Makeup Tutorial: Sugar Skull

Yesterday my friends threw a party in celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Of course I used it as another occasion to get into the face paint.

A Google search for "skeleton" and "sugar skull" makeup yielded some really great inspiration photos. I pulled bits and pieces from each to create this look.

First things first: I'm using Mehron's 8-color Paradise Palette, a standard cosmetic wedge sponge, and two types of brushes: a Filbert and a fine-tip Round. (See here)

1) Using your wedge sponge, cover your entire face (including eyelids, brows, and lips) in white. Add more or less water to find your desired paint thickness. Since I didn't have a lot of time to let the paint dry between steps, I used more water for just a light layer.

2) Using a medium-sized Filbert brush, trace a large black ring around each of your eyes. I found it helpful to use my eyebrows and the contour of my lower lid as a guide in creating the circles. Fill in your rings with your wedge sponge or the Filbert brush. Close your eyes to shade your eyelids, and don't forget your inner lids as well! (You may want to use a black eyeliner for this part.)

3) Using the Filbert brush again, carefully paint two oblong nasal cavities on either side of your nose. I noticed that other people simply painted a black triangle to represent the cavity. In retrospect, this option might've work better to size down my rather wide button nose.

4) Obviously skeletons have no skin, so the slightly hollow area beneath those great cheekbones of yours should disappear with your eye sockets. We're going to use a fine-tip round brush for this.

Find the spot where your wisdom teeth live/lived. Trace a line from here all the way to the corner of your lip, making a gentle curve to follow your jawline. It will sort of look like those line graphs you made in high school on your calculator. What were those for? Face painting, of course!

5) Once you have your line, make a teardrop-shaped wedge in the hollow of your cheek and fill it in with the Filbert brush. You can make this larger if you like. I used it more suggestively -- again, simply because I was short on time. The important thing is that it offers dimension to your cheekbones, since that's all you have left as a skeleton!

6) Here come the teeth! From your teardrop-hollow area (oooh, Teardrop Hollow sounds like a Harry Potter locale, doesn't it?), draw a straight line outward and connect it to the highest point of your upper lip. Draw a symmetrical line opposite. Next, draw a longer line that drops about 1cm below your lower lip, and extends all the way to the opposite teardrop.

(My teeth lines are absolutely all over the place, and I didn't have time to even them out. I'm sure you can do better here, dear reader!)

7) This is the fun part, and it's largely up to you to determine exactly. Just like a baker would decorate their sugar skull with festive designs, you too will add pops of color as you please! I recommend using the fine-tip round brush for most of this and moving in short, quick strokes instead of trying to trace out designs in one fell swoop.

Don't shy away from including more black in your design, especially along the brow, chin, and cheeks. This will add dimension and interest to your face.

Voila! You may now welcome the dead with style, grace, and a lovely face.

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