Cheap Halloween Makeup

Have you ever bought one of those cheap Halloween makeup kits at stores like Walmart, Kmart or Target? The ones I’m talking about are intended for children. The kind that sacrifice quality for the saje child-proof safety.

In fact, they can be smelly and barely usable since the colors won’t lay on thick enough. They also don’t blend or stay on for any length of time. I’m assuming these products non-toxic and gentle on the skin, right. There must be some kind of trade-off for how awful they are.

Alternatives to bad makeup are mask-wearing or going with no makeup at all. Just remember, you can buy the world’s fanciest costume, but it won’t be complete without at least some makeup to embellish the the look. Most costumes, like scary Halloween costumes, require things like blood or bruises as a finishing touch.

Another solution is to use theatrical makeup, which is probably ideal. Various types, colors and applications exist but it may take experimentation for you to find the type/brand you like best.

While theatrical makeup is best, the price tag and availability can be prohibitive for many. Then, if you need to experiment to find what you need or like, the appeal begins to fade.

One solution I’ve found for the everyday person who wants both a better application and affordable price is to modify cosmetics that are freely available in your local pharmacy or department store.

Below are some applications you can use and adapt to your Halloween character.  Unless you have skin conditions that require special formulas, you could purchase cosmetics at the lower end of the price scale and make do for the one-night Halloween performance. Even people with acne can usually withstand a few hours in low-priced makeup. Remember we’re already better off than we would be if we bought those Halloween make up kits. Let your own judgment (and pocketbook) be your guide.

In most cases, I personally prefer cream makeup for overall use. It’s easiest to blend, covers well and can be set using powder. But in some cases, powder itself is a great choice.  Again, experimentation is probably your best bet, another reason why using the lower priced selections is a good idea. You can experiment without going broke.

Cheap Halloween Makeup How To’s

Here are some quick examples of how to use low-priced cosmetics as cheap Halloween makeup solutions:

The Undead

Including zombies, vampires, and ghouls, among others.

If you’re playing a member of the undead, you’ll want to make sure you’re pale and pasty. This can be achieved by applying the very lightest foundation  available.  In most cosmetic lines, this shade is known as “fair”. The darker your skin, the more pasty you’ll look. If you’re already fair, then you’ll need to go lighter. In that case, I recommend you use concealer or even one of those white cream sticks used for covering dark circles. The latter will make you as white as you can get without using greasepaint.


Also, aliens and rotting corpses that need a green tinge.

A solution for looking green around the gills without breaking the bank is to purchase green concealer. This concealer should be available at your local pharmacy. Its usual under-makeup purpose is to hide dark marks and skin imperfections. Foundation is normally applied over top and blended to create a flawless finish.

We’re re-purposing this cosmetic though and using it over top of foundation to create a green cast. Alone, it is fairly light in color, which may work well for your costume and skin tone. However, if you need a darker shade,  you can apply a dark foundation to the skin first, then use the green on top. It’s a wonderfully hideous look that blends well and sets up a base for other imperfections you might want to try. Best of all, it’s light and not greasy or uncomfortable like some other makeup.

Ghouls and Haggard Souls

If your character has been beaten or severely ill, you’ll want to use yellow highlighter to emphasize or emulate sallowness in your skin. Combine foundation, yellow concealer, purple eye shadow and lipstick to create the illusion of stress and bruises. Note: when using lipstick for this purpose, make sure to use a shade of red that is true-red or even towards the brown side. Avoid anything with too much pink because it will appear vividly cheery and you’ll wind up looking like you’ve merely applied lipstick to your face!  Also, keep in mind the eye area is crucial In creating effects that make you look like you hadn’t slept in a very long time. It might feel funny, but applying the right shade of red around your eyes can make you look very sleep-deprived.

Vampires and Skeletons

Back in the day, greasepaint was needed to get a blendable black base to stage makeup. Greasepaint is heavy and greasy — hence the name greasepaint. Fortunately, there is another great solution to greasepaint and a cheap one at that.

Look for makeup displays that cater to the younger crowd. There, you should be able to find a nice compact of black powder eye shadow.  Using it, along with brushes and/or sponge applicators, you can create black eye sockets, hollowed cheekbones and other eerie facial effects.

For fine lines or to draw outlines, eye pencil works great. It too, is quite blendable so you can get the exact effect using your finger or cosmetic sponge. Eyeliner is very durable and is great around the eyes, especially for the most evil of looks. I personally don’t find it as blendable as pencil, but you may like it. As always, experiment with any or all of the above to get the exact look you desire.

The fun part of Halloween makeup (especially scary Halloween makeup) is that ugly is good. In fact, the uglier the better!  So if you’ve worked hard learning to downplay your flaws or conceal your imperfections, this is the time to work in reverse.

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