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Stage Makeup How-To - Zombie

How to do zombie makeup like a pro!

Whether you are a theater professional, an actor in a school play, or if you have a Halloween-themed performance coming up, chances are high you’ve been cast as a zombie. Now is the time to begin creating the perfect costume, and here at Mallatt’s, we’re positively dying to help. We’re excited to share with you a Stage Makeup How-To: how to transform yourself into a ghastly, undead zombie.

Learn how to do zombie makeup like a pro with our stage makeup how to guide.


Mallatt’s offers a variety of zombie makeup kits. You can either use the included instructions or improvise and follow the tips below. Get creative and see what you can do with some 3D gelliquid latex, professional cream-based makeup, sponges, and a few key extras. When creating your zombie face, there are three elements to consider: texture, complexion, and wounds.

Skin Texture
Zombies are the undead, and your skin should reflect that. Forget the flawless skin you’ve seen in makeup ads. You’re looking for decaying and rotting flesh. To start, moisturize your face with a light lotion. You can choose to use either 3D makeup gel or liquid latex for the perfect zombie-like skin texture. If you use 3D gel, heat the gel according to instructions on the package and apply it using a makeup mixing spatula. When using liquid latex, shake the bottle and use a disposable makeup sponge to apply it to your face. (For extra texture, add a single layer of tissue or dry oatmeal before the latex dries, and then apply a second coat of latex.) Once the gel or latex dries, you can tear holes in it to achieve a great pitted texture. You’ll need to use setting powder immediately afterward to keep the latex from clumping together and to finalize your complexion.


Mehron 3-D Gel Effects


Ben Nye Liquid Latex


Graftobian HD LuxeCashmere Setting Powders


When you choose a skin color for your zombie face you’ll want to go with greens and grays, but keep in mind too that a lighter shade of foundation makeup means a younger zombie, whereas darker foundations indicate an older zombie. Use the edge of your sponge wedge or brush to apply your foundation lightly and unevenly over your entire face and over the 3D gel or latex you’ve already applied. The cream foundation will appear darker on the latex you have applied to your skin, which will give you a great mottled complexion. Next, apply a darker grey makeup color to shadow areas of your face such as temples, eye sockets, hollows of your cheeks, wrinkles on your forehead, and the neck area below your chin. Don’t forget to also coat your lips.

Now that you’ve fashioned the texture and complexion of your zombie face, you’re ready for the fun part: creating the wounded features of a sleep-deprived, brain-dead zombie. Using a stipple or sea sponge, apply a dark makeup color, such as a moldy green.

After you have perfected your zombie face, you’ll want to set it with a powder to ensure its longevity. Grab a powder puff, add setting powder, and rub both sides of the puff together so that all your powder seems to have disappeared into the puff, and press the powder on your face to set your makeup. (Be sure to dust off any excess powder.) Treat only small areas at a time. If you find that the powder mutes your makeup’s colors, gently remove some of it using a damp cloth. for the outline of your wounds and a deeper red to make some of the pitted areas you created look like open wounds.

Graftobian Blood Gel


Finally, apply a professional fake blood product to make your open wounds really stand out. Apply Fresh Scab makeup or blood gel to the scarred areas of your face, and simply let it dry to achieve the full gruesome effect. You can also smear stage blood around your mouth to create the impression that your zombie character just devoured a fresh brain.

Now that you’ve created the perfect zombie face, consider these final touches: color your teeth with tooth wax or Mehron’s Tooth FX for a suitably decadent grimace; fix your hair to look unkempt (try adding gel or Vaseline and then dusting it with dirt or baby powder); paint your nails so they appear broken and cracked; wear torn and tattered clothing; and add accessories like costume jewelryhistorical costume pieces (if you are zombie from the past), or a unique costume hat to truly complete your zombie look.

Here at Mallatt’s, we hope this Stage Makeup How-To guide to a great zombie look helps you as you plan your zombie costume for your next performance—not to mention a perfectly ghoulish Halloween!