The Best Halloween Makeup, According to a Makeup Artist

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For the bloodiest Dracula look. Photo: Courtesy of the vendor, Getty Images

We asked professional makeup artist Rebecca Perkins of Rouge NY (it was her job to make corpses look real on Law & Order: SVU) what the best body makeup was for those looking to go full-on Statue of Liberty or more subtle vampire.

“The easiest way to get long-lasting body makeup is to get it done professionally with an airbrush. Of course, most people don’t really need to go to those lengths, so if you want to do it at home as an amateur, I always recommend Mehron Liquid Makeup. It’s water-based, which I prefer to cream-based versions that move around after you’ve applied them. With water-based makeup, once it’s dry, it’s set — of course sweat or friction will cause it to flake, but you can help keep it on by using a protector such as Ben Nye neutral face powder, which is great for helping more liquefied makeups set.

Mehron has such a wide color range — you really can get whatever you want in black, blue, purple, and red — and if you want to achieve something specific, you can buy a few and mix them to your preference, too (which you can do, because they’re so affordable). Something else that’s really great about Mehron is that it’s very buildable, which means that you can layer it on without having it turn cakey-looking — perfect if you want to get a super deep green for a witch effect or a rich crimson for a devil costume. Just put on a layer, let it set for a few minutes, then smooth another on. I once did the makeup for an all-nude production of Measure for Measure at the Public Theater in which every actor was a corpse. If these paints can hold up through a three-hour Shakespearean ghoul fest, they’ll be fine for Halloween.”

Runners Up

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

“This brand was created by a French makeup artist who worked in a lot of theater and TV production, so it really works under harsh conditions. It’s a cult product that’s on the expensive side (it was bought by LVMH in 1999, after all), but I love their high-quality intense colors.”

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

“Created by a German chemist in Berlin, this was the official makeup used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics (with all those sweaty acrobats), so it’s really well-made stuff. I especially like the futuristic metallics like copper, silver, and gold.”

And The Tools You’ll Need

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

For Basic Makeup Applying
“Pour out your color onto a paper plate. Never, ever just use your hands to smear it on your body! You’ll never get an even application that way. Instead, use a cotton and velour powder puff, which will really give you that consistent layer of makeup.”

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

For Mixing and Detail Work
“There’s no reason to buy makeup brushes or even ruin the ones you already have. Buy some inexpensive craft or art brushes for face work — just like when you were a kid.”

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

For Removing It
“Simple soap and water should do the trick, as should makeup-remover wipes. If you’re finding it tough, try a bi-phased (meaning it contains oil and water) makeup remover, such as this one from L’Oréal Paris.”

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The Best Halloween Makeup, According to a Makeup Artist