Día de los Muertos is quickly approaching! It’s a time to celebrate life by honoring those who have passed. Originally a Mexican tradition (An Aztec festival dedicated to goddess Mictecacihuatl, Lady of the Dead), this holiday is celebrated over the course of two days, November 1-2. To honor those who have departed, many people visit the graves of family members, make elaborate altars, and celebrate the lives lived with processions, music, dancing, and art.
It was only a year ago that I painted my face for the first time for an art show at Self Help Graphics in Los Angeles. The show was a display of beautiful altars in remembrance of those who died. I didn’t grow up with this tradition, but I’m fascinated by it and hold the day sacred as a time solely dedicated to honoring my grandmother.
Funny how the subconscious minds works. My boyfriend noted that my Day of the Dead look resembled a soap and skincare line called Maja. The collection features an illustration of a Spanish dancer dressed in black and red lace. My grandmother always had Maja soaps in her house. My grandfather always got me a something from the collection for Christmas and sometimes for my birthday. He was very consistent in his gift giving! Even though I looked at Sylvia Ji’s artwork for inspiration, the little Spanish dancer that brings me back to the comfort of my grandmother’s home was there with me.
Day of the Dead Bride 1 of 10
Here is my Day of the Dead look. If you're doing this for the first time, give yourself ample time. Don't let those YouTube makeup tutorial videos fool you. I've been a painter most of my life, and I find that applying makeup like this has many challenges. It can get messy and your hand will shake, especially when you're attempting to put on false lashes over layers of paint.
Sylvia Ji 2 of 10
One of Sylvia Ji's paintings that inspired my look. I wanted to add red to my face instead of black.
Image: Syliva Ji
Maja 3 of 10
The Maja soaps my grandmother always had handy.
Day of the Dead: apply paint 4 of 10
Day of the Dead: apply paint eyes 5 of 10
Realizing that I did not even have the red color I wanted, I used my Smashbox Black Cherry lipstick. Yes, lipstick. I actually like the consistency a lot better than the makeup palettes. I applied with a small brush.
Day of the Dead: flower petals 6 of 10
I added an iridescent red eyeshadow I had from Sephora to the lipstick (similar: Make Up Forever eyeshadow in Cold Red). I let it set for a few minutes and started working on the the petals around my eyes. I used Ben Nye Liquid Paint in black. I blended the black and the red with black eyeshadow. I also used the eyeshadow as eye liner and created a cat eye on the top lid. Make sure you have a nice set of brushes from small to large with round and flat tips to create a variety of effects.
Day of the Dead: Crafty Chica 7 of 10
Color in your nose and paint your lips white. Add your teeth marks. For my chin, I used Craft Chica's Day of the Dead stencils.
Day of the Dead: Crafty Chica Stencil 8 of 10
These are just one of the many different Crafty Chica's face painting stencils.
Day of the Dead: apply embellishments 9 of 10
Add your lashes to complete your eyes. Instead of painting a pattern on my forehead, I used these rhinestone embellishments from Michael's Arts & Crafts.
Day of the Dead Bride and Groom 10 of 10