Whether you plan to buy or DIY your costume this year, half the fun of Halloween is getting your face into character too. And the best way to do this is to harness the transformative power of makeup. You don’t have to go all out with expensive Hollywood-grade slap to get truly spooktacular results. Boo-lieve it or not, you can find everything you need to look the glam or gory part at your nearest drugstore.
It's the roaring '20s all over again, so if there was ever a time to bring back the flapper look, it's now. Channel your inner Betty Boop with matte powder, cupid's bow lips, and smoky eyes. While pencil thin brows might have been all the rage in the Jazz Age, step away from your tweezers and try a little makeup trickery instead: draw a dark line on the upper edge of your eyebrows and cover the rest with foundation to create the illusion of skinnier arches.
Optional props: long cigarette holder, opera gloves
The styles of the 1980s were scary enough for Halloween, and make-up was no exception. Take your inspiration from the decade where "more is more" was the mantra, and opt for loud neon lids, technicolor blush, bright lips, bold brows, and lots and lots of glitter. Optional props: VHS workout tape, sweatband, legwarmers
Invite your inner goth girl to come out and transform yourself into the sadistic pigtailed terror from the Addams Family. All you need is a ghost white base of pale foundation, well-defined brows, a thin layer of black matte lipstick, and bruise-colored eyeshadow to create dark circles under your eyes.
Optional props: a few bats pinned to your costume, a fake kitchen knife
When it comes to Halloween horrors, broken dolls are right up there with grinning clowns. Start with porcelain foundation, rosy cheeks, pink lips, and freckles. Create oversized doll eyes with bright white eyeliner below your lower eyelid, then line the edges with exaggerated false eyelashes. Finally, use eyeliner draw a few cracks on your face.
Want to up the creep factor even further? Add two fine lines from the corners of your mouth to your chin to look like a discarded ventriloquist’s dummy.
Optional props: gigantic bow
If you want to look more gorgeous than gory this Halloween, make a splash with the sea siren look. Soak up your inspiration from the ocean and opt for glittering palettes of iridescent greens, pinks, blues, purples, and turquoise.
Here’s the secret shortcut to a shimmery fish scale effect: grab some fishnet stockings and dab some metallic eyeshadow over it stencil-style along your hairline, cheekbones, and decolletage.
Optional props: a tail (obviously), strands of pearls
David Bowie was the superstar musician who put the glam in glam rock, and Ziggy Stardust was his gender-bending, genre-defining alter-ego. Powder your face and brows as pale as possible, grab your most colorful makeup kit, and use the cover of Bowie's Aladdin Sanealbum as your guide. Don’t forget the red lipstick.
Optional props: skin-tight jumpsuit, tall red go-go boots, electric guitar
Just about anyone can pull off this budget-friendly nod to Netflix’s cult hit sci-fi series. At the minimum, all you need is a dribble of fake blood to recreate Eleven’s supernatural nosebleed. You can also take it a step further and smudge brown eyeshadow all over your face for that neglected look.
Optional props: Box of Eggo waffles, pink smocked dress, knee high tube socks with stripes, bomber jacket
The 2013 thriller starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis set a high "barre" for ballerinas gone bad. A strikingly pale face and decolletage provides the backdrop for a dramatic sweep of black eye shadow shaped like swans’ wings. (Make sure it extends above the eyebrows up to the temples.) A deep red lipstick completes this cygnet-ure look.
Optional props: Tiara, black leotard and tutu, white tights and ballet flats
This hellish Halloween look is sinfully simple to recreate. Simply apply bright red face paint or blush all over your face, neck and chest. Then, spackle on fiery sparks with gold leaf paper or body glitter to look like you’ve just stepped out of a blazing inferno. Add glistening green lipstick for contrast. If you’re more of a minimalist, brilliant red lipstick and matching cut crease eye makeup will do the trick.
Optional props: devil horn headband, pitchfork, tail
This look can be cute or creepy depending on the direction you want to take it. Either way, your makeup will get the message across without you having to say a word. Paint an oval of white cake or grease makeup over your face and lips, applying another coat if needed until it looks opaque. (Be sure to leave the rest of your skin, including your neck, bare!) Now, here comes the fun part. With a jet black eyeliner pen, draw on any of these iconic mime designs:
Finally, add cherry red lips for the finishing touch. Voila!
Optional props: White gloves, red or black beret, French-style Breton shirt
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