Day of the Dead Makeup

This day of the dead makeup tutorial is easy to replicate with our step-by-step instructions! Day of the Dead, also known as Dia de Los Muertos in Spanish, is a time honored Mexican tradition where the living celebrate the dead. During this day, elaborate face paint and costume is highly encouraged! Also known as sugar skull makeup, this type of face paint is extremely popular.

So whether you're a professional makeup artist, face painter, Halloween mom, or just want to try a new hobby, this day of the dead makeup tutorial is for you!

Day of the Dead Makeup

Day of the Dead Makeup Tutorial


  1. Have a picture of the look you wish to achieve, and keep it near you when doing the makeup
  2. Pull your hair back tightly so it stays out of the way
  3. Ensure that your face is clean and dry before applying the makeup
  4. Lay out all of your tools and supplies within easy reach


  1. Ensure you have an extra supply of tissues and cotton swabs to correct any mistakes that you make
  2. Have a damp washcloth at hand to wipe off your fingers before you do each color application
  3. Start with the lightest color first
  4. To prevent smudging start at the top of your face and work down, and leave your lips for last.

Products Used:

Mehron Wedge Cream Makeup Sponges
Dual tipped applicators
Black Makeup Pencil
Cotton Swabs




Recommended Kit:

Mehron Water Works Face Painting Kit ( for the quick and easy)
Mehron Starblend Face Paints (for the more professional)


  1. Using a sponge, cover your whole face with your white primer, I suggest that you use something that dries rather quickly and will not flake, like a Mehron cake.
  2. Once the white has dried take a black makeup pencil and draw a circle around your eyes. This will be the empty eyesockets, A good measure for the size of the sockets is to use the top or bottom of your eyebrow as the top of the circle. Use your judgment to decide which is the better size for the look you want.
  3. Using the same pencil, create the outline of the nose you wish to blacken for the skull look
  4. Using a fine sponge applicator, blacken in the eye socket and the nose.
  5. From here things get a little more complicated, I prefer to work from the top of my face to the bottom, so I am less likely to smudge the makeup.
  6. Using the black pencil trace the outlines of the patterns you want, except for the lips.
  7. Most sugar skull masks have petals around the eyes, they do not all have to be the same size. It’s also common to draw flowers on the cheeks, forehead or chin.
  8. For this particular mask she filled the petals with yellow, then rimmed the eye sockets in a green and traced the petals with red to finish the look
  9. To do the lips use a vibrant red then using your black pencil draw straight line stitches from above the lips to below them.

Looking for a different sugar skull tutorial? Check out this video tutorial by Ashley Alvey!