Dia De Los Muertos Makeup

Photos and directions by beauty contributors Molly and Joanna of Irrelephant

halloween makeup

I love the idea behind the traditional Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos. It’s a three day long celebration starting on October 31st through November 2nd to honor those loved ones that have passed and to observe the cycle of life. In San Francisco, as in many other cities, there are elaborate Dia De Los Muertos parades on November 1st (All Saint’s Day) that the whole community, whether they celebrate the holiday or not, are involved in. The skull has become a symbol of the holiday, and that has led to elaborate skull-inspired face painting as part of the festivity. If you’re celebrating Dia de los Muertos this year, here is a step-by-step tutorial for the makeup…

We mixed and matched the makeup we used for this tutorial. The main source is from Party City: a Halloween make up kit. For the fine intricate details, we liked using this eyeliner cream with a fine thin eyeliner brush, and the eyeshadow colors we used were from a simple multi color pallet.
halloween makeup
Step 1: Start by applying the white cream via the T-zone. We blended it out from there, creating an “ombre” effect around the perimeter of the face.
halloween makeup tutorial
Step 2: Using whatever color combination you desire, we used a couple purple hues, apply eyeshadow all over the lid, socket, and up to the eye socket bone. We recommend you use several colors of the same family to add dimension. TIP: go up to your eyebrow. This will help with STEP 4.
makeup for halloween
Step 3: Then apply the dark cream around the lid and slightly under eye. We used a cream-based black and then went over it with a powdered dark eyeshadow to set as we found it to feel greasy.
makeup for halloween
Step 4: For the fun part – take a very fine eyeliner brush and black eyeliner cream to create swirls surrounding STEP 2. Make sure to cover your eyebrows with the design you choose. We made little swirls, which we found helpful to disguise a not-perfect circle.
eye makeup
Step 5: Make a tear dropped shape for your nose and color it in. We used the black eyeliner cream as we found it wasn’t as greasy.
makeup for halloween
Step 6: Another fun step, freehand swirls, dots and paisley inspired design around the top of your cheek bones and temples. This is completely a choice of artistic freedom, so have fun with it!  Also, accentuate the natural lines in your lips with thin markings. We recommend using a very thin eyeliner brush. Extend it at the end of your lips (like the Joker – but not as dramatic).
halloween makeup
Step 7: Finish off your look by adding a flower design around the hair line and, if you would like, the jaw line. We started with a VERY simple flower outline and filled it in with the red cream. Once again, we set it with eyeshadow power because the cream can be a bit greasy. We added a few leaves, dots, and swirls.
halloween makeup
Step 8. We recommend eyelash extensions to really make those eyes pop! We used Ardell Strip Lashes.


Like the other reader said, I’m sure no harm was meant, but appropriation is offensive. I’m glad you and the person who wrote the post recognize that this is a beautiful holiday. You should also know that Latinxs have to see white people misunderstand and appropriate this tradition constantly, and it bothers us. Maybe a better way to expose your readers to it would be to ask a Latinx to share about this tradition that comes from a specific community, theirs. It does not belong to white people who live in San Francisco.

This is a wonderful, thoughtful comment. When someone says, “It bothers us”, it’s our job to step back, reconsider and make sure we’re not hurting people.

We all make missteps, we’re all learning here, but maybe next time run things like this by your Latino friends to make sure you’re not hurting anyone?

What a good reminder of the other holidays that are happening this time of year! Now I want to lookup any Dia de los Muertos celebrations around here!

Wow, I hope you realize this insensitive and reductive to an entire culture.

Guys. We’re celebrating the holiday here, like a lot of people. It’s not a Halloween costume. Read the post

I think the issue is that it’s a white woman “celebrating” a culture that isn’t her own. I’m sure no harm was meant, but we don’t just get to choose to celebrate sacred holidays that aren’t our own. I can’t jump in and celebrate Ramadan because it seems fun or pretty, you know? Some things belong only to the culture celebrating them, especially when those cultures are oppressed.

In a lot of places around the country everyone celebrates this holiday as a community together. You don’t have to celebrate it. Even if this wasn’t the case- I disagree with judging how someone identifies culturally by the color of their skin

That’s a good point. Although I did click over to the Irrelephant site first, and didn’t see any mention of Latin culture or heritage, and the post doesn’t include anything along the lines of “In our culture…” I apologize if the woman in this post is in fact Latina.

And if not, I think in the future we’d all love to see a Latina sharing this part of her culture with us, and cluing us in on the appropriate way for white people to celebrate. That would be a fascinating and beautiful post.

It’s really disappointing that you don’t seem to be listening to these comments or considering how this looks from a nonwhite perspective. I’ve been reading your blog for as long as I can remember, but I won’t any more.

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