Today my friend Paula, one of the Drop Dead Gorgeous artists, is guest posting and showing us some of her designs and techniques for Day of the Dead Makeup, also known as Sugar Skull or Dia de los Muertos Makeup.

Day of the Dead Makeup Feature

Face Painting for Dia de los Muertos is not only to remember the dead, but to overcome the fear of death and to celebrate life!


Supplies for Day of the Dead Makeup:

  • Water Base Face Paint
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Moist towel
  • 2 Sponges
  • 4 Round Brushes.
  • Dry black powder make up or eyeshadow
  • 1 Wooden dotter
  • Glitter puffer
  • Eyelashes
  • Mascara.
  • Rave Hairspray

Recommended brands for face paint Snazaroo, Wolf and Ben Nye.
Brushes and sponges can be purchased at your local art store.

step 1

Start with a clean Face. Apply a small amount of lotion on your face before you begin.

Cut a round sponge in half. Spray water on sponge and directly on White Make up cake.

Start on the center of the forehead and move down towards your chin.

Use flat side to apply a white base.

TIP: Squeeze sponge to get into small areas.

Make sure the area you are working on is fully loaded with color before you move one to the next section of the face.

Wipe around the eyes and under the chin with the damp towel if necessary.Day of the Dead Makeup 1

step 2

Cut another sponge in half. (Make sure corners are rounded)

Spray sponge and Teal make up cake with water.

Apply first to the inside of your eye socket then move to the outer corners. Until you have created ovals around your eyes.

Be sure to keep your eyes closed completely when painting the base color on the eye area. This will make sure your color is even over the eyelid.Day of the Dead Makeup 2

step 3

Wet the round brush and the purple make up cake with water.

Start on the outer corners of your eyes and move in.

Placing the tip of the brush down overlapping the teal color slightly

By adding more pressure to the outside. Paint some decorative swirls following your cheekbone.

TIP: Make sure brush is not too wet or else it will run.Day of the Dead Makeup 3

step 4

Wet the round brush and the Pink make up cake and start to add highlights to the cheekbones and to the petals around the eyes.

Add a little bit of lip color. (Wipe a little off so your lips dont feel heavy with color)Day of the Dead Makeup 4

step 5

Take the dotter and spray it with water.

Add water to your black make up cake as well.

Press dotter down a few times until its loaded with color.

Start on the outer corners and work your way in.

Keep repeating the steps when necessary.

Do the same to the opposite eye (keep checking back for symmetry)Day of the Dead Makeup 5

step 6

Use a Black Powder and dry make up brush to add shading inside eyes and on the corners of your nose.

TIP: You can also use light color eye shadows to add a pop or darker colors to deepen the eyes.

Use a round brush slightly pointy to add the feminine teeth.

Start from the inside and work your way towards the outer corners of the mouth.

(Stay light on the brush to avoid heavy lines)

Add touches of black brush strokes to bring out the swirls on the cheeks and chin.

Outline the nose.Day of the Dead Makeup 6

step 7

Add Eyelashes and eyeliner to add more drama to the eyes.Day of the Dead Makeup 7

Use spray bottle and spray just a small mist on your entire face.

3 Pumps should be enough.

Tilt your head back a little and close your eyes. Take the Glitter Puffer and sprinkle glitter gently over the entire face.

Make sure it doesnt all fall in one area only.

Add Rave Hairspray as a sealer to the entire face.

This will set your make up and keep it from running.

Add flowers or braids to your hair for a finished look.Day of the Dead Makeup

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Make Up DIY!
By Paula Herrera ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ Artist

Be sure to check out more of her work here: www.dropdeadgorgeous.carbonmade.com
Art and clothing boutique www.paulinaclothing.etsy.com

Symbols in Day of the Dead face-painting

Skulls (which are known as calaveras or calacas in Mexico) are an essential part of the symbolism of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico.

The day of the dead in Mexico is combination of Spanish Catholic and native Aztec traditions and beliefs. The use of skulls and skeletons has been used throughout medieval Europe as a part of All Saints Day festivals and in the U.S. we use them as well to celebrate Halloween.

– The most commonly used flower for Dia de los Muertos in Mexico is the marigold, or Cempazuchitl which is known as the flower of the dead.

In Aztec belief the marigold was sacred to Mictlantecuhtli, their god of the dead.

According to Mexican belief, the souls of departed family and friends return to earth on the day of the dead, and it is believed the strong scent of marigold helps to guide them back.

Face Painting for Dia de los Muertos is not only to remember the dead, but to overcome the fear of death and to celebrate life!


  1. Hey!! Your makeup looks fantastic! I’ve been trying to get the same results but I’m having issues finding the water based paint (so I end up looking more like a drunken hot mess on New Year’s Day)!
    Where did you purchase your paint? Thanks!!

  2. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time and
    actual effort to generate a very good article…
    but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get anything done.

  3. Hola! I think you did a very good job, except on the nose. NEVER paint your nose other than black for Día de los Muertos. If you don’t paint it black, the whole concept goes clownish. Trust me, I’m a professional calavera for Día de los Muertos, a high school Spanish teacher, and I was born and raised in Mexico. Thanks for your post. The info about the symbols is right on!


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