How to Do Zombie Makeup

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How-To Zombie Makeup

How-To Zombie Makeup
Create your version of the perfect gore zombie. Tara Ann Tyler

Zombies. One reason they are so frightening is because they are us. I love this costume because everyone has a different inner-zombie. Here are the basics of zombie makeup so that you can create your own signature zombie look. Let's get started.

For most zombie makeup, you’re going to need the following supplies:

  • Face Paint Palette: The Snazzaroo Face Paint Palette has a set of 8 classic colors that can be used for all types of face painting. Buy on Amazon.com.
  • Liquid Latex: If you want to create realistic-looking wounds you’re going to want to use liquid latex. Monster Liquid Latex is my favorite brand because it dries quickly and you’re able to apply makeup directly on the latex once it’s dry. Buy Monster Liquid Latex on Amazon.com.
  • Color wheel of bruise colors:  To complete your zombie look, you’re also going to need to create some sunken eyes and bruised body parts. I recommend the Mehron Colo-Rings Palette as it has the perfect set of colors for creating realistic-looking bruises. Buy Mehron Colo-Rings Palette on Amazon.com.

Don't forget the fake blood - Make your own fake blood using everyday kitchen items. I have 8 different fake blood recipes so you can make bright red blood, dried blood, realistic blood and even scabs.

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Use Liquid Latex to Create Realistic Wounds

Realistic Zombie Wounds
Realistic Zombie Wounds. Rain Blanken

For real gore, liquid latex is a must-have in your zombie makeup box. It's easy to apply and can get you disgustingly realistic results.

Sticking with the basics? Let's go ahead and make the zombie bite.

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Pale the Skin

Use your cream white to pale the skin. To keep things looking real and creepy, add a light swipe of green and red under the cheekbones to create a sunken-cheeked look.

Next, let's add bruises and sinking to the eyes.

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Add Veins to Face

Use a brush loaded with black and red to create these veins that are often characteristic of zombies that were created by an outbreak or disease.

Be sure to make these lines emerge from the edges of the face. Next, we will sink and bruise the eyes.

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Sink and Bruise the Eyes

Zombie Makeup
Make a bruised eye, as shown, or create a sunken eye. Rain Blanken

For a sunken, diseased or bruised zombie eye, first use your finger to blot red along the bottom of the eye socket and around the top of the lid.

For a bruise, Apply a light layer of blue over the red, and add yellow around the edges of the bruise.

For a sunken eye socket, use your paintbrush to outline the bottom of the eye socket in black. Blend the black in toward the eye. Blot the red area with a light layer of black and blue.

Now we will create some realistic latex wounds.

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Create the Bite

zombie makeup
Use liquid latex to create the base of the zombie bite. Rain Blanken

Every zombie remembers their first zombifying bite. To create yours, use liquid latex or a fake skin recipe.

For a round bite like this one, blot on the latex with a q-tip, as shown. Use a press-and-lift blotting motion rather than simply drawing on the circle.

Use a hair dryer to solidify the latex. This will take a minute or two for small areas of latex.

Cover the latex with black makeup, then brush a generous amount of red into the middle of the wound. Lightly brush over the black area with red. We aren't done with the bite just yet.

Let's add bruising and blood to the bite.

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Add Bruising to the Bite

Zombie Makeup
Blend the bruise into the skin so that it looks real. Rain Blanken

Now we need to blend the bite into the rest of your skin. This method also works to make wounds anywhere on the body.

Use your fingers to pat on dark blue around the rim of the black latex. Start out thick around the edge of the latex and gradually apply less as you move away from the wound. Apply red over the blue areas, blending into your skin color at the outside of the bruise.

Now add blots of yellow at choice spots, using your finger again to lightly apply the makeup. The yellow blotches will give the bruise a more realistic look. Next, let's take a look at gross prosthetic pieces....

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Add a Prosthetic Latex Piece

Prosthetic latex wound
Make a store-bought latex wound look like the real thing. Rain Blanken

I love the flexibility of liquid latex, but ready-made prosthetic latex pieces can add some extra oomph to a zombie costume. I'll show you how to take those store-bought latex pieces and turn them into serious wounds.

Next, add fake blood to your wounds.

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Add Fake Blood to the Wound

Zombie Makeup
Add blood to wounds to make them nice and juicy. Rain Blanken

Use a stipple sponge to apply droplets of blood to the wound. If you don't have a stipple sponge, use a scouring pad or bath puff instead.

Coat the front of your sponge with fake blood and gently blot it over the wound. The idea is to create round droplets.

For dripping blood, just give the sponge a squeeze to make the fake blood run out over the skin. You can add a little bit of blood to the bite wound, or go crazy and cover the side of your face in a tell-tale blood spatter.

Next, we will blacken the teeth and add mouth blood.

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Blacken the Teeth and Drool that Blood

Zombie Makeup
Add black teeth and a bloody mouth to complete the look. Rain Blanken

If there is any one scary part of a zombie, it is their hungry, hungry mouths. People really are bothered by a toothless or rotten mouth.

Black out the teeth of your zombie for a truly disturbing touch. I suggest using Mehron Tooth F-X because it will last all day and tastes a little like mint. Alternately, use black lipstick or even some of that prank candy that will turn your entire mouth black.

Most zombies have a generous amount of blood around the mouth. Use your fingers to apply fake blood around the mouth, then blot and drip with the sponge for a natural blood-flow.

Now you've got down the basic maneuvers for zombie makeup. Next, let's look at some tips for success.

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Tips for Zombie Makeup

Zombie Makeup
Create an original zombie character, like Vanessa did. Rain Blanken

  • Don't imitate. Everyone becomes a zombie in a different way. Are you a fresh zombie or have you been dead for a week or two? Did you get bitten on the face or the arm? Have you been part of any blood-drenched zombie buffets?
  • Easy on the blood. When it comes to using fake blood, less is often more. If you smear your entire body in fake blood, then the effect will not be as striking. Focus on choice areas to smear and blot your blood for realism.
  • Don't be afraid of liquid latex and spirit gum. They are easy to use and can make some very convincing effects.​​​
  • Blending makes the difference. For bruises, sunken skin or wounds, don't forget that blending into your own skin tone is what will make the effects look real.