Sugar skulls are a hugely popular option in terms of fancy-dress make up, and if you’re looking to give your Halloween costume some candied coolness this year, check out this guide to creating the perfect template skull. Once you’ve got your skull nailed, get creative using some of our suggestions to make a sugary style all of your own!


The great thing about sugar skull make up is that there really is no strict formula, meaning you are free to use whatever colours and decorations you choose. This highly versatile template can be tailored to a subtly feminine finish or a spine-tingling chiller that’s genuinely frightening to look at!

Originating from Mexico, sugar skulls are used as decorations for Day of the Dead parties or even themed weddings and celebrations. With their distinct colourful eeriness, it’s no surprise that people from around the world are now adapting this ancient art form to create some pretty kick-ass Halloween looks!

But how do you actually create that authentic sugar skull look yourself? We’ve put together this easy to follow guide that will help you get the perfect face every time, plus some wicked decoration ideas!

Apply Base Coat- White Wash

In order for your sugar skull decoration to look its best, you need to start out with an even opaque base.

  • To give yourself the best white canvas to start painting your sugar skull, we recommend using some white cream face paint (2 or

3 layers) applied using a damp foundation brush

  • Top it off with a layer of star gazer white powder for an even opaque look that’s ready to be decorated!

  • Wait for the face paint to be dry before applying the rest of your skull (to prevent smudging)


Paint Eyes, Nose & Teeth

*Sugar skull designs almost always start with large black circles around the eyes, a black nose and a toothy grin!


  • Get yourself some black face paint and using an eye shadow brush, carefully create two black circles around the eyes, making sure you cover your eyelids and brows

  • Next, paint a black triangle over your nose

  • Using an even smaller brush (try a nail art brush) you can start to create your toothy smile! Keep your mouth completely closed but relaxed and using the black paint, paint a mouth that’s larger and wider than your lips. Carefully add in individual teeth until you have a full set of gnarly gnashers! Tip: Surround your teeth with some colour to make them stand out!


Give it a Floral Finish

The traditional sugar skull design often includes colourful scalloped edges, contouring and patterns. You can replace the colours with black if you’re after a more monochrome look. 

  • To finish off your basic sugar skull, choose a selection of different coloured eye-shadows or pigments such as the Star Gazer Lust Dusts

  • Using a make up brush, first you need to apply a colour surround to your black sections. Try using a damp brush to carefully create scalloped edges around the eyes in a vibrant colour

  • Secondly, you can use colours to give your sugar skull that gorgeously ghoulish face structure that makes the skull so effective. Carefully apply the colours below your cheekbones, creating a triangle shape with the base on the outside of your cheek and the point meeting your painted mouth.

  • When contouring, it helps if you choose two or three shades from the same colour palette, for example a baby pink and fuchsia pink or a sky blue and a navy blue.

  • You can add extra contouring around your temples and forehead to make your sugar skull even more creepy!


Time to Decorate!

This is where you can begin to get creative and make your sugar skull make up suit your original Halloween style! Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Geometric shapes– Why not add a funky contemporary edge to your skull by using liquid eye-liner or face paints to paint colourful geometric shapes and patterns. Tip: Triangles on the cheeks and smaller circles in patterns around the eyes look awesome!

  • Get girly– you can make a sugar skull design as feminine as you like by painting flowers and small birds on the space on your forehead and chin.

  • Make it subtle– if you don’t fancy going all out with a crazily colourful sugar skull, you can easily make it more subtle by swapping out all the black and creating a lighter colour circle around the eyes and nose. If you want an even more casual candied look, don’t bother whiting out your face and simply apply some pretty doodles over your normal make up. 

  • Colour scheme– when creating your sugar skull, decide whether to go for a monochrome black and white style or a pop art style colourful face!

  • Make it symmetrical– the one thing that seems to stand out on the more detailed sugar skulls, is how symmetrical they are! So try to make your patterns, colours and shapes as symmetrical as possible for the best effect.

  • Add some accessories– To finish off your sugar skull look, why not try using some skin-friendly glue to stick gems around your eyes and nose. You can also incorporate your hair into the design by clipping in some colourful feathers and fake flowers.

  • Get those eyes involved– finish off your sugar skull perfectly with some creepy coloured contact lenses to take your face to a whole new level of scary!

  • Make your skull glow– An awesome way to glam up your sugar skull for the night time is to use skin-safe UV paint to create your patterns. Not only will it look cool but when the lights go out, you’ll definitely have all eyes on you!

  • Check out this awesome Buzzfeed article for even more Sugar Skull Make Up Ideas!

If this has got your fright-night feelers tingling and you fancy giving sugar skulls a try this Halloween, check out our Sugar Skull Pinterest board for some more ideas and inspiration!

Follow Blue Banana (Official)’s board Sugar Skulls on Pinterest.