Zombie Makeup Ideas for the Living Dead Look

The Walking Dead has made zombies more popular than ever before. But how do you get that undead look for Halloween? It is not as hard as you might imagine. You can create a scary zombie look by using one of the zombie makeup kits available at Mr. Costumes, or with some simple household items. Below we will give you some ideas on how to do zombie makeup.

The Ultimate Zombie Look

Gory Zombie Makeup

To do your own zombie makeup, you will need:

  • makeup sponge
  • pale foundation
  • dark eyeliners
  • various shades of eye shadow (browns, greens, purples)
  • baby powder (for hair and face)
  • gelatin and/or liquid latex ( for wounds)
  • uncooked oatmeal (for wounds)
  • conditioner (for greasy hair)

First wash your face and pull back your hair. If you are a guy, you should shave so that the gelatin or liquid latex doesn’t get stuck in your facial hair, making it painful to remove. Zombies don’t have beards, after all.

Next you need to prepare the gelatin. Follow the package instructions. Don’t boil it or the texture will change. A good rule of the thumb is 3 parts water to one part gelatin. Microwave it for short intervals to dissolve it into the water. You can also use liquid latex, but make sure you test it on your arm to make sure that you aren’t allergic. Before you apply the gelatin, make sure it is cool. You don’t want to burn yourself. You can a little red and brown food coloring for an even more undead look.

Gelatin mix for fake wounds

Use a Popsicle stick or tongue depressor to apply the gelatin or liquid latex to your face. You can mix dry oatmeal into the substance for more texture. Another way to add texture is to add small pieces of toilet tissue to your face and then spread a thin layer of gelatin or latex over the top. After the latex or gelatin dries, you are ready to add the zombie makeup.

Applying Zombie Makeup

Use the palest foundation you have and carefully dab it over your entire face. Use baby powder to set the foundation. It also will add to your paleness. Next use dark eyeliner or eye shadow to darken your eyes. Use brown, black, and purple eye shadow for a sunken eye effect. Be sure to make dark circles under your eyes stand out.

Next use yellow, green, and brown eye shadow to create your wounds. Apply it in and around the dried gelatin or latex for a more three dimensional and realistic look. Use a toothpick or tweezers to lift up pieces of the dried gelatin or latex to make it look like you have loose flaps of skin.

For more zombie makeup ideas and detailed instructions on how to create your living dead look, watch this Walking Dead makeup tutorial.

Fake Blood

No zombie look is complete without blood. Fake blood comes in most our makeup kits, or you can make your own with cornstarch, red food coloring, cocoa powder and water. A drop of blue food coloring will be make it even more realistic. Use a tooth brush to carefully splatter your face.


To make messy oily hair, rub lots of conditioner through your hair. You can also add baby power for a gray, dull, and dead look. You could also just not wash your hair for a few days.

A Simpler Zombie Look

You can do a simpler less gory zombie look by skipping the gelatin/liquid latex step and just drawing wounds and bruises on your face and neck. Apply a pale foundation and baby powder and begin drawing using red, brown, gray, and green eye shadows. Be sure to make the eyes look especially tired, undead, and sunken since they will be the focal point of your look. Black or brown eyeliner is great for outlining the entire eye. You can buy special colored contacts if you want to enhance your eyes even more. Spray yourself with fake blood, and you are good to go!

Zombie Makeup Tutorials

For even more zombie makeup ideas and DIY instructions, check out these other tutorials.

WikiHow has a very detailed guide to applying zombie makeup.

Fairest’s Favorites has an illustrated step by step guide to applying zombie makeup. She has an easy recipe for fake blood too.

Clean Up

When you are ready to rejoin the land of the living, take a long hot shower and use lots of soap. The gelatin or liquid latex will come of easily with soap, warm water, and gentle scrubbing. Make sure you also clean out the shower afterwards, so the bathroom does not look like a murder scene with all the makeup left in the drain.

Use these zombie makeup ideas to create your own ghastly look. Pair it with any of our zombie costumes and you are ready for a night of scary fun!