Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dia de Los Muertos

Sugar skull sundress (ModCloth)
I was cut from my 5th grade choir in elementary school. I've been told that I should lip-sync in church. If I was a waitress at one of those restaurants where the staff embarrass guests on their birthdays with a raucous serenade and a free dessert, I'm quite certain I'd be asked NOT to participate. Even so, I love music and I love to sing. When I'm alone in my car, I'm a diva, singing along to the radio in full-voice with facial expressions and steering wheel drums to match. Sure, I get plenty of strange looks and a few laughs from people who catch my private stoplight concerts, but it's never bothered me a bit. 

When I drove down the road in full sugar skull makeup in broad daylight, however, I have to admit I felt a little self-conscious. It still didn't stop me from singing, but when the police officer who pulled alongside me on the north side of town did a triple take, I realized I just might look a little crazy in my patchwork special effects contacts and painted face as I belted out The Freaks Come Out At Night (remember that old chestnut?)!  
The kitty cat is my beautiful niece; Cosmetic contact lenses will add unparalleled drama, but your eyes will need time to get used to them. This pair can be found at, and could also be used in a Nightmare Before Christmas look.
Even so, it was such a fun look that I'm already planning a fiesta to celebrate next year's Dia de los Muertos! If you're thinking a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull look, I'll offer a few tips: 

     1) Unless you have lots of practice or an artistic friend, you'll get the best results if you engage a professional makeup artist to help you. Creating symmetrical designs on your own face in the mirror is challenging (kind of like painting your finernails with your non-dominant hand). A professional will also likely have higher quality face paints than you'll find in the Halloween aisle of your local drugstore; 

     2) If you do plan to do it yourself, skip the overpriced yet cheap stuff at your local pop-up Halloween superstore and check out Silly Farm for high quality online supplies. Michaels also carries good face paints now;

     3) Plan on a couple of hours for a really detailed design that will last through the night. Intricate embellishments take time, though stencils can help speed the process. Even with simpler designs, though, it's critical to give each layer and color time to "set" before adding more. Otherwise you'll end up with a smeared, muddy looking mess; 

     4) Temporary tattoos don't work very well - so save your money. Prior to going the makeup route, I discovered sugar skull temporary tattos online. I loved the look, but the quality ended up being about in line with a prize from the bottom of a box of Count Chocula. More importantly, they have to be applied on clean, makeup free skin, which means you can't put on the critical white "skull face" base first.

     5) Theatrical cosmetic contact lenses will add unparalleled drama to the look. If you don't need corrective lenses, you can find a wide variety of fun lenses online for less than $50. If, like me, you need prescription lenses, your options will be a little narrower and more expensive. However, when well cared for, they can be worn on multiple occasions. I have a few different designs (and will use another pair for a completely different look at a costume party tonight). My primary resource is VisionDirect.

     6) If you're going to try cosmetic lenses, put them on and spend some time wearing them before you go into the makeup chair. Even if you're used to contacts, theatrical or novelty lenses are generally larger in diameter and take some getting used to. Until your eyes get accustomed to them, they are likely to water more than normal, causing the sugar skull makeup to run (I learned this the hard way); 

     7) Finally, don't hug anyone taller than you, or they will end up wearing your face on their shoulder! 
The flowers in my hair came from an old Christmas decoration (I repurpose items whenever I can); Thanks to Kelly Oswalt for the makeup (and for reapplying my right eye more than once when it wouldn't stop watering!)

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

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and for some great style tips, check out Style Crone's Hat Attack!


  1. Wow, what amazing makeup! And the sugar skull dress is perfect for the look.

    1. Thanks so much! It's a look I'd been wanting to try for a long time and when I found the dress I knew it was time!

  2. Your "sugar skull" look is glorious and I'm enamored with the recycled flowers in your hair. You are a true creative! Thank you for sharing your talent and beauty with Hat Attack.

    1. Thank you, Judith, for your comment and for being such an inspiration and an individual!

  3. Your make up is so wonderfully done and your `sugar skull` dress just perfect for the whole look. Such a clever, creative look.