Sugar Skull makeup tutorial

The phrase «Sugar skull» comes from the Mexican culture and is of Aztec origin. A sugar skull is a small skull decorated with vivid colours and motives and is a symbol of the “Dia de los muertos”- day of the dead. The festival is also of Aztec origin, and it celebrated the lives of all those who died. The Spaniards who invaded Mexico thought the month-long festival was insulting and attempted to remove it from the customs, but they failed. The day of the dead was later linked to All Saints’ Day trying to make into a more Christian festival. All saints are celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, and in those days Mexico is full of colour. Why is the festival so colourful? Because they celebrate life, instead of death. The sugar skull is a candy symbolizing this festival, and is made of marzipan and decorated with various motifs and colours. It is believed that Italian missionaries visited the New World in the 17th century, and the local population was very poor at that time. The catholic friars taught them to make a mixture for decorations from what ever they had at hand, which was sugar. During the celebration, small sugar skulls representing deceased children are displayed on November 1st, and larger sugar skulls are displayed on the second day, and represent and honor everyone else who lost their lives. A flower named Marigold is a flower for the dead, and the streets are covered in it during the celebration. In Aztec mythology the flower scares away Mictlantecuhtli- the god of death. For this tutorial I used only black and white shades for the face. I decided on this colour scheme because so far I created many sugar skull makeup variations, each with a lot of colour, so I wanted to show this version, offset by very colourful flowers and hair.


Step 1: the entire face was covered in white face paint, except for the area around the eyes, because that will be covered with black paint later.







Step 2: I used black face paint to draw the circles around the eyes and applied heavy black kajal on the eyelids as I wanted it to also serve as eyeshadow base. After that I applied black paint to the nose and the lips.





DSC_2825Step 3: This is the most difficult part because it requires you to let your imagination run wild while at the same time have enough patience for all the points and dots. The more dots the better an imitation of a sugar skull it is. The two flowers on the forehead and the chin are also very important and should be heavily decorated. I also applied lines of varying thickness and shape to the cheeks, giving them a highly ornamented look. Do not forget the lines on the lips, making them look like a skeleton grin, or stitches. To top it off, I applied silver eyeshadow and long, dramatic false eyelashes to enhance the effect. This can be done in a variety of colours if you want.


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Complete the look with a large flower crown and black lace clothing, and you’re done! Happy Halloween!








BIO: Naida Djekic is from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is a graduate student at the Academy of Fine Arts, majoring in product design, and has been working as a makeup artist for the past 7 years. She also does video productions, photoshoot makeup and makeup for special occasions. She has also written for numerous magazines and online publications. She has her own facebook page where you can see more of her work:


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