Zombie Makeup

For thousands of years makeup has been used by women to enhance beauty, it has also been utilized in the movies to create special effects. One of the most important visual effects in zombie movies is the dramatic, appetence of rotting flesh wounds, dried blood, and pealing skin and other bodily lesions created by using cosmetic makeup. Makeup can make a happy little blond girl look like an intimidating pale walking corpse ready to feast on the living.

Zombie makeup can be a bit tricky without knowing where to start. With the right tools most gory wounds can be a much easier than you think. Here are a few tips to help you with your zombie special effects makeup.

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Zombie Makeup


Most tools used for creating gruesome zombie special effects don’t have to be expensive. Don’t rush off and buy an expensive “professional” special effects makeup kit. Here are some basic products and information:

Some application tools are going to be required to put the makeup on. Try not to buy expensive brushes because they will get ruined. Don’t use fine art brushes; they will clump up easily and quickly become useless. Cheap children’s paint brushes work just fine. Other household items such as sponges, combs or anything else you can imagine can be great for creating interesting textures, just know that these items will probably need to be thrown away when finished.

Selecting the right makeup is easy. Don’t use normal women’s cosmetic makeup it is usually very expensive. Most costume or Halloween shops sell greasepaints, cream and powders for relatively cheap and they work great. Keep in mind if using greasepaints its good to have a powder to help set it, baby powder works great.

One of the most impressive features of zombie effects are the gashing wounds. Liquid Latex is the best way to make these realistic, thin Elmer’s glue or PVA glue are not as convincing but still get the job done if needed. It is important to spread latex thin, if done so it will dry clear and have better results. Other Prosthetic adhesives such as spirit gum can be used to fix random items on to the skin for long periods of time.

Other items can be used for a wide range of effects. Toilet paper is good for creating more textured and rippled looks. Cables, cut plastic bottles, candles, pretty much anything imaginable can be used to have some kind of effect. Zombies wouldn’t be quit as disgusting without oozing blood. Fake blood is cheap in can usually be found in the same places as the greasepaints and makeup. Even cheaper alternatives can be made at home by using red food coloring and corn syrup, some powders such as Kool-Aid and cocoa powder can help giver richer colors and also helps to give a clotting look.


Are you allergic to any of the products?

If you are not sure it is a good idea to test the product before you put it all over your face or other parts of your body. Take a small drop of the product you are not sure about and smear it on a clean place on your skin. Let is sit and dry for at least 20min. if you are allergic you will typically develop redness and sometimes swelling around the affected area.

Prepare for removal

Before putting the makeup on remember that it is going to have to come off. Shave the target area, some makeup products such as liquid latex will stick to the hair and can be it can be very painful taking when taking it off. It can also be beneficial to use a few applications of moisturizers on the skin prior to using the makeup which makes it easier to take everything off. Keep baby oil handy, when it is time to remove it makes a significant difference to rub the baby oil on the areas 5 min before washing with soap and water.


The first thing that should be done before applying any makeup is to decide what effects are going to be done. Make a layout of each lesion, skin flake, gouges you are going to be create and gather the materials for each one. After deciding and all materials are on the table wash the face and any other place you wish to make an effect thoroughly.

Begin with a Base layer of liquid latex or glue; it takes about 5min to dry. Be careful if using blow-dryers to speed up the drying process, sometimes the latex can turn not very appealing yellow when exposed to heat. After the first layer is almost dry add your toilet paper, oatmeal, cornflakes, or whatever your effects might be and cover them with a second layer of liquid latex.

When the second layer settles tear what needs tearing and apply another base layer of white or buff color cream based makeup. This sets up a pallet for the rest of your art work. Apply black grease paint around the eyes, inside any constructed wounds and mouth areas. If you have more colors apply them next starting for lighter colors and finishing with the darker ones. It’s usually a good idea to add some baby powder to help everything set. Finally add your fake blood or other final touches.

Here are some good videos that can help.