Scary ghouls, wicked witches and notorious characters are likely top of mind right now as we are swiftly approaching Halloween. While the main priority of your costume planning is what you’re actually wearing, you should also think about how you’ll use makeup to bring your look to life.
“Halloween is the perfect time to experiment with makeup because it’s the one time of year that it’s acceptable (and appreciated) to go to the extreme — the more creative you are the better!” says makeup artist and content creator Annie Thomas, who is known for her dynamic artistry and drastic transformations.
No matter what your costume is this year, there are plenty of products to help you achieve the perfect look. To make it easier for all of us, we consulted with three makeup artists to find the best Halloween makeup products out there — that will hopefully save you the trouble of experimenting with low-quality options that won’t work, or even worse, break you out. From fake blood to face paint to glitter and gems, keep reading to find all the products you’ll need this spooky season.
Mehron Velvet Finish Smoothing Primer ($18.70; amazon.com)
Mehron Velvet Finish Smoothing Primer
“I always recommend prepping the skin! Not only does it give your makeup more of a flawless finish and helps it stay on longer, but it also protects your skin from potential toxins that can be in makeup — especially if your skin is not too familiar with the ingredients found in certain Halloween products,” explains special effects makeup artist and educator Elly Supalo.
Her favorite skin-prepping product is the Mehron Velvet Finish Smoothing Primer that “is infused with aloe vera extract and vitamin C, which help nourish your skin [as] opposed to it drying it out.”
Mehron Skin Prep Pro ($12.95; amazon.com)
Mehron Skin Prep Pro
“I don’t like using lotions to prep my face for Halloween makeup because they make water-activated paint less pigmented, and it makes creme paint slide around on the skin, so a toner is best!” explains Thomas.
Her top choice is Mehron’s Skin Prep Pro “because it really locks on your makeup and prevents oil production.”
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (starting at $29; sephora.com)
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream
Makeup artist and content creator Brooke Ellis, on the other hand, says that she “always uses a thick moisturizer or primer underneath to create a bit of a barrier under [her] makeup.”
She loves the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream “because it’s super thick and rich.” The cream is even formulated with hyaluronic acid to plump the skin and diminish the look of fine lines.
e.l.f Mineral-Infused Face Primer ($7; target.com)
E.l.f Mineral Infused Face Primer
“I love the e.l.f Mineral-Infused Face Primer, as it smooths the skin to give you an even base,” says Ellis — leaving you with a matte-like finish for makeup.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation ($18, originally $34; fentybeauty.com)
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation
For complexion, Ellis shares that she loves Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation — noting that it’s her favorite foundation ever. Particularly helpful to those of us with drier skin, this lightweight, medium-to-full-coverage foundation delivers a beautiful natural finish.
Morphe Filter Effect Soft-Focus Foundation ($20; ulta.com)
Morphe Filter Effect Soft-Focus Foundation
“Morphe Filter Effect Soft-Focus Foundation is my favorite foundation at the moment because it really blurs your pores and wears well throughout the day,” says Thomas. Most notably, this formula is meant to be sweat- and transfer-proof to hold your look still throughout the night’s festivities.
Nars Light-Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder ($37; sephora.com)
Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
Don’t underestimate the power of a good setting powder to lock in your look. “The Nars Light-Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder in Crystal is my current go-to, as it doesn’t have any pigment and works perfectly with face paint!” says Ellis.
Morphe x Ariel Signature Eyes 8-Piece Eye Brush Set ($48; morphe.com)
Morphe x Ariel Signature Eyes 8-Piece Eye Brush Set
“Morphe brushes are my favorite all year round,” says Ellis. “My favorite collection they have ever done is the Ariel x Morphe Brush Set. I use them every day!” This collaboration set features eight eye multitasking brushes to blend, smudge or define.
Bs-Mall 14-Piece Makeup Brush Set ($10.99, originally $11.99; amazon.com)
Bs-Mall 14-Piece Makeup Brush Set
“When doing Halloween makeup for beginners, cheap brushes will do the trick! Amazon offers a nice selection for cheap,” explains Supalo. Generating nearly 62,000 5-star ratings, this 14-piece set is a remarkable find to apply product to the face and eyes.
Innogear 10-Piece Makeup Sponge Set ($8.99; amazon.com)
Innogear 10-Piece Makeup Sponge Set
“I also would recommend using a makeup sponge so there’s less potential for it to come off streaky,” says Supalo. Try this makeup sponge set if you don’t want to use your current assortment on thicker, colorful Halloween makeup.
Morphe Luminous Setting Spray ($16; morphe.com)
Morphe Luminous Setting Spray
“This setting spray gives you a gorgeous glow and smells like a vacation in a bottle,” says Ellis of the Morphe Luminous Setting Spray.
