Skull-A-Day 4.0 - Tutorial - #14 Skull Make-up

As you saw on my Dia de la Abby post, I did Skull make-up for a recent event. For the tutorial, I have provided a product and tool list, as well as some basic instructions. I have provided many video tutorials made by other make-up enthusiast. These should provide a source of more inspiration as well as help you learn how to apply your skull make-up, or what ever other fantasy make-up these might inspire you to do. I love using YouTube for make-up tutorials, because though I've been wearing makeup since I was a teenager, I haven't done a lot of costume make-up...except for Halloween and my mom used to do that for me.

Time: This took me about an hour to do, so allot for at least that amount of time, if you have never done this before.

Product List:
  • Ben Nye white cream make-up - Both of mine are in small pots, but you can get them in a large split one.
  • Ben Nye black cream make-up - The brand Ben Nye is stage grade make-up
  • Black eyeliner pencil - For tracing out the black areas of your design

  • Foam make-up sponge triangles - For applying the cream makeup in large areas
  • Cotton swabs (Q-tips) - To refine small areas or if you don't want to get cream make-up on your good brushes
  • Make-up brushes - Small pointy and small flat

I didn't have time to set my make-up with powders, but to my surprise it held up well without it. Normally, I would set it. Even though for this one, I didn't set it, I'll still provide instructions on how to do that.
  • Black eye shadow - For setting the black cream make-up
  • White baby powder or white face powder- For setting the white cream make-up
  • Eye make-up remover - For fixing mistakes. You can use actual eye make-up remover, face soap or (my favorite) facial moisturizer. You will also need a cotton square, wash cloth or cotton swab to help remove the mistake.
  • Eyeshadow applicator - For applying the powders to set the cream make up
  • Powder puff or large brush - For applying the white powder for setting the cream make-up

  1. If you have bangs or long hair, clip it back while you work.
  2. Using the Black Eyeliner Pencil outline your eye. Follow the shape the bones of your eye socket make. If you don't like the shape, use the eye make-up remover to remove the area you don't like. Pat the area dry, and redraw it.
  3. Using the black eyeliner pencil, outline your nose area. I went around the outside of my nose.
  4. For the cheek bones, suck your cheeks in, like you would to make fish lips, and draw along the bone area that now shows. I did this part after I did the white...but if you want this area to be black like the eye and nose area vs. gray like mine is.
  5. Using the white cream make-up and the triangle sponge, cover all the white areas of the skull. You might need to use the brush for small areas, like the space in between the eyes and nose. Try to make the white coverage even.
  6. Blend the white down your neck into your regular skin tone. Though this might not be as effective with darker skin. If you have dark skin, a demarcation line along your jaw might be more attractive.
  7. Using another triangle sponge and a small brush, fill in the black nose and eye areas.
  8. If you haven't done STEP 4 yet, you can do that now and fill in the cheek hollows with the black in the same manner you did the eyes and nose. If you wait until after you have covered that area with white, then the cheek hollows will be dark gray vs. black.
  9. Using the black eyeliner pencil, draw a line from the corner of your mouth to the middle of the curve of the cheek hollow. Do this on both sides.
  10. Using the black eyeliner pencil, draw U shapes for teeth. The top row will be upside down U shapes. Try to keep the amount of teeth even for both sides and rows. I had to wipe the pencil for each tooth, because the white make-up causes the tip of the pencil to turn light gray and this will effect the darkness of your tooth lines.
Optional: These are the instructions for setting your make-up...which I didn't do for mine, but if you set it, your make-up will last longer.
  1. Before you apply the black cream makeup (STEP 7), using a large make-up brush or powder poof and baby powder or white face powder, apply white powder evenly over the white make up. Leave extra powder under the eye area,
  2. Now, you will apply the black cream make-up to the eyes, nose and cheek hollow areas.
  3. Using black matte eyeshadow (vs. with glitter...though that is up to you), and an eyeshadow brush or foam applicator, apply the black eyeshadow carefully over to of the black cream make-up. Black eyeshadow always flakes and falls in places you don't this case, on your nice white make-up.
  4. Since you put extra white powder under your eyes, this will easily catch the black flakes. Carefully brush this extra powder off.
  5. After all your cream make up is set, draw your teeth like in STEP 10.

The skull I did is a basic one. You obviously can elaborate on this one, but it's a good place to start if you haven't done skull make-up before.

You can use these pictures as a reference for how a human skull looks from the front and side. These will help with placement. Feel free to print them out and sketch out your make-up before applying it. This always helps me a lot.
(Ignore the non-english words. I've had these saved on my computer for a while, so I don't remember where they came from.)

Video Tutorial List: I like watching the videos for make-up more than just reading about it.
  • Bloody Skull Half Mask - You can do this as a full mask if desired. Adding the blood is optional
  • Creepy Skull - This one is more masculine. It reminds me of Frankenstein's Monster a bit. This is mostly air brushed, but of course you could do it with make-up brushes instead. This video also has a bit of general info on Mehron's products.
  • Black and White Sugar Skull on a Guy - You can add color if you want, but I like the use of black and white only to give a more masculine feel to a sugar skull.
  • Skull with Cracks - This is a very detailed 15 min-video series for 1 skull, but it might be useful for when other videos don't explain products very well.

You-Tube has a lot more make-up tutorial videos. I always do searches for make-up tutorials when I need some costume related make-up help. It's a great resource tool.

The rest of my costume...

I made the rib cage shirt, the PVC mini skirt, one of the layered chain necklaces (the longer layered one), ripped the tights (they already had one big hole in them, so this was new use of them), and the double piercing chain earrings. This is one of the few outfits that I've made almost everything in. Granted, it's a costume, and that's normally what happens when I need a costume.

The strip across my boobs is a doubled over black sparkle tub top. The shoes, I bought on Ebay, many years ago.

My hair is braided 3 times on each side. Then, each side is braided again into 2 thick braids. There are elastic bands holding the large braids together. I crossed them over each other (think folded arms) in the back and secured them with two single skeleton hand barrettes that I made.

I will make a separate tutorial for the rib cage t-shirt and provide a better photo of it. It's really neat looking.

If you would like to see the group photos, see the Manic Monsters: Doomsday Photos on RVA Freaks.

Ok, that is all for now. I know this post was really long, but there was a lot of important information. Happy costuming!


  1. This is really so awesome!! Thank you for the inspiration.

  2. You are welcome. Should you do your own skull make-up, submit your photo to


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