See Exactly How to Get a Day of the Dead–Inspired Sugar Skull Makeup Look
Halloween makeup can be almost as fun as dressing up, and if you're rocking a look inspired by a sugar skull---or calavera---your makeup can actually be the entire costume.
To get the intricate effect exactly right, we collaborated with Lijha Stewart, Make Up For Ever's director of education and artistry, to transform InStyle.com Beauty Intern Sarah Walter into a sugar skull. And although the finished product may look intimidating, even a beginner can master the effect if you break down each of the patterns into workable shapes.
Click play on the video above to Stewart's work in action, then read the step-by-step guide on how to get the look below. Stay tuned for our flower crown tutorial so you can complete your costume!
1. Begin with an even layer of the Flash Color in White ($99 for 12; sephora.com) all over the entire face with a sponge, and set with the Make Up For Ever HD Powder ($34; sephora.com). "The most important thing to do is to set the color with the HD powder, because the black lines and color on top may get smudged unless you place a barrier in between," Stewart says. With a powder brush, pick up a hot pink eye shadow or blush like the Artist Shadow in S-908 ($21; sephora.com) and blend over your cheek contours, your forehead, and chin, following your natural bone structure.
2. Sculpt the perimeter of your eye socket with a black cream shadow or liner---Stewart used Make Up For Ever's Aqua Black ($23; sephora.com), then intensified the area by blending a matte shadow in the same hue over the top. Leave the center portion open, and with the same brush and product, run the noir shadow in two lines, one starting from the mouth twisting upwards, and another connecting from the ear. Blend the two together using a darker fuchsia color. "Think of it like the painting in the Sistine Chapel where the two hands are almost touching but not quite," adds Stewart. "Don't let the two lines touch, and use your fuchsia and black shadows to create a blend in between to create the illusion of a sucked-in cheek." Add an iridescent powder like Make Up For Ever's Star Powder in White/Turquoise ($20; sephora.com) over the skin to add extra dimension.
3. For the detailing, pick up a black liquid liner with a precise tip, and draw an upside-down heart on the nose. Draw another heart directly above between your brows, and mark out seven lines in a V-shape on your forehead. Connect the lines with curved shapes to create a spiderweb, then add a few dots down the bridge of your nose. Use the same liquid liner to deepen the two lines on your cheeks, and draw a circle on your chin. Continue blending with the pink, black, and fuchsia shadows under your cheekbones so that the fade in color is seamless. With a flat brush, sweep a grey hue beside the lines of the spider web pattern to mimic the appearance of a shadow.
4. Moving on to the lips, feather a hot pink cream hue like the magenta in Make Up For Ever's 12 Flash Color Case ($99 for 12; sephora.com) from the center of the lip moving outward, creating a soft gradient effect.
5. Stewart then lined Sarah's eyes with the Aqua Black product, and added the fuchsia shadow around the perimeter. Pick up the liquid liner again to draw a series of scallop shapes around the eye, and connect them in a circular motion. Then, use a brush with a tapered point to apply the Aqua Black in looped shapes on the forehead, down the nose, and traveling down your chin. "This is a painterly technique, and we're going for a filigree motion where you don't lift the brush off of your face as you're painting," says Stewart. "Practice a few times on your arm, and don't be afraid to correct any areas by layering the white on top. You can make certain areas more defined or precise that way."
6. With the liquid liner, add a few dotted details over the face, and draw in intersecting lines across your lips, and a flower on your chin. Touch up individual areas with the fuchsia or pink shadows as needed, and after a few coats of mascara, press a small amount of the Star Powder directly onto the upside-down heart on your nose.