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How to Do Skeleton Makeup For Halloween

When it comes to Halloween, there are those who hit the latest trending characters like the power couple from Suicide Squad, and there are those who keep it classic with iconic characters like a traditional unicorn. (Okay, in what world do I live in where the words traditional and unicorn actually make sense together?!) While the glitter and rainbow wig may be appealing to many, we must also take time to honor the traditional darker side of things. And with that, the skeleton bombshell costume was born. Here is a way to transform yourself into a retro-inspired skeleton from head to toe.

Step 1: Sponge On White Face Paint

I highly recommend that you use a quality face paint for this look rather than the stuff you can get at your local drugstore. This step can take a really long time if you don’t have the proper makeup to execute it with. To apply, wet a makeup sponge and ring it out so it’s slightly damp. Then use the sponge to pick up white face paint like Ben Nye Creme Colors in White ($7) and apply all over your face, blending down onto your neck. This process goes more smoothly if you do a combination of tapping motions and small, light, downward motions — you want to avoid wiping off the layers of makeup you place onto your skin. Go extra heavy on your eyebrows to make sure you cover them properly.

Step 2: Outline + Fill In Eye Sockets

I like to use a fine yet slightly firm paintbrush to do these types of detail-oriented steps. Using the same Ben Nye Creme Colors in Black ($7), paint circles around your eyes, staying above your eyebrows and then creating the “cracks” going above and out the sides of your “eye sockets.” I like to outline first, then fill them in after just in case I don’t love the shape. Now you can switch to a slightly bigger paint brush, or you can use a flat eyeshadow brush to help spread the product on more evenly. Be sure to set over the black with a black eyeshadow to hold the product in place.

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Step 3: Paint Your Nose

I used the same small paint brush to sketch the shape, then another flat brush to fill in and a fluffy shadow brush to set the black nose with black eyeshadow.

Step 4: Shape Out Your Jaw Bones

You can play around with this part — don’t worry about making each side perfectly symmetrical (each side of our face is rarely symmetrical anyway!).

Step 5: Create Your Teeth

You’ll definitely want to use the fine, firm paintbrush to make the teeth. It helps to start on the inside of your lips and drag the makeup down on the lower lip and up on the upper lip to create those thinner lines on the outer parts of the teeth.

Step 6: Shadows + Neck

Add your laugh lines with black shadow where your face would crease if you smile. Then apply the shape of your neck bones with a flat shadow brush and paint. Remember to set everything with a like-colored shadow to keep your makeup in place.

Finishing Touches: Mascara, Wig + Head Scarf

Apply a couple coats of your favorite mascara and throw on your favorite wig. We were really feeling this black and white vibe so we added a black and white retro-looking head scarf over a platinum white wig.

How to Make A Retro Skeleton Costume

Materials and Tools:

— black pencil skirt

— black tank top

— white felt

— fabric scissors

— pencil

— black booties

— hot glue gun and glue (or fashion tape)


1. Draw your bones using a pencil on the white felt. You can print out templates online if you’re feeling intimidated by this step, or you can sketch them freehand.

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2. Cut out the shapes of the bones.

3. Either hot glue onto your garments or use fashion tape if you don’t want to ruin your clothes.

As always, take your favorite parts of this tutorial and feel free to make it your own — switch up the wig, or use colored makeup instead for more of a sugar skull vibe. Just play! We love to see your way of executing these tutorials!

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