Listen, I know you aren’t fully ready to start talking about spooky szn just yet, but I’m of the belief that it’s never too early to start throwing out costume and Halloween makeup ideas. And since I’ve kinda sorta had it with my go-to looks (like, no one needs to see me dressed as a cat, a witch, or a skeleton for the eighth year in a row, let’s be real), I’ve decided to visit a classically spooky option for October 31: zombie makeup.
FYI, zombie makeup doesn’t have to equal blood and gore if you don’t want it to. It’s actually a super customizable look, whether you want something super glam and glittery or straight-up scary. Just start scrolling through these 13 zombie makeup tutorials, and you’ll immediately get the hype. And bc I love you, I even detailed the exact supplies you’ll need for some ideas (which, spoiler alert, definitely includes some makeup you already own).
Here’s what you’ll need:
If you’re trying to really nail a zombie look, you’re going to need a few Halloween makeup basics. The below looks are definitely each a little different (you’ll see what I mean in a sec), but it won’t hurt to snag a few of these supplies before you get started:
1. This glam and gory zombie makeup
If you can’t make up your mind between a glam, cute or gory, scary look, why not do both? Thanks to influencer Jaclyn Hill, you can get the best of both worlds. Start by doing your base makeup and eyes like usual (maybe a little more glam than usual and an intense winged liner), and then using liquid latex and cotton balls, create a gory mouth just as Hill does in the tutorial.
2. This beginner zombie tutorial
This zombie makeup tutorial by Julia Graf looks v impressive, but the best part is that it doesn’t take a ton of skill to do it, and you probably own most of the products already. Other than fake blood and a little white face paint, you’ll need blue and purple eyeshadows to really play up the eyes—the messier, the better!
3. This last-minute zombie makeup
Three words: Lots of BLOOD. This bloody look by YouTuber Kayleigh Noelle is the perfect scary (but not super gory) zombie makeup tutorial. It’s also a great last-minute costume idea because all you need is some lighter foundation and concealer for your skin tone, and deep black and red eyeshadow for a super smoked-out eye. The last step? You guessed it. A sh*t ton of fake blood.
4. This classic zombie makeup
If you’re looking for a zombie costume with all the bells and whistles, you can’t go wrong with this classic makeup look from YouTuber Kelly Nelson. And even though it looks pretty elaborate, it’s actually quite easy—you just need to make sure you have the right supplies before you get started (think: liquid latex for the wounds, fake blood, and some fun colored contacts). The best part about this look? You still get to wear your favorite smokey eyeshadow.
5. This cute zombie makeup look
My favorite thing about zombie makeup for Halloween is that there’s so much room for customization. Exhibit A: this cute idea from Creative.Cliche, which combines teal face paint, false eyelashes, and a few stitch details for a super-unique look. You can pick a color and really run with it for your zombie makeup, so don’t be afraid to make this style your own. Oh, and bonus points for finishing it all off with a temporary hair dye spray. Who knew zombies didn’t have to be scary?!
6. This bloody zombie look
If zombie makeup just doesn’t feel right for you without a hefty dose of fake blood, you’ll love this look from Tiara Sparrow. Load up on some liquid latex, stage blood, and a few red and blue eyeliners for the veins, and you’ll be well on your way to scaring a few people at your Halloween party. Your favorite black eyeliner (or one of the options below) will also come in handy here since Tiara completes the look with a soft wing on each eye. Cute, right?
7. This glitter zombie makeup
I don’t know about you, but I can’t really celebrate Halloween without at least a little bit of glitter. This zombie makeup is perfect for anyone looking to take a more glam approach to their Halloween makeup, and it’s actually pretty easy to recreate. YouTuber Ash Levi suggests prepping your zombie base with a cream palette (she uses the Make Up For Ever Flash Color Palette Multi-use Cream Color Palette, but white face paint will also work in a pinch) and then going in with a couple of shades of gray for a soft contour. The finished look will definitely call for a fun outfit, FYI.
8. This pop art zombie look
Another super-creative approach to zombie makeup, this pop-art look is a great excuse to get super good at face paint. You’ll absolutely need a steady hand (and, TBH, lots of patience!), but if you start prepping early, you can definitely ace this look by Halloween. Alisha Barron combines shades of green, black, and pink detailing in her tutorial, but you can totally switch it up and use your own color scheme (maybe blue and purple face paint? Just a thought).
9. This easy zombie makeup idea
K, I know this zombie makeup doesn’t look super easy at first glance, but I promise it’s actually doable. YouTuber Melissa Alatorre breaks it all down for you in this easy-to-follow tutorial, which includes creating a super-contoured base, a red-ish-black smokey eye, and some fake cuts and scrapes with eyelash glue (yes, eyelash glue—isn’t that cool?). BTW, these contours are great options for recreating this look:
10. This gory, SFX zombie makeup idea
PSA: If gore isn’t your thing, pls keep scrolling! This zombie makeup idea from Kadienne Henry is not for the faint of heart. Just know that you will need some special effects makeup (and, uh, serious skill) to recreate this one, so maybe enlist the help of a friend if you aren’t fully versed in the art. But, hey, if you do attempt this look, you’ll at least have the scariest damn costume at the party, right?
11. This zombie vein makeup idea
If you’re not feeling blood, gore, and fake wounds, DW, you can still get in on the zombie makeup trend. This soft, low-key look from Shaaanxo is the perfect combination of spooky and pretty, thanks to the delicate vein detailing (which, fun fact, is made with a cream eyeliner pot) and strong brows. A fine-tip eyeliner brush is a nonnegotiable for this look, so snag a couple of these before you get started:
12. This Barbie zombie makeup idea
The coolest thing about this zombie makeup tutorial from Michelle Phan is that the first half of the look is totally innocent (think: purple and pink eyeshadow, falsies, and a blonde wig). The look then gets the full zombie treatment with fake scars, blood, and heavy black eyeshadow. It’s basically the best of both worlds, and it’s going to actually kill at your Halloween party.
13. This glam zombie makeup idea
A little glam and a little gory, there’s nothing not to love about this zombie makeup idea from NikkieTutorials. The look is kicked off with a creamy white base and a ~sexy~ smokey eye, and things get a bit spookier when face paint and fake teeth are added into the mix. A face paint palette is a must for this one, as is a contour stick and red eyeshadow. Oh, and don’t forget about that base—these white face paints should do the trick:
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Siena Gagliano is a contributing beauty editor at Cosmopolitan and has three years of experience writing about beauty, fashion, and lifestyle news. She’s an expert at researching and writing beauty stories, like the Day of the Dead makeup tutorials and witch Halloween makeup tutorials, and feels especially knowledgable on zombie makeup thanks to years of dressing up as one. She regularly tries out new zombie makeup tutorials on herself while working with the industry’s top makeup artists to try new techniques.
Ruby Buddemeyer was the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan for nearly three years and has five years of experience writing about beauty, fashion, and celebrity news across print and digital, including skeleton makeup ideas and the best Halloween makeup tutorials for beginners. Her zombie makeup tutorial picks were based on video reviews and ratings.
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