Make this a freakishly fantastic Halloween with expert makeup tips from DCPA Teaching Artist Rachel Taylor.
Don’t let a rash ruin your spooky fun!
Don’t host a Halloween party for bacteria on your face. Makeup, just like food, has a shelf life and expiration date. Do a little fall cleaning of your makeup supplies each year and toss out the old because nothing can ruin a good makeup job like an eye infection, skin irritation or breakout. All products are different but here is a good rule of thumb:
- 1-2 years Powder, Blush, Eyeshadow and Lip color
- 1-year Liquid Latex
- 6-12 months Foundations and Cream-based Theatrical Makeup
- 3 months Liquid Eye Liners and Mascara
If you are using a Halloween Makeup Kit to create your look, remember the cheaper the kit the higher the odds that it will irritate your skin! It’s worth a little investment to avoid discomfort.
- Think outside the box. Skip the traditional Halloween lineup and create a new character makeup that has never been seen before! Here are some tips to get the imagination flowing:
- Create a character mash-up or character hybrid. What does a unicorn-werewolf look like? A vampire Panda bear? An astronaut ghost?
- Embody a concept or an inanimate object. If World Peace was a costume, what would that look like? How would you become a priceless Ming Dynasty Vase? How could you become an entire Edgar Allen Poe poem?
- Imagine the sequel or prequel for a fictional character. What does the Lemony Snicket gang look like 25 years later when their lives have stopped being so unfortunate? What did King Lear look like as a young man before daughters, dementia and distress?
Blend those details.
The most common makeup mistake is neglecting to blend. This boo-boo can turn a fantastic makeup job into more of a mask look. Don’t let your lovely green Frankenstein hue end abruptly at the neck! Make sure your makeup job is cohesive and believable by including ears, necks, hairlines, arms, legs and hands. If your grizzly swamp monster has pink people ears…the scare factor is minimized and the comic factor increases.
The wicked of this witch ends right at her jawline!
Contouring creates success!
Any successful Halloween look can be created with the basic rules of simple contouring. Contouring is the use of light and dark shadowing to change the shape of your face. Create sunken or recessed areas with black and gray tones. Highlight and accentuate areas you would like to appear more prominent and forward with light shades or metallic hues. Use your own bone structure as a guide. Anywhere you feel a bone on your face, a highlight goes above it and a low light or shadow goes underneath it. Skeletal or rotting makeups would be heavy on the lowlights whereas storybook or ethereal characters would likely lean toward heavy highlighting.
Household items make great special effects.
A school glue stick (because it is safe and non-toxic) and a Kleenex are all you need for DIY mini prosthetics! Make a little ‘paste’ of glue and tissue, apply to face and use a cosmetic brush, toothpick or Q-tip to sculpt the paste into scars, pox, gashes, and warts. Let glue dry. Cover with foundation and detail with color and fake blood.
- Glue sticks can also reimagine your eyebrows. Cover your brows with several layers of glue. Let dry. Cover with foundation and powder and draw yourself a glamorous new pair higher up on the forehead or Eugene Levy style, heavy right above the eyelid.
- Get some realistic blood splatter effects with an old toothbrush. Cover your brush in vampire blood and use your thumb to scrape across the bristles to create spray and splatter!
- Stubble, Stubble, Toil, and Trouble. Realistic facial hair can be tricky. Here are three options:
- Using waterproof mascara to make tiny stokes can create a sculpted but flat effect.
- Coffee grounds can create a more textured look. Use a thin layer of Vaseline or spirit gum to apply.
- For the most realistic look, save a little hair from your next haircut (a snip of artificial hair will do too) cut into tiny pieces and apply with spirit gum to make completely convincing sideburns and stubble!
Rachel Taylor is a Teaching Arts and Program Manager with DCPA Education. She occasionally offers classes on theatrical makeup application, so visit denvercenter.org/education for a full class lineup for all ages.