Skeleton Makeup Ideas

Written by jennifer eblin
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Skeleton Makeup Ideas
Use photos of skeletons for more inspiration. (George Doyle/Valueline/Getty Images)

The skeleton face is a classic make-up design for Halloween and costume parties. It takes only a few minutes to make the basic outline and you can make it as realistic as you want. Draw inspiration from your favourite fictional skeletons, or make-up that you see in music videos, such as Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" video. Skeleton make-up ideas are safe to use on adults and children.

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The Tools

When applying skeleton make-up, you need black face paint, white face paint, a small make-up brush and a make-up sponge. If you want a more realistic look, then you also need a skull cap, which completely hides your hair. Baby powder is also helpful, as a light sheen applied after the make-up sets the colours and keeps the make-up from rubbing off over the course of the night. The website FabFood recommends pouring the baby powder into an old sock and lightly pressing it against your face after applying the make-up.

Basic Design

For a basic skeleton design, apply the white face paint, using the make-up sponge. Give your face an even coating of the make-up and use your hands to apply the make-up in hard to reach places. Use the small make-up brush to apply black make-up in circles around your eyes and on your eyelids. Coat your lips with a layer of black make-up and create vertical lines above and below your lips. The small lines make it look like the cracked bones of a skeleton. Fill in the nose area with more black paint, which makes it look like the nose is missing.

Add More

Use your creative side to add more effects to your skeleton make-up. Mix black and white face paint, creating a grey shade. Highlight the cheekbones and forehead, giving the make-up more dimensions. Add the grey make-up to the outer edges of the eyes, mixing it with the black circles you made earlier. The colours blend together, giving the make-up a spookier edge.


Before applying any of the skeleton make-up, do a make-up test. Apply a small dab of make-up to your skin, or the skin of the person you're working on, and let the make-up sit for five to 10 minutes. Rinse it off and look for any signs of an allergic reaction. Small red bumps, itchiness or red skin indicates a potential allergic reaction and you'll need to use a different type of make-up.

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