Día de los Muertos is an opportunity to pay homage to loved ones who have passed and celebrate them on the days when they are believed to return to the land of the living — from October 31 to November 2 (coinciding with the Christian Allhallowtide, All Saints’ Eve, and All Souls’ Day). Two major symbols of this celebration are La Catrina Calavera also known as sugar skulls and the extravagant floral arrangments used on La Catrina or on the altars, such as marigolds.
First created by Mexican illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada between 1910 and 1913, La Calavera Garbancera was actually a social commentary about Indigenous Mexican women opting for a European ideal of dress, with large, feathered hats, French dress, and white makeup to make the skin look lighter. Diego Rivera later painted this same type of skeleton woman as part of his mural, Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park, and called her La Catrina. Since then, La Catrina Calavera has became known as the Grand Dame of Death, and a major symbol of Dia de los Muertos.
Then we have the equally-iconic sugar skulls. These brightly-decorated calaveras are a part of any Dia de los Muertos ofrenda — small ones for departed children (celebrated on November 1), and large skulls for adults (celebrated on November 2). Both sugar skulls, and La Catrina have been used as inspiration for makeup looks by those celebrating the Day of the Dead.
To prepare you for this important time of the year, we wanted to share 30 great YouTube tutorials, by Latinx beauty bloggers, on how to recreate this beautiful aesthetic.
Natural Calavera Look By IRISBELIN
The first Dia de los Muertos Catrina makeup tutorial we will be looking at is from Afro-Panamanian beauty blogger IRISBEILIN. A little more on the natural side than other sugar skull makeup, this look features a beautiful smokey eye, pretty pink accents, and a nude backdrop instead of stark white.
A Purple and Pink Dream By Ana Vbon
This tutorial by Mexican vlogger not only recreates the sugar skull makeup, but also shows everyone how to get the whole Day of the Dead look, flower crown included. We love this maquillaje, because it’s dainty and feminine, with soft pops of purple throughout. That’s the beauty of Catrina/sugar skull recreations — you can stay within theme, but create something totally unique, and you, at the same time.
A Regal Purple Makeup Look By Jessica Quila
Jessica Quila’s Dia de los Muertos makeup tutorial also uses purple as the main color but adds some glitz and glam with the addition of purple crystals. Decoration, such as a scalloped trim, and/or crystals, are usually applied around blackened/darkened eyes (representing the missing eyes of a skull).
Lace Catrina by Jeamileth Doll
One recreation that is a bit more outside the box than most Catrina makeup looks is this lace version by beauty blogger Jeamileth Doll. The intricate look mimics white lace, or papel picado, with all its cool detail. The white pops against the smokey black and dusty rose eye and black lip, creating a stark contrast that grabs attention.
An Original Catrina Makeup Look By Dulce Candy
Well-known Mexican beauty blogger Dulce Candy came through with a sugar skull/Dia de los Muertos makeup tutorial that you may want to recreate. It features a striking black and white color scheme, which extends down to the skull-like collarbone area, and a rich addition of gold on the eyelids and around the eyes.
Glam Skull Catrina Look by Chrisspy
Chrisspy, who is part Mexican, has created several skull makeup looks, which she’s shared on her popular YouTube channel. One that we wanted to note is this glam, warm-toned version created with KKW Beauty contour and highlighting kits. It’s a different, more neutral look than most other Catrina looks, and uses contour and highlighter products that most beauty lovers have some version of. And the 3-D effects and addition of sparkle just elevate the whole look.
Pastel Goth Catrina by Aurora Makeup
Pastel goth is a look that gets integrated onto other looks, like Day of the Dead makeup. You get the dark moodiness of goth, with pretty and soft pastel hues. This stylish combination, as well as the addition of holographic accents, gives a unique spin to auroramakeup’s sugar skull tutorial.
Diamond Skull Look by Nicole Guerriero
Argentinian beauty blogger Nicole Guerriero provides this next fabulous Catrina makeup tutorial. Entitled Diamond Skull, it features a whole section covered in diamond-like crystals, instantly upping the glam factor. The amount of detail and shading on the cheek/cheekbone area also makes this a standout look. An added bonus is that Guerriero continues the cool makeup on the collarbone area and hands, for a more complete, continuous skeleton look.
Neon/UV Blacklight Skull Makeup by Desi Perkins
You know we had to include a sugar skull look by mega beauty blogger, Chicana Desi Perkins. One we especially liked was this neon/UV blacklight stunner. You get all the spooky detail of a scary skull, but have the on-trend pops of neon color and glow that only comes with blacklight makeup.
Marigold Look By Maiah Ocando Ft. Gabriel Torrelles
We loved this look, not only because of it’s spot-on Catrina/sugar skull recreation, but also because of it’s sweet collaborative effort between Latinx couple Maiah Ocando and Gabriel Torrelles. You get two tutorials in one–one for a female Catrina look, and one for a male sugar skull look that any pareja can copy themselves.
Catrina Glam by Carolina Escalante
Pearls, including as part of makeup looks, are very in style for 2019, so we had to include this stylish catrina tutorial by Carolina Escalante, which features them abundantly. The overall beauty theme follows the delicate all-white lace look we have seen, but adds the on-trend pearl accents instead of the usually-seen crystal ones. The result is both fresh and glam.