Ben Nye Final Seal Matte Makeup Setting Spray ($24.49, originally $28.86; amazon.com)
Ben Nye Final Seal Matte Makeup Setting Spray
To set her finished face, Thomas uses the Ben Nye Final Seal to lock in makeup, reduce shine and achieve a matte finish.
Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray (starting at $15; sephora.com)
Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
How does Supalo set her finished look? “I always use Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. It really helps keep your makeup on, and I always apply this over Halloween makeup as well!”
Colourpop Pressed Powder Blush in Saving the World ($12; colourpop.com)
Colourpop Pressed Powder Blush in Saving The World
An orange-hued blush can give you the sun-kissed look you aspire toward. “I love Colourpop blushes, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be [the brand’s] Power Puff Blush [in shade] Saving the World, as its orange and perfect for Halloween!”
Colourpop Witching Hour Shadow Palette ($22; colourpop.com)
Colourpop Witching Hour Shadow Palette
If you want a new eye shadow palette to complete your look, Supalo thinks Colourpop Cosmetics offers affordable palettes that are very pigmented. This palette features shades of neutrals, oranges, golds, corals, purples and blues that reviewers say are buttery soft and easy to blend.
Revolution Beauty ‘The Simpsons’ Makeup Revolution ‘Spooktacular’ Shadow Palette ($25; revolutionbeauty.us)
Revolution Beauty The Simpsons Makeup Revolution “Spooktacular” Shadow Palette
“My favorite palette this Halloween has to be the Revolution Beauty x ‘The Simpsons’ ‘Spooktacular’ Shadow Palette. The colors are perfect for Halloween and the packaging is to die for!” exclaims Ellis.
Kiss Drenched Lash Drip Strip Lashes ($4.99; ulta.com)
Kiss Drenched Lash Drip Strip Lashes
Let Halloween be your excuse to rock a dramatic lash. We can’t wait to wear these wet-effect lashes by Kiss that deliver just the right amount of volume.
Trestique Good Vibes Mascara ($25; revolve.com)
Trestique Good Vibes Mascara
“Trestique Good Vibes Mascara is my absolute favorite for a strong hold, plus it has a built-in curler!” says Thomas. Not only is this mascara vegan, it’s formulated to define and moisturize your lashes at the same time.
London Copyright Magnetic Face Powder Palette Highlight (£12.50, londoncopyright.com)
London Copyright Magnetic Face Powder Palette Highlight
Ellis is a fan of the London Copyright Magnetic Face Powder Highlight Palette because of the fun highlight colors: green, blue, pink and yellow.
Kvd Beauty Alchemist Holographic Palette ($10, originally $32; kvdveganbeauty.com)
Kvd Beauty Alchemist Holographic Palette
KVD Alchemist Holographic Palette comes as a stellar highlighter recommendation of Supalo’s. It features four iridescent highlight shades, each packed with refractive pearls, for intensive shimmer.
Nyx Face & Body Glitter ($6.50; amazon.com)
Nyx Face & Body Glitter
Supalo says she’s heard great things about Nyx glitters. We plan on shopping the brand’s selection of loose face and body glitter pots that are available in a variety of crystal and sparkle shades.
Nyx Glitter Goals Cream Pro Glitter Palette ($25; ulta.com)
Nyx Glitter Goals Cream Pro Glitter Palette
“Gel glitters are my favorite because they stay put better than loose glitters,” says Thomas. Nyx’s Glitter Goals Cream Pro Palette — her preferred palette — includes 10 sparkling, creamy shades that spread easily, even without primer.
Super Z Outlet Assorted Colorful Stick-On Jewels ($6.99; amazon.com)
Super Z Outlet Assorted Colorful Stick-On Jewels
If glitters won’t make enough of a statement, try adhesive jewels. According to Thomas, “your local craft store should have all of the necessary stick-on jewels and gems, but Amazon is another great option.” She recommends this set that contains an assortment of 100 jewels.
Hoiny Adhesive Gem Stickers ($8.99; amazon.com)
Hoiny Adhesive Gem Stickers
For smaller gems, Thomas likes this set that contains 14 sheets of self-adhesive rhinestones in an assortment of colors and shapes.
Ben Nye Stage Blood ($24.99; amazon.com)
Ben Nye Stage Blood
“I always use Ben Nye Stage Blood. [It] doesn’t stain clothing and is also mouth-safe,” says Supalo, and according to Thomas, it’s “great for realistic coloring and dries in place better.”
