Skeleton Makeup Ideas to Take Your Costume Up a Notch This Halloween

Forget the full costume — there's nothing cooler than showing off a bone-chilling makeup look on Halloween. If you're a beauty buff, you know that the options are endless when it comes to Halloween makeup, but you also know that one look reigns as the coolest every year: the skeleton.

Whether you are a true horror fan, are a lover of special-effects makeup, or just like to flex your makeup skills whenever your get the chance, there's no denying that skeleton makeup pushes the envelope on your creativity, and just looks plain good. From dressing up a sexy Halloween costume to being the finishing touch that will scare everyone who comes within 10 feet of you at a Halloween party, skeleton makeup is one of the most versatile makeup looks out there.

Creating the look of a skull on your face is easier than you might think, and the options are endless when it comes to styles, colors, and overall looks. By utilizing extreme contouring and shadowing, your favorite makeup products can be used to create an incredibly lifelike skeleton costume. If you need some inspiration this year, take a look at the most stunning skeleton faces we've seen on Instagram — each is totally gorgeous and totally terrifying in its own way.

Additional reporting by Lauren Harano


Half-Face Skull Makeup

Show off your versatility by doing a half face of skull makeup and keeping the other half your usual glam. Either way, you get to flex your superior Halloween makeup skills — a win-win!


Galactic Skull Makeup

Give your skeleton makeup a galactic spin by incorporating celestial colors like blues, neons, and purples.


Ice-Cream Skull Makeup

Add a touch of sweetness to your skeleton makeup look by incorporating this fun ice-cream theme into the look. This can even serve as its own costume — no trips to Party City needed!


Candy-Corn Skull Makeup

Two of the best things about Halloween? Candy corn and skull makeup. So why not combine the two by doing candy-corn-themed skull makeup? Replace the "teeth" of the skull will silhouettes of little candy corns to fully commit to the look.


Pastel Skull Makeup

Not only was this skull makeup created in fun pastel colors, but the skull itself is an abstract drawing instead of the realistic skulls you typically see on Halloween. This is a perfect way to flex your artistic prowess.


Black-and-Pink Skull Makeup

Going for a cute gothic glam skeleton makeup look? Add pink eyeshadow to where the "shadows" of the skeleton would typically be for a fun update to the classic look.


Olive-Green Skull Makeup

Olive green is a staple color each fall, so why not create your skull makeup in the same hue?


Rainbow Skull Makeup

A half-rainbow, half-gothic theme takes this skull makeup to the next level. If you want to re-create the look, incorporate bright, bold colors like blues, reds, and purples for the brighter side and keep the gothic side more pared back with blacks, whites, and grays.


Half-Dead Skull Makeup

This skull makeup look is for the lovers of special-effects makeup. "Reveal" your skull by adding fake, textured skin to one half of your face and painting the area below it in a quintessential skull.


Sunflower Skull Makeup

Want to add some lighthearted glam to your skull makeup? Add floral elements like this sunflower, and keep the rest of your makeup its typical glam.


Louis Vuitton Skull Makeup

Rainbow skull makeup is taken to the next level with the addition of these Louis Vuitton logos. Re-create this look for Halloween, and you'll be the most expensive skeleton in town.


Diamond-and-Pearl Skull Makeup

Nothing screams glam quite like diamond-and-pearl skull makeup. Use the gems to create an abstract version of the typical skull makeup for Halloween.


Chic Purple Skull Makeup

Incorporate you favorite color into you skull makeup, and add accessories like this floral headpiece to finish the look.


Rainbow Skull Makeup

This rainbow skull makeup is both glam and seasonally appropriate — the best of both worlds (and the best way to show off your Halloween makeup skills).


Night-Sky Skull Makeup

Give your skull makeup a night-sky theme by adding stars in the skull's concave areas.


Traditional Skull Makeup

This traditional skull makeup shows the easiest way to perfect your shadow placement for the maximum effect this Halloween.


Purple Diamond Skull Makeup

Diamond accents only serve to amplify this stunning, purple skull makeup.


Pink Skull Makeup

The color pink and skull makeup are an essential pairing for anyone who wants a more playful Halloween costume.


Minimal Skull Makeup

Perfect your shadow placement to keep your skull makeup minimal like the one seen here.


Half-Face Skull Makeup

There's no better way to emphasize your half-skull makeup look than by keeping the other side of your face more pared back. The contrast will make your skull makeup stand out even more.


Classic Skull Makeup

Looking to keep your skull makeup simple? Add abstract lines around the eyes in addition to the silhouette of teeth to give the illusion of a full face of skull makeup.


Red Skull Makeup

Red skull makeup doesn't have to be hyperrealistic to be eye-catching. Play around with minimal designs if you're using the bold color.


Classic Skull Makeup

Deep, smoky eyes are the perfect companion for a classic skull makeup look, so don't be afraid to pile on the black eyeshadow.


Cheshire Cat Skull Makeup

Jewels complete this intricate skull makeup look and act as a mask covering the face. If you want to keep your skull makeup simple yet striking, try this technique.


Butterfly Skull Makeup

There's nothing like pretty skeleton makeup, so why not add a few butterflies to your skeleton makeup look this Halloween?