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Makeup artist applying skeleton makeup on a young woman.

Skeleton Makeup

Knowing how to do skeleton makeup can be the difference between looking cool or looking like a bad Halloween costume. Fortunately, this tutorial makes it easy to learn how to do skeleton makeup with only two shades of eyeshadow and a little bit of eyeliner! Whether you’re gearing up for Halloween or just want to add something ghoulishly fun to your look, this simple skeleton makeup trick will make all the difference.

Get The Look

To get a skeleton look, you’ll want to create stark contrasts between light and dark. Begin by lining your eyes from lash line to brow bone with a heavy black liner (Maybelline’s gel liner is an easy product for beginners). Then, blend your eyeshadow in a circular motion starting at the lash line and moving out towards your temples. Next, take a matte white shadow such as Maybelline’s Fit Me Blush in Snow Rose (I usually use my fingers) and apply it along your cheekbones, forehead, nose bridge, chin—basically everywhere that bones would show through skin. Use some loose powder on top of that shadow so that it doesn’t crease later on.

Step 1 – Prep Your Skin

The first step in any makeup routine is preparing your skin. This can be done with a face wash, exfoliator, or both. If you have particularly sensitive skin or simply want a flawless look that doesn’t require much makeup, try using an exfoliating cleanser like Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash ($15). It’s formulated for sensitive skin, rinses cleanly off of your face without leaving any residue behind and is effective at removing excess oil and dead skin cells that can cause uneven texture. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to exfoliating cleansers so remember not to overdo it and start with a small amount every time you use it.

Step 2 – Base Color

The first thing you’ll want to do is choose a base color that is appropriate for your skin tone. If you are Caucasian, I would recommend using a flesh tone foundation with a warm undertone. If you have darker skin, I would recommend choosing a brown foundation. You can also use an orange-based foundation for someone who wants their make up to look sickly and bruised (such as for zombie or horror makeup). Another option for your base color is using green eyeshadow if you want your make up to look more infected (for zombie makeup) or blue eyeshadow if you want an alien look. Apply your base color all over your face by blending it in so that it doesn’t create a defined line where it ends.

Step 3 – Eyeshadow

We all know that Halloween is coming up, but are you ready? Even if you aren’t dressing up in a costume, there’s no reason why you can’t embrace your inner skeleton with a touch of creepy makeup. You don’t have to go all out, but it doesn’t take much effort or skill to create an easy skeletal look. Using eyeliner or eyeshadow, create a skull on one side of your face and add in some glittery accents like stars or lightning bolts for extra pizzazz. Don’t forget about lips – add some darkness around them so it looks like your mouth goes through your cheeks and into your skull. This is great for everyday wear as well!

Step 4 – Hues, Highlights, and Glitters

For a dramatic look, use different colored shadows on your lids and make your eyes pop with bright colors. Don’t use black eye shadow as it may smudge or run onto other areas of your face. You can wear a natural-looking skin tone for everyday but experiment with bolder shades for a night out on the town. Try different looks every day by switching out between lighter and darker shades of eye shadow. If you’re having trouble applying liquid or cream eyeliner, consider using an eye liner pencil instead to create more precise lines that are less likely to smudge or come off during activities. Experimenting with different makeup styles will help you learn how to apply products in new ways that work for you.

Step 5 – Setting Spray

A setting spray helps your makeup last longer and gives it a matte finish. This is particularly important for people with oily skin, as many cosmetic companies make special sprays designed for that type of skin. It’s also good for preventing/reducing smudging from eyeliner or eye shadow, especially if you use products that are creamy or liquidy in texture (e.g., cream eyeshadow). If you have dry skin, try using a moisturizing lotion before applying your makeup—that way, you don’t have to worry about accidentally drying out your face even more when you apply your spray! A combination of powder and setting spray will probably work best if you have an oily T-zone but dry patches elsewhere on your face.

Go Bold with Black

The eye can be one of your best features, but if you want your eyes to really pop, you need color. Some shades are more forgiving than others when it comes to creating a bold look with them, but black is always in style. To get that sultry look you’re looking for, go ahead and use dark eyeliner around your eyes. If it’s not your cup of tea to use so much eyeliner at once, try using just a bit of mascara on both top and bottom lashes as well as using some eye shadow on top of your lids for even more definition.

Add Some Drama With Stripes!

One of my favorite tips for getting your skeleton look going is adding stripes under your eyes. What I love about these is that you can use a black eyeliner pencil (Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof is a great option) and just fill in your whole eye area with it, then you take liquid liner, dip into some water and go over what you did with black pencil for a darker effect. Or you can use another eyeliner pencil (I like Rimmel Scandal Eyes) or lipstick. The reason why I recommend using lipstick instead of straight liquid liner is because it’s not as harsh and looks more natural than having a really sharp line that cuts your face in half.

Get The Halloween Look

No matter what you’re dressing up as for Halloween, there are few things that are more fun than creating a spooky look for your eyes and face. If you’re looking for something a little extra but not too over-the-top, try out skeleton makeup. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take much time. All you need is a good eye primer (yes, it’s important!) along with some makeup tools such as mascara and liquid eyeliner pencils in black or green. You can either draw on bones directly onto your face or get creative with eye shadow! Whether you want an understated skeleton look or something more in-your-face, these tips will help make your costume as epic as possible.


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