Spooky season is here and that means dressing up for Halloween. Halloween is the perfect day to go all out with your makeup. From minimal to heavy Halloween makeup, on yourself or someone else, it is important that you use makeup that is safe for your skin.

Read our to learn about skin tips for doing Halloween makeup to make sure your skin doesn’t have a scary reaction.


halloween skin tips for makeup

Prior to applying festive makeup, give yourself enough time to prepare your skin from breaking out. Take the time to exfoliate your skin in the areas you will be applying the makeup to so that your skin will be smooth and rid of dead skin, oil, and bacteria. This will make it easier for you to apply the makeup to those areas and combat blemishes from popping up afterward.

Prepare for the day:

Before you apply makeup all over your face, do a test spot on your arm or hand. If the area of skin that you tested the makeup on does not become irritated or break out in a rash, then it is safe to apply for a test run.

Keep your face clean

Whether you have acne or not, it is important to wash your face two times a day to remove impurities, dead skin, and extra oil from your skin’s surface. Use warm water and a mild face wash without any scent. Harsh soap can hurt your already inflamed skin and cause more irritation.


Some acne products can dry your skin, and moisturizing will minimize dryness and skin peeling. Look for non-comedogenic products as those products are specially formulated to not block pores.

There are many different types of moisturizers that could work.

Clean your brushes

It is important to clean your brushes in preparation for this day. You want anything that touches your face to not be mixed in with prior makeup residual. To clean your brushes, you will need a gentle cleanser, clean sink area, and a clean, dry towel.

Cleaning your brushes:

  1. Run your brushes under warm water.
  2. Then, gently swirl the brush head into your cleanser and use your fingers to rinse the bristles and repeat this until the makeup brush runs clear.
  3. Use a clean towel to blot the bristles dry and reshape them back into place. Then, lay the brushes on the towel to dry.

What to do the day of:

Apply a protective base.

Moisturizing your skin before makeup application can nourish the skin and protect it from potential grease from the makeup. Be sure to start with a clean and dry face.

Don’t forget to wash it off

Do not go to bed with your makeup on. Wearing it too long may irritate your skin, and makeup can flake off and get in your eyes. Remove the makeup the way the label says, whether it is using soap and water or eye makeup remover. Remember the skin around your eyes is delicate and to remove makeup gently.

Not washing off Halloween makeup will cause your pores to clog and possibly irritate your skin and eyes.

After removing the makeup, be sure to follow with a moisturizer to prevent another scary look the next day.


Halloween makeup, face paint and fake blood may not be held to the same standards as other cosmetics. When you are buying your Halloween makeup, make sure you are:

Reading the ingredients

It is important to know what you are putting on your face, even if it is only for one night. Heavy stage makeup is more likely to clog your pores than everyday foundation. Stage makeup is thick, hard to wash off, and can have harsh ingredients that can irritate the skin.

Halloween makeup can include ingredients that can irritate your skin and lead to rashes and acne. Select theatrical makeup that is designed for the use of costumes as it will be gentler on skin and will include FDA approved ingredients like parabens.

Parabens are a group of commonly used ingredients that act as a preservative in cosmetic products. Your Halloween makeup needs parabens to ensure the substances will be guaranteed until the expiration date listed on the package. Without parabens in in Halloween makeup, you are putting yourself at risk for bacterial overgrowth and eventually breakouts, rashes, itching, and irritation.

Ingredients that are good for your skin include:

There are certain cosmetics with ingredients that can cause acne and other skin problems that you will want to avoid. It is best to avoid products that contain isopropyl myristate, which is commonly found in eyeliners. This ingredient makes it easier for products to glide onto the skin, but it is known to cause acne. Henna is used for face and body art but, unfortunately, contains paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which can also cause swelling and redness of the skin.

Don’t reuse last year’s makeup

You may not have touched your white face paint since last year’s Halloween costume; however, makeup that goes untouched for a long period of time can produce bacteria. If the makeup starts to smell bad, it is probably full of bacteria, and you should throw it away and buy a new one.

Makeup has an expiration date, and if it is not thrown out, it can be harmful to your skin and cause irritation. Most makeup products will have an open jar symbol indicating how long it will last after it is open.

Here is how long each type of makeup usually lasts:

Avoid buying makeup at Halloween pop-up stores

Theater makeup is made of higher quality ingredients including methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben that act as a preservative in makeup products.

As mentioned, theatrical makeup is FDA approved. Some of the makeup at pop-up stores may not be and could include harmful ingredients.

If custom makeup is a must, look for makeup that is oil free, alcohol free, and non-comedogenic with a water base. Oil based makeup is more likely to clog pores. Mehron makeup, Alima Pure and Ricky’s NYC are brands of theater makeup that will be safe for your skin.


To protect your skin from looking scary after Halloween because of toxic makeup, there are certain products to be aware of.

Creams and Shadows

With any unfamiliar makeup, you will want to perform a patch test to make sure your skin does not react to the makeup. Check the makeup to make sure it does not contain any ingredients that are not approved by the FDA.

Adhesives and Glues

Glues that you use for everyday needs, like Super Glue, can damage your complexion. Super Glue is not the same as eyelash glue. Look for glues that are meant for theater use. If you are wearing fake eyelashes, make sure that the eyelash glue does not get into your eye because it can glue your eye shut.

Fake Blood

Fake blood is made from red dye that may cause irritation when it reacts with an oil base. Instead of buying fake blood from a pop-up Halloween store, you can make your own with corn syrup, flour, and red food coloring.

How to make fake blood:

To make fake blood, you will need the following: water, corn syrup, food coloring (red), flour, cornstarch, or chocolate syrup.

  1. Begin by combining water with the corn syrup.
  2. Add drops of red food coloring to the mixture until the desired shade is reached.
  3. Let the mixture set at room temperature for ten minutes, and your fake blood is ready.

Prosthetic Skin

Instead of using prosthetic skin, it is better to find something of higher quality, which is less likely to cause skin irritation or inflammation. You can look for theatre props instead of something you can find in the Halloween aisle. You will want to make sure you are not allergic to latex because many of these Halloween accessories are often made of latex.


Cheap, toxic makeup can cause serious skin irritation issues. From rashes to breakouts and allergic reactions, we see it all after Halloween.

At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, it is our priority to deliver complete and compassionate skin care to our patients, including information on the best types of Halloween makeup for your skin.

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