Zombie Tutorial/How to Look Truly Horrific on Halloween

by KaitlynDeMetro

A step by step picture tutorial on how to achieve a zombie look, or general wounds and bruises with affordable special effects makeup you can use at home.

Since the beginning of motion pictures, Hollywood has been obsessed with monster movies. Long before CGI, costume makeup was used to turn men into monsters. Actor Lon Chaney was a master of this art. The "Man of a Thousand Faces" did his own makeup to transform himself into the scariest beings imaginable. His art is somewhat lost with today's technologies but thanks to shows like The Walking Dead and Face Off, we can once again experience the horror of monsters in live action. However, you don't need to be a special effects artist to get the same horrifying looks. It's frighteningly easy to transform yourself into a fleshy, bloody monster, and thankfully it's pretty inexpensive too.

Getting Started

Tips and Warnings
  • All of the makeup used is from the Ben Nye brand. This is most commonly recommended in other tutorials and it was the required brand in my college Theater Makeup class.
  • Time: 30 minutes to an hour depending on how many wounds you're applying.
  • Make sure you are not allergic to latex, as this requires liquid latex. You can test yourself by dabbing the liquid latex onto your wrist. If you get an itchy or burning rash, you my friend are allergic.
  • DO NOT INGEST STAGE BLOOD. It's okay to have a little in your mouth but do not drink it.
  • DO NOT apply liquid latex over your eyebrows or other body hair. Men will need to shave their faces if planning on creating fake facial wounds. The liquid latex will rip your hair out once it dries.
  • I did not use scar wax for this tutorial but scar wax can be used as an alternative to liquid latex if you have allergies or you wish to cover your eyebrows or body hair- it won't rip the hair out.

~See the list at the bottom of page for a few of the necessities on Amazon. The rest you can get from the Ben Nye website or Stage Makeup Online- keyword "Ben Nye"~

What You'll Need

What will you need for this fantastical transformation?

Some enthusiasm and a Walking Dead t-shirt ;)

BTW, I missed the start of a Jurassic Park marathon to spread my knowledge of monster makeup. You're welcome world.

What You Actually Need


NOTE- not all make up listed is pictured here!










All of the makeup is from the Ben Nye brand. I have 4 ounce bottles of liquid latex and stage blood- you DO NOT need this much for one Halloween. 1 ounce is plenty.


  • Liquid Latex
  • Stage Blood
  • Powder (it can be Baby Powder but powder is a must)
  • Color Wheel; Bruises and Abbrations
  • Creme Colors White (for exposed teeth)
  • Lip liner or red/pink eye shadow with a fine tip brush (to line exposed teeth)

Optional Makeup:

  • Color Wheel; Creme Contour Wheel
  • Thick Blood

To apply:

  • Toilet paper or tissue
  • Sponges and brushes (dollar store brand is fine)

Quick tips:

  • If you buy the 1 ounce Liquid Latex, it has a convenient brush attached to the lid.
  • The toilet paper or tissue will be your skin so try to avoid using TP with an embedded design (unlike I did for this tutorial)

Makeup Tutorial

Step 1: Applying Liquid Latex
  1. Carefully apply the Liquid Latex around your eye, avoiding your eyelid and eyebrow.

  2. Tear up the toilet paper/tissue into small pieces and place them over the liquid latex, and immediately apply another coat of latex to the tissue.

  3. Repeat the second step 3-5 times. The more layers you add, the thicker the "skin," the more torn and wounded it will look.

  4. Make sure the top layer of latex also touches your real skin outside of the tissue for a seamless effect.

  5. Apply powder onto your finished "skin" to seal the latex. Any powder will do but if you ignore this step, the latex will roll up, stick to itself, and roll off, making it impossible to use.
applying second coat over tissue
tissue and latex around eye
Step 2: Coloring
  1. Apply Ben Nye Creme Foundation to your "wound" to make it look more skin color and less tissuey. It's okay if it's not your exact skin color, it'll be bruised and bloody later. (You can use any foundation but costume make up is best, it's meant for this type of use.)

  2. Gently pull the latex from the INSIDE of the circle you created around eye. Do not pull it all the way off. This is the "open" of your "open wound." If you pull too much, just seal it back on with your latex.

