How to Create Halloween Looks with Makeup You Already Own

Save money and avoid skin reactions by using your own makeup in new ways

How to Create Halloween Looks with Makeup You Already Own

White and purple shadow, cream black eyeliner, and a steady hand is all that's needed to make Liz into a creepy broken doll.

Most traditional cream and cake makeup from Halloween Express, Spirit, or other Halloween stores are very heavy, low quality, and possibly comedogenic (clogs pores). It can be tempting to buy the makeup kits sold at these stores, but they're such low quality that it's really not worth it. Generally they are not packaged very well and start drying out, meaning they will be good for one or two uses and next year you'll have to buy more.

There are a lot of ways to make traditional beauty makeup that's already sitting on your bathroom counter into a great costume look. Not only does this save money, but the chance of developing an allergic reaction or a severe acne breakout from new costume makeup is far lower.

Of course, this all depends on the size of your personal makeup stash and what you're planning on dressing up as for Halloween. If you want to try a full prosthetic Walking Dead zombie, or you own a single eye pencil and one translucent powder, this might not cut it for you.

Find new uses for products

One of my favorite contouring products for an undead look is actually an eyeshadow.

How to Create Halloween Looks with Makeup You Already Own

Merle Norman's Mist eyeshadow is a matte purple-y grey and is great for making gaunt cheeks, hollow eye sockets, and for adding an unhealthy grey cast to skin.

If you're as much of a makeup hoarder as I am, you probably have a few different palettes that you can create this shade without buying it. Scrape off a little matte grey shadow and matte purple shadow from the cakes and mix the loose powder together with a brush.

Use this color to contour cheeks. Find your cheekbones and apply heavily just underneath the bone. Also apply a heavy amount (use an eye shadow primer to get the most pigment to stick) all around your eye socket, a touch to your temples, and along your jawline and neck, and you're halfway to zombie, ghost, or death makeup. Make sure you blend!

Need some bruises? Layering purple with yellow and olive green eye shadows can create some really realistic ugly bruises. Just avoid all shimmer- these have to be matte.

Other colors of eyeshadow can also be very useful. Going as a witch? Some matte green eyeshadow on the high points of your face and around your hairline can create a witchy tint without going fully green. This technique also works well for a wood nymph or Poison Ivy.

How to Create Halloween Looks with Makeup You Already Own

A white shimmer or glitter eyeshadow applied heavily to the eyes, cheekbones, brow bone, and collarbone can create a frosted look if you're planning on going as a fairy, snow queen or Elsa.

How to Create Halloween Looks with Makeup You Already Own

Another item I'm constantly finding new uses for is my High Intensity Pigments black creme eyeliner.

How to Create Halloween Looks with Makeup You Already Own

I'm not even sure if this liner is still being sold in stores, but I'm still using it to create wrinkles, stitches, and to emphasize under eye bags. Whichever black cream eyeliner is sitting in your bathroom will work as long as you have a really thin angled brush. Cream eyeliner easily replaces those cream cakes and can be used for creating Cleopatra, a Day of the Dead sugar skull, a creepy doll with cracks, a clown, kitty whiskers, spiderwebs, veins... this is one of the most versatile products to have. Many of these cream eye liners come in a wide variety of colors as well, making all sorts of face painting possible. Cream liner tends to dry out quickly, so squirting a little cream eyeshadow primer or even eye cream right into the pot can revitalize it.

Only buy what you really need

Some of the only products for a great Halloween makeup that you probably don't have in your bathroom already are fake blood and latex. Get a jar of bloody scab and a small bottle of latex (unless you're allergic, obviously) and play with them before your costume party to make sure you've got a good handle on how to apply them and how to take them off. A little bloody scab goes a long way!

If you know that your personal stash of makeup is not going to cut it for whichever costume you have in mind, the most versatile palette you can buy is Wolfe Brothers Hydrocolors Essential Set, which is a watercolor makeup that I absolutely love and have been using for years. Bartz Party Stores and other professional costume stores will usually carry this palette.

Always patch test

If you do buy any new makeup for this Halloween, make sure you do a patch test for each new product you use, especially if you have sensitive or reactive skin. Be extra careful with anything that contains red pigment, which is the most common color to cause a reaction. Also watch out for adhesives and products with latex. Nothing ruins a good Halloween quite like a chemical burn on your face! I have seen photos from other Estheticians of people that have had severe reactions from face paint and instant eyeshadow 'stickers'. It only takes a minute to apply a small amount of product to right behind your ear to see if you're going to react to it, just in case. An ER visit on Halloween night will take hours.

What are you planning on being for Halloween? Do you have a makeup design in mind yet? Tell us in the comments below!