How to Do Native American Makeup for Halloween

Written by jeffery keilholtz
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How to Do Native American Makeup for Halloween
Embrace the Native American tradition. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Dressing as a Native American for Halloween presents many creative opportunities to dress in classic garb and paint your face any number of ways. Historically, Native Americans painted their face for warfare or ceremonial purposes. All different kinds of lines, shapes and colours were used to signify a person's status within the tribe or the intention -- peaceful, aggressive, etc. -- of their actions. Enjoy experimenting with face paint blends and styles to create your own design.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Face paint or make-up
  • Body paint
  • Brushes
  • Sponges
  • Mirror

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  1. 1

    Select your colours carefully. Choose red or black, the most pronounced and often used colours in Native American tradition, to signify a tribal warrior preparing for battle. Apply green make-up below each eye to signify spiritual empowerment. Use white to indicate love and peace, and wear yellow to display a sense of mourning.

  2. 2

    Apply face paint or make-up to the nose and midsection of the face first. Smear it on with your fingers or sponges. Work the face paint or make-up toward the outer portions of the face. Apply to forehead, chin and cheek only after the midsection is covered. Following this order is similar to how Native Americans apply face paint.

  3. 3

    Dip a brush into face paint or use your fingers to smear lines or colours under your eyes, along your cheeks or elsewhere on the face. Pick contrasting colours and shades which often go together in Native American tradition. For example, red and black go together if you are dressing as an aggressive tribal member, while white and yellow paint are synonymous with love and peace.

  4. 4

    Apply body paint to arms and hands. Get creative with your face and body make-up. Paint lines of various thicknesses or apply designs with small or large dots. Keep all paint symmetrical and balanced. Allow at least thirty minutes for all paint to dry before putting on costume pieces.

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