Halloween is just around the corner, and if you’re not one to want to dress up in a head-to-toe costume, perhaps you’ll be into getting hands-on with your makeup to pay homage to the holiday. While you could absolutely perfect a purple, orange, and black smoky eye, recreate Cruella DeVil's evil red pout, or even draw a few dots on with liquid eyeliner for a pop-art look à la Andy Warhol, zombie makeup certainly seems to be the look du jour this year.
So, without further ado, keep reading to learn how to create last-minute zombie makeup with products you already have (and, if you’re feeling creative, a few additions, too). All of the steps for an easy Halloween zombie makeup tutorial are broken down, ahead.
Meet the Expert
Pamela Faller is a makeup artist and the marketing coordinator for Mehron Makeup. Faller specializes in everything from bridal, to glamour, to editorial and special effects makeup (including face and body painting).
- Eye primer
- Foundation (two to three shades lighter than your skin tone)
- Gray eyeshadow
- Red eyeshadow
- Black eyeshadow
- Black eyeliner pencil
- Your go-to brow product
- Black mascara
- Oxblood lipstick
- Stage blood (optional)
Start With Clean, Moisturized Skin
For a quick and easy cleanse, consider Drunk Elephant’s E-Rase Milki Micellar Water ($28). Simply soak a cotton pad with the liquid and wipe it across your face to remove dirt and debris while imparting hydration. This creates a clean canvas for makeup application.
Apply Eye Primer
Blend eye primer (Faller recommends Mehron Primed EYE Primer, $15) onto the eyelids and directly underneath the eyes.
Apply Foundation to Your Face and Neck
To achieve a washed-out zombie appearance, Faller says to apply foundation two to three shades lighter than your skin tone (she recommends the shades in the Mehron Celebre Pro HD Pressed Powder Palette, $50) from your forehead all the way down to your collarbones. You can use a makeup sponge, brush, or your fingers to do so.
Contour Your Cheeks
Instead of reaching for a neutral tan shade, Faller says to use gray eyeshadow to create a zombie-like facial structure. “Start along your cheek bones, lightly dust onto temples, dust directly under inner brows, and blend down onto your nose—don’t forget the tip of the nose,” she instructs.
Hollow Out Your Eyes With Burgundy Eyeshadow
To create a tired, hollow look, Faller says to use burgundy eyeshadow in the eye socket, extending past the lid all around the eye. “Blend all around the eyes with a fluffy blending brush—[don’t be afraid to] apply generously!” she says. If you're only ever going to use this eyeshadow shade for your zombie makeup, we recommend using an affordable option like Maybelline New York's Burgundy Bar Eyeshadow Palette ($16).
Intensify the Hollowed-Out Effect With Pressed Pigment
“Exaggerate the eyes by deepening the color with a little iNtense Pressed Pigments in Carbon ($8),” Faller says, noting to apply the black shadow on the inner corners of the eyes before dragging it underneath the eye following the line of the eye socket.
Draw on Broken Capillaries
Drawing on veiny broken capillaries is key to creating the zombie look. To do so, Faller says to draw small squiggly lines onto the eyelids and underneath the eyes with black eyeliner—like the Mehron EYE Liner Pencil in Black, $10 (though, for an extra bloody look, you could opt for red).
Fill in Your Brows Like Normal
Perfect those arches! Simple as that. Nothing spooky about it.
To nearly complete your look, swipe on your mascara of choice. For a more glam look, try layering on a volumizing mascara or a set of falsies (we're big fans of Lashify at Byrdie).
Swipe on a Blood-Colored Lipstick
“Choose a deep wine lip color like and gently tap the center of the lips and blend out using your fingertip—you’re going for a washed out look, not fully saturated color,” she says. Rare Beauty's Lip Souffle Matte Lip Cream in Transform ($26) will get the job done (and stay put all night long).
Create a Shadowy Appearance Around the Mouth
For added spooky allure, Faller says to dust the same dark red eyeshadow from your lid look all around the mouth. For more depth, she says to add a touch of black shadow into the corners of your mouth, as well.
Exaggerate Your Collarbone
“Don’t forget to hollow out the collarbone and neck area!” Faller emphasizes. “This is key for creating a spooky look.” To do so, trace the gray eyeshadow into the natural curves of your collarbone and down the neck.
Distress the Skin Around Your Nose
Faller says adding a touch of the red shadow around your nostrils and slightly above the inner brows will help contribute to that overall ~living dead~ appearance.
If You're Going All Out, Add Stage Blood
While you can totally skip this step, Faller says stage blood can take your last minute zombie makeup to a whole new level. “Mehron Stage Blood in Dark Venous ($5) is edible so you can get this all over and in the mouth." she says. If putting it in your mouth doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, simply apply it with a brush or your fingertips.
That’s it! Easy, right? While the makeup alone is enough to stand out, you can always pair it with coordinating tattered clothing, as Faller did above. Of course, you can never go wrong with letting your makeup steal the show while wearing a classic LBD. You choose!