Creating a Day of the Dead Costume Look

Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is arguably Mexico's most popular holiday. With similar roots to Halloween, the Day of the Dead is a traditional holiday designated to pay homage to the loved ones and family members that have died. The Day of the Dead has become a celebration filled with many joyful festivities and traditions. Small altars are often created in memoriam of the deceased; these being decorated with pictures of the bereaved loved one along with other traditional symbols including sugar skulls, marigold flowers and other gifts. During the Day of the Dead celebration, it has become popular and customary for revelers to wear elaborate masks that look like skulls, or to even paint one's face to look like a skull instead.

Day of the Dead celebrating has become more and more popular in the United States, particularly in communities that have a large Hispanic population. Traditional Day of the Dead costumes, masks and face painting looks have also become popular looks for Halloween. Painting a traditional Dia de los Muertos skull face is simple and easy to do with basic face paints.

Follow These Steps to Create this Look

Step One:  Begin this makeup application with a clean and dry face. Most of the skull face will be created using Mehron's Paradise face paints. We have used Paradise Palette in the basic color selection (#DD507), which has all the colors you will need in order to paint this exotic and spooky look!

Step Two:  Begin by diluting the white face paint within the palette with a little bit of water. Load a flat brush with the paint/water emulsion and brush this onto the face. End the paint at the chin line at the bottom of the face and the hairline around the rest of the face. Do not apply the white paint within the eye socket area, as this will be painted black a little bit later.

Step Three:  Allow the white paint to dry thoroughly and then apply a second coat, paying particular attention to any areas of skin tone that may be still showing. The white areas look best when they are painted to be evenly opaque.

Step Four:  Using a small brush, carefully paint inside the eye socket circular area with a black color that has been diluted with a little bit of water. Don't worry about getting too close to the eyes with this paint as you can retouch this area with an eyeliner pencil later. Stand back and look at the two eye sockets you have painted attempt to make them as even as you possibly can. TIP: Use the bones around the eye as a guide to where you want to paint the black color.

Step Five:  Use a Jumbo Pro Eye Liner pencil in black (# DD280) in order to line the upper lash line, underneath the lower lashes and along the water line of the eye if desired. Touch up any of the black areas with the eye pencil.

Step Six:  The next step is to add "petals" to the black areas, in order to create the look of a flower around the eye. Dilute the red face paint from the basic palette with a little bit of water and load a 1/4' curved flat brush with the red face paint. Press on the petals around the black areas, reloading the brush with paint as necessary.

Step Seven:  Using a small brush and black face paint from the palette, paint the very innermost part of the lips. With a slender liner brush, paint a thin line extending out from each side of the mouth. Cross hatch "teeth" with thinned black paint, creating the look of "teeth."

Your painted skull face is now complete! Use your imagination and get creative with variations on this simple design. TIP: Try painting a spider web on the forehead or even a simple flower or heart shape on the chin. Once your Day of the Dead makeup look is finished, it's time to get into your favorite Day of the Dead costume look. Our model is wearing the Day of the Dead costume (# UA85293) with fishnet tights (# UA01) and black glittery shoes. (# HA122)

The Day of the Dead is a time honored holiday that is much more festive and joyful than its moniker implies. Costumes, gifts, food and exciting festivities make Dia de los Muertos not only a time to remember deceased loved ones, but it's also a way to have some serious traditional Mexican-style fun!