Sugar Skull Tutorial

Hello my lovelies

Today I get to show you a tutorial I’ve wanted to do for aaages…the Sugar Skull (or Day of the Dead) look!

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican tradition where families and friends gather to celebrate those who have passed on. Rituals include leaving sugar skulls and marigolds on altars to the deceased, as well as gifts and letters. The hope is that the souls will hear the prayers of the living and be called back to visit. For this tutorial we will be taking inspiration from the ‘calavera’, the sugar skulls that adorn the altars on the Day of the Dead.


Step 1:

Since you’re going to be covering your face in designs, I’d recommend using a primer first. I use MAC Prep + Prime (R290 from MAC). Then prep your brows by sticking them down with glue. And by glue I mean good old Pritt stick or similar, DO NOT use liquid or superglue! Brush your brows downwards, swipe the glue over each one, and then brush them back into shape. Add another swipe of glue and you should be good to go!


Step 2:

To get a ghoulish vibe going, use the palest foundation you can find. This wasn’t so hard for me…I was pretty much made for Halloween dress-ups. I used my MAC Mineralize Moisture foundation in NC15 (R330 from MAC) mixed with some white face paint (about R11 from Cardies), and then set it with baby powder.

Next it’s time for panda eyes! I used my NYX Super Skinny Marker (R129 from Clicks) to trace a circle around each eye. It’s up to you what eyeliner formulation you’d like to use for this. Gel liner is going to be the most hard-wearing, but liquid liner can be easier to apply. Pencil liner will probably smudge too easily, but if you have a great formula then go for it! (And let me know what it is!)

So once you have the basic circle shape, dip an eyeshadow brush in water and start filling in the circle with black eyeshadow (I used MAC Black Tied, R180 from MAC). Keep layering until you’re happy with the coverage. I also filled in my waterline with black pencil liner (The Body Shop Eye Definer in 01 Black, R110 from The Body Shop) and added a little bit of red shadow to my eyes, just to look a bit creepier :) (palette from Ralo, R34.50)


Step 3:

Now we’re going to get pretty! Well, as pretty as this look gets. If you have a red eyeliner, now’s the time to get it out. I used my MAC lip pencil in Brick (R165 from MAC). Draw little scallops around your eye circles, so that they look like flowers. You can fill them in with the lip pencil if you want, I used a bit of red eye shadow mixed with Inglot Duraline (R119 from Inglot).


Step 4:

Next, outline the scallops with your liquid or gel liner. Use the lip pencil and black liner to add an upside down heart to your forehead.


Step 5:

It’s time to get creative! Using my black liner, I added swirls above each eyebrow and along my cheekbones (this also makes your face look slimmer for some reason). I also added a web to my chin. The most important element here is the mouth. To get the stitches, add a thin line of black where your lips meet. Then extend this line on either side of your mouth. Add vertical lines to your ‘smile’, and there’s your sutured-up mouth. It’s amazing how effective this looks!


Step 6:

I then coloured in my nose with the black liner, into a ‘spade’ shape. I also added a rose design onto my neck. Add a flower crown (traditionally it should be marigolds, but we’ll work with what we’ve got) and a long dress, and you’re a perfect calavera!

Here’s the finished look….


What do you guys think? I think I may have found my halloween costume for this weekend!





  1. […] So here cometh the tutorials! Be sure to check out our ones from last year here, here, here, here and here. Today’s tutorial will be the Bambi look that was so wildly popular last year. So […]

  2. So beautiful Michmoo! :) x

    1. Thanks love :)

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