Snazaroo Classic Face and Body Paint ($8.46; amazon.com)
Snazaroo Classic Face and Body Paint
Ellis likes Snazaroo’s collection of face and body paints because of its expansive color range. So much so, that she has nearly every color and uses them every day.
Ben Nye Thick Blood ($7; camerareadycosmetics.com)
Ben Nye Thick Blood
“There are so many different types of fake blood depending on the effect that you are looking for,” says Thomas. “Ben Nye Thick Blood [is great] for realistic fake cuts and wounds [because it has] more of a chunky blood texture.”
Mehron Spirit Gum & Remover Combo Kit ($14.03; amazon.com)
Mehron Spirit Gum & Remover Combo Kit
“Mehron does the best adhesives for special effects makeup — they last all day!” says Ellis, and Supalo agrees: “Depending on what you’re wanting to achieve, Spirit Gum is great for small prosthetics such as a horn or a witch nose.” Thomas builds that this is “the most user-friendly adhesive to apply anything from jewels and devil horns to facial hair.”
Mehron Liquid Latex ($14.95; amazon.com)
Mehron Liquid Latex
According to Supalo, this “liquid latex could also be used as an adhesive for small things such as rhinestones or jewels.” It’s described as a strong but flexible hold, formulated to create textured effects like aged or peeling skin.
Mehron Perforrmance Squirt Blood ($8.95; amazon.com)
Mehron Perforrmance Squirt Blood
Maybe your costume requires a gush or splattered blood effect. For that, Thomas recommends Mehron’s Squirt Blood because it has a “runny formula.”
Mehron Blood Splatter ($5.79; amazon.com)
Mehron Blood Splatter
Thomas says that you could also try Mehron’s Blood Splatter that’s designed to drip down like real blood, and comes in a spray bottle.
Ben Nye Ultimate FX Palette ($70; camerareadycosmetics.com)
Ben Nye Ultimate FX Palette
Both Thomas and Supalo recommend the Ben Nye Creme Paints. Thomas says that it’s “high quality and really grips to the skin,” making it “perfect for an all-over face base or to create cuts and bruising.” Grab this palette of 18 versatile colors to create that look you’ve been dreaming about.
Mehron Paradise Makeup (starting at $11.75, originally $12.35; amazon.com)
Mehron Paradise Makeup
“Mehron Paradise Paint has been my tried and true for five years now. I’ve tried everything on the market and it’s truly the best you can get!” says Thomas. “It doesn’t flake or fade throughout the day!” Just pick which water-activated face and body paint shades suit your look.
Lunar Beauty Hallows Eve Liquid Lipstick ($18; lunarbeauty.com)
Lunar Beauty Hallows Eve Liquid Lipstick
“Lunar Beauty has the best lip formula I have ever tried — and I’ve tried a lot! They are highly pigmented and ultra soft on your lips,” says Ellis, adding that she’s a fan of its Halloween collection. What’s not to love about this stunning muted orange shade perfect for fall?
BH Cosmetics Oral Fixation High Shine Lip Gloss ($7.00, originally $14; ulta.com)
BH Cosmetics Oral Fixation High Shine Lip Gloss
Supalo looks to BH Cosmetics to finish off her Halloween looks because the brand “offers a great cheaper line of lipsticks and glosses that work great.” We have our eyes on the Oral Fixation High Shine Lip Gloss that’s moisturizing with a reflective shimmer.
Uoma Beauty Badass Icon Matte Lipstick ($24; ulta.com)
Uoma Beauty Badass Icon Matte Lipstick
Maybe a matte lip will suit your costume better this year. If that’s the case, look for Black-owned beauty brand Uoma’s Badass Icon Matte Lipstick that we rated as the best moisturizing matte lipstick on the market.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm ($64; ulta.com)
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
“I always use a balm or oil to remove my Halloween makeup. These break down the products on your face so you don’t have to scrub your skin to remove anything,” says Ellis. She swears by the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm for her face, noting how much she loves the smell. This top-rated balm transforms from balm to cleansing oil to cleansing milk for an effectively unique cleansing experience.
Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser ($9.74, originally $12.99; amazon.com)
Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser
Thomas is also a fan of makeup dissolving balms, like the Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser. This affordable, fragrance-free cleanser removes makeup and other impurities without water — leaving you with soft, clean skin. Celebrity makeup artist Latrice Johnson shared her love for this too when she told us the best ways to remove makeup.
Sol Body Cleansing Oil ($16; colourpop.com)
Sol Body Cleansing Oil
“For my body, I use the Sol Body Cleansing Oil,” says Ellis. “I highly recommend applying these removers and leaving them on the skin for a few minutes so they have time to break down the [makeup]” before rinsing off.