How to Do Day of the Dead Makeup

woman wearing black and yellow floral tube-neckline dress

How to Do Day of the Dead Makeup

The Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrated every year from November 1st to November 2nd. It is a time to remember and honor departed family members, friends, and loved ones. On this special occasion, many people wear colorful, theatrical makeup to celebrate the lives and memories of their beloved. If you’re looking to learn how to create beautiful Day of the Dead Makeup, read on.

What You’ll Need to Do Day of the Dead Makeup

Before you get to the actual creative process of doing your makeup, you’ll need to have the right supplies and materials on hand. Here’s a list of items you’ll need:

  • White face paint
  • Black eyeliner pencil and/or black face paint
  • Colored face paint (any colors you like)
  • Makeup sponges
  • Makeup brushes (round, thin and flat)
  • Makeup remover wipes/Q-tips/cotton swabs
  • A mirror for reference
  • Fake eyelashes (optional)

Step 1: Prepping the Skin

The first step in doing your Day of the Dead Makeup is to prep your skin. The key here is to make sure your face is clean and free of any oils or makeup residue that may interfere with the makeup. Begin by washing your face with a gentle cleanser, then follow up with a toner and a light facial moisturizer. Once your skin is prepped, your makeup will last and look fresh all night long.

Step 2: Applying the Base Face Paint

Your chosen base face paint color doesn’t have to be white – you can use any color you like. Start by dipping the makeup sponge into the paint and applying it all over your face. Make sure to blend in the edges and keep the application even. Once your base is down, you can start adding the other colors and details.

Step 3: Adding the Eye Design

One of the most common and recognizable Day of the Dead makeup styles is the eye design. Begin by drawing a curved line across the brows with either a black eyeliner pencil or black face paint. This line will be the base for your eye design. You can then use the eyeliner or face paint to draw in the details and designs of your choice. Animal skulls, intricate patterns, or a combination of both are all popular choices for eye designs.

Step 4: Adding Color

Once you’ve drawn in your eye design, it’s time to add color. Using whichever colored face paint you choose, begin by filling in the design. For example, if you’ve drawn in a skull, you can use your chosen color to add details and highlights, such as the teeth and eyes. Keep in mind that it’s better to start with a light color and then go back in with a deeper shade to add depth and contrast.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Now that the main elements of your makeup are in place, it’s time for the finishing touches. You can add fake eyelashes for extra drama, or use a thin brush to draw in details or add gems or glitter around the eye design. Be sure to blend everything in with a damp sponge or brush. You can also draw in spider webs around the eyes, or add a few feathers or rhinestones. The final touches are totally up to you.

Step 6: Clean Up

When you’ve finished your makeup, it’s time to clean up. Use makeup remover wipes or a Q-tip soaked in remover to carefully remove any excess paint. This is especially important for the eye area. You can also use a damp cloth to gently remove any remaining glitter or gems.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Creation!

Now that you’re all done, take a few moments to admire your amazing creation. Taking the time to do a beautiful Day of the Dead makeup look is a great way to remember and honor the people who are no longer with us. You can even take some selfies for posterity to show off your handiwork.


Creating a great Day of the Dead makeup look may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. By following the steps outlined here, you will have all the ingredients you need to create beautiful, unique makeup that honors the memory of your loved ones.

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