  3. Now that you've got it opened, lets make it look wounded. Apply black makeup from the Couture Wheel inside your wound. You can also use the dark purple from the Bruises and Abrasions Wheel.

  4. Use a small brush or eyeshadow sponge for your Ben Nye Stage Blood. Dip it into the blood (again you don't need 4 ounces, 1 is enough) and coat the inside of your wound, along with the edges.

  5. Use your color wheels, particularly the Bruise wheel to add discoloration to your skin, real and latex. This is impossible to mess up. Use black or purple around your eyes and dark tones on your cheek for a sunken effect. I coated my "wounds" in blood to make them truly disgusting.
    bruise wheel
opening the wound
black eye
Colored face
Step 3: Exposed Teeth

I started on this before I finished the wounded eye which is why the pictures aren't in chronological order.

  1. Use red/pink lip liner or eye liner to outline your "exposed teeth," as if the side of your face was torn open. Start at the edge of your lip and make an oval shape.

  2. Use Ben Nye's White Creme Makeup and use a sponge or brush to fill in your oval with white.

  3. Use the same red or pink liner to draw the teeth, as well as a straight line starting from the crease in your lips all the back to your "wound." This is the space between the top and bottom rows of your teeth.

  4. You can also add black liner over top your red lines for more dimension, but it's not required.

  5. On the outside of your outlines oval, use the liquid latex and tissue the same as you did around your eye. Remember to powder it to seal it down.

  6. Just like the eye, you want to pull the latex open from the inside for a torn skin look.

  7. Once your wound is open, fill in red make up on the inside of the latex (on your real skin) to look like your gums.

  8. Apply the same foundation here as you did around your eye.

  9. Place fake blood on the outside of your wound and on the inside of the latex but don't get too much blood on the exposed teeth or it will just be a wound, no exposed teeth.

  10. Put fake blood on your lips where your fake wound starts. You can get the fake blood in your mouth, it's even mint flavored (and quite frankly, its delicious) but DO NOT ingest the fake blood! A little in your mouth is fine but don't drink it from the bottle. I didn't read the warnings but I'm sure bad things will happen if you ingest it.

After this, I just applied more make up to my face to make me look seriously beat and rotted and voila, ready for Halloween!

draw teeth
latex around "teeth"
draw in gums and blood
exposed teeth, ignore the torn eye piece

Finished Results!


Some things you will need:

Ben Nye Liquid Latex 1oz

Can be applied with brush or sponge. Apply in layers for desired effect.

Only $6.00

View on Amazon

Ben Nye Stage Blood 1 Oz - Costume Accessories

Stage Blood by Ben Nye has been used in many feature films exclusively. Realistic qualities in the Ben Nye stage blood include vivid coloring and medium flowing viscosity. Stage...

Only $14.95

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Ben Nye Color Makeup Wheels - Red, White, Black RB (3 Colors)

Smooth creme paints with maximum pigment Red, Black and White

View on Amazon

Ben Nye Translucent Powder Shaker Bottle 1.75oz (Neutral Set)

Ben Nye Face Powders absorb oil, moisture and gently set creme makeup. Ben Nye Powders are silky smooth and contain just a hint of color to naturally soften contours. All are tr...

$20.00  $6.55

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Wonder Wedges Wonder Wedge, 100 Count

Buy Wonder Products Makeup Sponges & Puffs - Wonder Wedge Cosmetic Wedges #06000 100 Count - Super Value

Only $4.15

View on Amazon

Docooler 50pcs Sponge Stick Eyeshadow Dual Applicator Brush

The sponge stick is soft touch, mini size and strong adhesion, will keep your makeup perfect anytime and anywhere. Specifications: Item Type: Makeup stick Color: Black & white M...

Only $4.64

View on Amazon

Updated: 10/30/2014, KaitlynDeMetro
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


KaitlynDeMetro on 10/07/2014

Thank you! You should definitely try it for your grandsons party. You'll scare him and his little friends and now's the time to do it- they're young enough to believe you're a real zombie. Then you can assure them it's just Grandma so then they won't find zombies so scary anymore. If I'm right, I'm going to be an awesome parent lol.

fitzcharming on 10/07/2014

I love this and really want to try it. Problem is the only Halloween party I go to is my grandson's birthday party. He will be 5. Maybe I should wait a few more years. Outstanding tutorial to save for the perfect time though.

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