Naturally Spooky – Make Your Own Natural Halloween Makeup

When looking for Halloween makeup, natural isn’t excactly the first thing that comes to mind. Many of the face paints on the market contain potentially harmful ingredients, especially if you’re looking at cheap products in the toy shops. Actually, a lot of the Halloween makeup on the market isn’t even graded as cosmetics, and therefore they don’t even contain an ingredient list! (if you can’t find an ingredient list, it’s more likely than not to contain stuff you wouldn’t want to put on your face, and even less so on your child’s face).

Last weekend, I was invited to a Halloween party, and I decided it was a good chance to play around with some homemade versions of Halloween makeup. After much consideration, I chose to go as Sweeney Todd (read: after panicking for a whole day I found something I could go as one hour before leaving), which called for some white face paint, white temporary hair dye and some dark makeup for a more undead look – not to mention something that would highlight those cheekbones Johnny Depp-style.

Here’s what I came up with (and sorry for the incredibly lousy bathroom-mirror-mobile-photo):


I wanted to make my hair a bit darker and not quite as red as it is normally. To achieve this, I made an infusion with coffee, nettles and walnut extract (optional) and added a teaspoon of ground activated charcoal. This made my hair a little bit less red and more brown. To make it even darker I mixed some activated charcoal with water and combed it through my hair. Quite messy business but my hair did get darker.
You could also use indigo or katam for black hair, which is more permanent than this. Or try another herbal recipe, depending on what you’re going for.

The white streak in my hair was achieved with the following mixture:

1 tsp titanium dioxide
1/2 tsp zink oxide
1/2 tsp rice flour

Grind the ingredients slightly in a mortar. I mixed this with safflower oil (you could probably use any other oil as well) – start with a few drops and gradually add more until you have a thick but oily paste. I found that a toothbrush worked perfectly for applying the paste into my hair (don’t expect to use the toothbrush for anything else after this though!)


The white foundation is the exact same as the recipe above, some white powders mixed with thistle oil. I was actually very surprised by how well this foundation worked; it gave a very even tone and stayed on perfectly until I washed it out 6 hours after applying. I only used a very thin layer as I didn’t want to be clown-white, only give a bit of a ghastly appearance, but the same recipe could achieve a really strong white appearance too.

Under the eyes I applied a little bit of activated charcoal powder, which worked really well for a hollow-eyed look. I also put some on my eyebrows and just under the cheekbones.


Didn’t need to do anything about my nails – the were really dirty after all that fiddling with charcoal-dyed hair :)


It took a good while to get the dye out of my hair, but your normal hair washing method should do the trick as long as you rinse for long enough. If using  oil in your hair (like the white streak which contained thistle oil) it can be a good idea to apply your conditioner/shampoo/baking soda or whatever you’re using into dry hair, that way it’s more effective against the grease.

The skin makeup comes off easily with any vegetable oil. Just apply some vegetable oil, like olive oil, to a cotton pad and swipe it out.


  • When I tried making a turmeric face mask, I realized it’s really difficult to get out. This had me thinking – turmeric should be the perfect natural yellow food paint. Mix it with some oil and apply to your face if you want to go as… I don’t know, a Simpson character or a chicken?
  • This blog post has some really nice recipes for everything from fake wounds to warts.
  • I know titanium dioxide and zinc oxide might not be found in every kitchen cabinet … You could try using just plain riceflour or cornstarch in the recipe, but I have no idea if it will work or not. Kaolin clay could work as well.
  • If you have some iron oxides you can mix most any color your heart desires into the face paint recipe I mentioned above. It’s a good idea to grind a bit before mixing. If you’re using mica, no need to grind!

Happy Halloween!

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