A Beginners Guide to Special Effects Makeup

Clare Cherry

Posted on October 21 2019

A Beginners Guide to Special Effects Makeup

It’s that time of year where everyone is thinking about one thing - their Halloween outfit. Go into any supermarket or clothing store and you’re sure to see all kinds of different Halloween makeup and accessories, yet if you want to create a truly gruesome look, then a tube of white face paint and some fake blood isn’t going to cut it. 

For those who really want to add the wow factor to their outfits, then you will need to learn some simple special effects tips and trick to get your outfit started. 


A Beginners Guide To Special Effects Makeup

Different Bases

If you know what look you want to achieve, then having the perfect base layer will make all the difference. If you want to do some finer detail work on your face,  for a day of the dead outfit for example, then you will need a water-based paint as this will completely dry, allowing for you to draw finer lines and use different colours without smudging. 

If you are creating something that requires blending (such as a zombie or skull), then you are best off using an oil-based paint. This remains slightly tacky but doesn’t sweat off and is very vibrant. If you are new to special effects makeup, then this is the best option as you don’t need to apply it fast. 


Latex is essential when it comes to special effects makeup, but requires a bit of practice. First things first, ensure that you are not allergic to the mixture. A lot of people have a latex allergy and aren’t aware, so before you cover your face in the mixture be sure to test it first. 

Choose a brand which offers 100% pure latex with no extra added ingredients. Latex is a great tool to build up special effects and create unique looks. Things such as cuts, burns and wounds can all be sculpted with Latex after some practice. 

Household Items

Whilst you may think that you need lots of different and specialist materials to create your looks, you can easily use stuff that you have lying around the house. If you really want to create the spooky factor, red, purple and black thread can be transformed into escaping veins with a small brush and some eyelash glue. 

Some red lipstick and a stipple sponge are the perfect tools for creating wound and blood effect. Simply build up the layers with some fake blood to create a simple yet gross effect. If you really want to build it up, you can use toilet tissue and eyelash glue to create open wounds. For less scary effects, highlighter, Halloween glitter and eyeshadows can also be used to create shimmering masterpieces. 


As with all makeup, proper removal is essential for keeping your skin happy. Instead of harshly rubbing or scrubbing your special effects makeup off, soft and warm towels or flannels will help to lift your special effects makeup without irritating or damaging your skin. 

Soak a soft towel in warm water and hold against your face for a few minutes. The steam from the towel will help to gently lift the makeup up and away from your face. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser after removal to get rid of any remaining residue.

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