Story Time: My El Dio de los Muertos Halloween Makeup Monday 29 October, 2012

An in-depth look at how I did my El Dio de los Muertos Halloween makeup—products included!

For what I like to call “Old Person’s Halloween“—that is, the party going-ons on the weekend before actual Halloween (because I am too old to actually go out and yuck it up on a work night)—I painted myself as a El Dio de los Muertos sugar skull for my costume. I had stressed myself out about the whole ordeal leading up to it; I wanted to practice it once, or at least watch a YouTube video tutorial on how to properly approach such an intensive look. But, in true Karie fashion, I did neither, and the day of, I winged it.


(The finished look: a Day of the Dead look that took me close to two hours to turn out!)


(My trusty products, except for my lip gloss, which is a practically black, glistening purple MAC Cosmetics Lip Lacquer…and I don’t know the name of it. Sheesh.)

So I put aside a bunch of purple shadows and creams, and then couldn’t decide on whether I desired pink accents or blue…so I went with both. Why not approach the color scheme fearlessly, right?

The first step to it all: Applying my white base. I chose Mehron Cream Blend Stick Makeup in White, which I’ve used countless times for my Halloween creations. I like it because it layers nicely. Fittingly, I worked in layers, building my intensity with a triangle makeup sponge until I achieve my desired effect—not too opaque, not too sheer, somewhere between the two.


I had purchased black pancake makeup with the intent of drawing all of the outline details with a precision brush. Luckily, I didn’t have to go this route; as I was pilfering my makeup stash, I stumbled upon what became my go-to product: MAC Cosmetics Technakohl Liner in Graphblack. It was a godsend.

I started by drawing the two eye circles and creating small “petals” around the edges.

 Karie-Halloween-Makeup-2  Karie-Halloween-Makeup-4

Because I die for all things blue, I decided to pencil in some of the petals with MAC Cosmetics Pencil in Wavyblue, which remains one of my favorite eyeliners to this day. It’s got a great consistency and really lays down a good amount of pigment. I chose to color every other petal in Wavyblue.


(Time to paint: Lavender cream makeup allowed me to control my layering immensely.)

I jumped from my eyes to my nose for a hot second, creating the nose socket. I used my own made-up shading technique (which, maybe I’ve learned from watching one too many episodes of SyFy’s “Face Off”?): Draw the outline in black, then thicken some of the edges on the interior of your outline with the black. Using a small synthetic brush (the best type would be a camouflage/concealer brush), I painted MAC Cosmetics Cheekhue in Get Surreal (a bright lavender) on the inside of the nose. I allowed this to dry (it’s a little bit on the wet side), and then went back in to paint the cheek hue on the inner edges of the nose socket. I left the center of the socket the lightest, which gave the illusion of depth.

I also used the Get Surreal Cheekhue on my eyes, coloring in the entire eye socket.


Now it was time to get fancy: I shaded my eyelids with Sephora All-over Color in 180 and a dark purple shadow I found that simply says “The Flats Purple Haze.” I have no idea what brand this is, but suffice to say: You simply need dark purples to create the shading needed to give yourself a “sunken socket” effect.


Once I had my darker shading in place, I kicked up the color with a few swipes of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour in Static on the inner corners of my eyes, as well as the top inner half of my eyelid. I’m head over heels for this hue; it’s a bluish purple with plenty of brightening sparkle.

To bring in a little more oomph, I painted along the inner edge of my big eye sockets with MAC Cosmetics Cream Colour Base in Madly Magenta, being sure to cover my eyebrows with the bright stuff as well.


Remember how I left every other petal devoid of color? Well, you didn’t think I’d allow them to remain blank, did you? I knew I wanted to incorporate glitter, and this is where I pulled out the flash. Something you should know about me: I hoard glitter products like there’s no tomorrow. I delved into my stash and found a gorgeous grape glitter by Graftobian (name of color…I do not know). Using the best glitter adhesive I know, Lit Cosmetics Clearly Liquid Glitter Base, I gently painted each petal with adhesive and glitter.


(My petals are almost complete!)


(You may not be able to tell, but I’m super-annoyed at these rhinestones.)

Perhaps the hardest part—the part where I found myself swearing the most—was adhering the rhinestones. My hubby found self-adhesive ones at our local Michael’s, but I didn’t trust them to stick through a night of debauchery. So I first painted small dabs of Rubio’s Spirit Gum Adhesive (which grabs a hold of anything and will. Not. Let. Go.), and then stuck these slippery rhinestones on, one by one. If my patience needed to be tested, the rhinestones took care of that.


I continued with the detail work, creating swirls and shading my heart on my forehead (much like I shaded the nose socket). To complete my mouth, I drew small stitches across my lips that both the hubby and I thought looked odd. So, to correct it, I swathed a layer of MAC Lip Lacquer over top of the stitches, and the effect looked really cool. Happy mistakes are sometimes the best!


(A top view of my eye makeup. Isn’t that OCC Loose Colour gorgeous?)


I finished the detailing by drawing a rose on my chin, once again using the shading technique I employed for the nose socket, but instead of the lavender cream, I opted for the magenta.

Because I noticed my oily forehead was already lifting some of the makeup (after all, it took me nearly two hours to complete this makeup, so I suppose some wear was going to occur before I even stepped foot out of the door), I packed an emergency kit of makeup to take with me: oil-blotting sheets by mark., a white pencil and black pencil to perfect any detailing, my MAC Lip Lacquer to touch up my lips, and the white Mehron Cream Blend Stick with a makeup sponge…just in case.

All in all, it was a fun makeup to try out, and I didn’t really need a practice run. All of that worrying for nothing! To finish my look, I topped my makeup with a cool wig from Ricky’s NYC and a DIY headband full of faux flowers.

What do you think? Would you try this Day of the Dead makeup?

Karie L. Frost Signature

(All images proprety of Karie L. Frost/


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