Zombie special effects makeup tutorial

Zombies have become a pop culture favorite with television shows such as AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and movies such as “World War Z.” With Halloween this weekend, zombie special effects makeup is the perfect idea for a costume.

Most items needed to create the look are already lying around your house and it’s the perfect icebreaker for parties or just impressing your friends. Practice does make perfect, so I recommend trying the look prior to Halloween day and watching YouTube channels on special effects makeup to familiarize yourself with the process.

What you need:

Liquid Latex (Halloween Store) Glue can also be used in case of allergies

1-ply toilet paper or toilet paper that can be separated into 1-ply

Container for latex

Blow dryer


Costume makeup in burgundy, brown, red and black

Liquid Foundation two shades darker than skin tone

Makeup sponges or brushes

Cotton Balls (2)

Fake Blood (Halloween store)

Fake Eyeball or clay to create your own eyeball (Craft store)

Paint (only if creating your own eyeball)

Creating the zombie wound:

1. Map out the general area for the wound with a makeup pencil or costume makeup. Keep in mind, liquid latex will be applied to the whole area and a little past the outlined wound so make sure you are comfortable applying latex to those areas. For this look, I covered about half my face with latex, leaving a circle open around my eye.

2. Pour some liquid latex into a container and using a makeup sponge or brush, apply the latex to the desired area in a stripling motion. Rip a small piece of 1-ply toilet paper into the size of the applied latex and press on top of the latex before it dries. For a flawless seam from latex to actual skin, apply the toilet paper in one direction and flatten onto skin in the opposite.

3. Apply another layer of liquid latex onto the toilet paper in the same direction used before, applying a little farther beyond the edges of the toilet paper. Blow dry until tacky and yellow in color. Repeat steps two and three until five or more layers of liquid latex and toilet paper are applied and dry.

4.To help hide the skin to latex seam, apply each piece of toilet paper slightly higher or lower than the previous piece. For this particular look, divide the sections above and below the eye and work on each separately. This will help blend each area into one larger area.

Opening the wound:

1. Once the latex is in place and fully dry, it will feel like you are wearing a second layer of skin. The latex will move with your facial expression just like your skin does. Using your fingers, gently pull on the latex in the middle of your forehead until you are safely able to cut the latex with scissors. This will create a small hole used to fully open the zombie wound.

2. After the hole has been created, used your fingers or scissors to cut the wound bigger, tearing pieces as you go to resemble torn flesh. The latex should still be slightly tacky, so flipping the latex so the inside shows on the outside and sticking it down is an option. For this particular look, make the wound larger around the eye and thinner as it travels up the forehead.

3. Repeat steps one and two, except starting at the middle of your cheek.

Applying the eyeball:

1. If you decide to use an eyeball, apply some liquid latex onto the skin where the eyeball should sit and press the eyeball into the latex until dry. The latex will secure the eyeball in place and prevent it from falling.

2. To create optic nerves or hanging skin for realism, pull apart a cotton ball until it is in thin strips and dip it into liquid latex and lay it across your actual eye (don’t get the latex into your eye) attaching it to the eyeball and then the opening portion of the forehead wound. Once the latex starts drying, gently pull on the cotton ball to add more depth or apply more cotton balls using the process above. Dry fully with a blow dryer.

Painting the Wound:

1. I will refer to the wound as inside (use to touch actual skin) and outside (not touching skin) because each needs to be painted differently. To paint the inside of the latex, apply a burgundy makeup or paint to the latex creating the illusion of ripped open flesh. To paint the outside, use a foundation color two shades darker than your skin tone and fully apply to the latex as well as farther past onto your actual skin to blend the seam. Set with a powder.

2. To paint the actual wound portion, start with a red makeup and fill the entire area. If you decide to use the eyeball, paint a black circle onto your skin where your eye socket is. Don’t forget your eyelid as well. Without dipping the brush back into the black makeup, dap the outer edges of the entire portion of red makeup to darken the wound. The wound will look more realistic the more contrast there is between the edges and middle.

3. Add fake blood to the inside of the wound and dripping around the edges. Add the blood to your liking. Using the brown makeup, also add bruising and dirt to the outside portion of latex and also onto your skin that doesn’t have makeup. This will blend any seams that are visible and also add final details to the zombie look.

4. Use a piece of black paper or tape to cover your eye under the fake eyeball, or leave it open and just close your eye.

Have fun scaring your friends and fellow partygoers with this look. All special effects makeup for this look can start with the beginning processes so get creative and add wounds to the rest of your body for a total zombie look.

Share with us a picture of your Halloween makeup or costume on Twitter or Instagram by tagging @TheEasternEcho and using the hash tag #EchoHalloween for your chance to be featured in the paper next week.

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