! Day of the Dead is very popular here in Los Angeles. The artwork is always so colorful and interesting. We generally visit The Folk Tree in Pasadena to see what the local artists have come up with.

  • firestormomega profile image

    Alan Paine 

    7 years ago from Los Angeles

    Awesome channel! Is it ironic to say, Long live Day of the Dead?

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Wonderful tutorials! Would have been nice to have the first one with a narration, but all and all it was very well done!

  • MindPowerProofs1 profile image


    7 years ago

    I will definitely try one of these on myself to scare one of my friends who is easily frightened. Waiting for the scream.Thanks for the idea

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    You've got this one dead right and spot on!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Day of the Dead Skull Makeup and Face Paint is just awesome and so is your lens. great work.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    7 years ago from UK

    @anonymous: Thanks Marlene. Hope you have a great birthday. I'll go fix the countdown. :)

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    love it planning on doing this on my birthday which is the day of the dead, and its on November 2nd November 1st is actually saints day.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    These faces are actually pretty scary. Reminds me of voodoo rituals.

  • JoleneBelmain profile image


    7 years ago

    The sugar skull it beautiful, as are the rest of the face paintings.. just amazing :)

  • punkgrinder profile image


    8 years ago

    Wow, really beautiful designs, i would love to be in Mexico at this time, hopefully one day. Great lens!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Great faces! I think you should paint some of celebrities without makeup faces. :)) Keep good work!

  • MamaBelle profile image

    Francis Luxford 

    8 years ago from United Kingdom

    Ah, these designs are super cool. Great lens!

  • Paul Ward profile image


    8 years ago from Liverpool, England

    There's not enough de los Muertos in celebrations - Angel Blessed

  • HealthfulMD profile image

    Kirsti A. Dyer 

    8 years ago from Northern California

    Love the Day of the Dead. Great costume ideas.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Great guide :D

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Awesome lens. The face painting is fantastic

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Amazing. Love this.

  • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image


    8 years ago from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

    WOW! These are amazing...and beautiful :)

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I used to love that day in Mexico.. I lived there for about 6 months many years ago! The day of the dead is a serious religious holiday for them, but for me it was just fun :) Thanks!

  • PromptWriter profile image

    Moe Wood 

    8 years ago from Eastern Ontario

    They are actually quite beautiful.

  • lasertek lm profile image

    lasertek lm 

    8 years ago

    Very nice indeed! I think this is the first time I have seen & read an article about this. Great job!

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @anonymous: It is indeed a lovely art form, the detail is so intricate and I love this attitude of celebration towards death!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    It is a beautiful art form and an interesting experience to honor our ancestors. Great lens and great idea for Halloween.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @Mihaela Vrban: But good scary! ;) Maybe more one for older kids and adults though.

  • Mihaela Vrban profile image

    Mihaela Vrban 

    8 years ago from Croatia

    This looks really scary! :)

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @justholidays: I love these sugar skull face paintings and it was fun to show them off -- I almost like Day of the Dead more than Hallowe'en! Thanks for visiting.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @SofiaMann: Muchas gracias, Sofia!

  • justholidays profile image


    8 years ago

    Excellent page on how to make a skull makeup! You definitely are the Queen of Face Paint!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Fantastic. Great lens.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @Kiwisoutback: Thanks very much, Kiwi!

  • Kiwisoutback profile image


    8 years ago from Massachusetts

    It's awesome, looks very cool. Lensrolled to my Mexican t-shirts lens.


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