Half Skull Sugar Skull Makeup by TheAleSpa
Full-face makeup can feel like a lot to wear, especially if you have sensitive skin. You also may want to sport a Dia de los Muertos look that shows off your everyday face and it’s more mainstream makeup. These are two great reasons why you should try out this beautiful half skull makeup tutorial by TheAleSpa. You get all the detail, color, and style of a traditional sugar skull makeup, with cool, half-face, between two worlds coverage.
Easy Skull Makeup by Chrisspy
We have another stylish skull look from Chrisspy that you can recreate this Day of the Dead. It’s a very natural interpretation that will look like you, just more dead and skull-like. This is great for when you want to partake in a sugar skull theme, but want a softer, more natural appearance.
Gold Sugar Skull Makeup by Nathalie Muñoz
If you want to up the glam on your Catrina makeup, why not add some metallic accents? This tutorial, by beauty blogger Nathalie Muñoz. It’s still traditional, still on point, but has that unexpected gilded touch that sets this look apart from others.
Barbie Catrina Makeup by Cecilia Makeup
Some Catrina/sugar skull looks recreate specific looks in pop culture, like this one that pays homage to the new Day of the Dead Barbie. Cecilia Makeup teaches you all the steps to copy the doll’s look, down to the cute heart-shaped detail on her forehead. She also shows you the hairstyle Barbie sports and the matching Aztec/Mexican cempasuchil (marigold) and monarch butterfly headband she created.
A Dramatic Yet Traditional Catrina Makeup Look By Claudia Rios
If you want a dramatic yet traditional Catrina/sugar skull look, then you should take a look at Claudia Rios’ interpretation on her YouTube channel. The look is dark, moody, and extends down to the collarbone area. The shading gives the face just the right amount of detail, while the white teeth pop.
Pink Catrina Makeup by Angee Gallego
For those who want an ultra girly version of La Catrina makeup, a pink theme is a stylish option. Latinx beauty blogger Angee Gallego created a bold, hot pink and black interpretation for this YouTube tutorial. It’s a fun alternative when you want to keep the look to a specific color palette, or want to keep the look super feminine.
Coco Frida Kahlo Makeup by Thelma Azuara
Another fun, pop culture-influenced Day of the Dead look to try out is this recreation of Frida Kahlo, as seen in the beloved animated film Coco. Thelma Azuara nailed the idea, with the intense black shading on the sides of the face to mimic Frida’s animated face, and other details that automatically let’s you know this is a Coco character.
A Basic and Easy By Victoria Gonzalez
If you want a Day of the Dead look that is the bare minimum in terms of skull detail, and allows you to showcase a glam smokey eye look, this tutorial by Victoria Gonzalez is a perfect option. It features a prominent skull nose, some extra contouring on the cheeks to create a hollow appearance, and a tooth detail–nothing more, nothing less.
An Ethereal Catrina Makeup Look By Cecie
This Catrina/sugar skull makeup tutorial by beauty blogger Cecie has a fun, quirky, cutesy look that is reminiscent of a Tim Burton film. It’s striking in simple black and white but has a touch of color with the addition of some light blue, shimmering crystals around the eyes.
Half Calavera by Miranda Ibañez
Another fun half-face Catrina option, when you don’t want to cover your entire face in Dia de los Muertos makeup, is this one provided by Mexican beauty blogger Miranda Ibáñez. It’s creepy, striking, and so impressive–just look at all the 3-D detail in the teeth.
A Vibrant and Rosey Catrina Makeup Look By Naty Gloss
Red is an attention-grabbing color, which actually causes the heart to beat faster. Which makes it a great hue choice for Day of the Dead makeup look. You want it to be vibrant, to celebrate life, and to grab attention. Naty Gloss’ interpretation of La Catrina beauty features strong pops of rojo on the eyes, lips, and as a contour, balanced with traditional black and white accents.
Samantha Ravndhal Inspired Skribble Skull Makeup by Yesmy
It’s okay to try new ideas when doing your own version of a Catrina/sugar skull makeup look. It’s fun to balance traditional elements with something fresh, new, and/or on trend. Neon has been having a style and beauty moment for many seasons, and seeing it added to a Dia de los Muertos idea is so refreshing. Yesmy shares this colorful tutorial (which also features plenty of sparkling glitter), inspired by fellow beauty blogger Samantha Ravndhal.
A Natural and Smokey Catrina Makeup Look By Liliana Toufiles
Liliana Toufiles gives us this next Day of the Dead look. In varying shades of brown, the Latinx beauty blogger’s version of a sugar skull is moody, full of emotion, and layered. It’s great for when you want to use colors and cosmetics you already have (most everyone has some makeup in shades of brown), and/or want to keep your theme monochromatic.
A Floral Arrangement Makeup Look By CityLocs and Paulina
Sunglasses brand City Locs teamed up with Paulina teamed up to create a rich, colorful makeup tutorial for Day of the Dead. We love all the pretty details–the shimmering gold used to create the hollows of the eyes, the pops of blue and red, and the painted-on rose crown.
A Moody Catrina Makeup Look By Jhanay Mendez
Next in our roundup of Catrina/sugar skull makeup tutorials worth checking out is this version, by Jhanay Mendez. The Latinx beauty blogger didn’t get too fussy with her interpretation, but kept it detailed enough, traditional, feminine, and used only three colors–white, black, and red.
A Dramatic Catrina Makeup Look By thecanalMon
For those on the other end of the spectrum who want all of the details, this YouTube Catrina/sugar skull how-to video is perfect for you. Latinx blogger thecanalMon went all out with her interpretation of this classic theme, using over-the-top, intricate touches throughout, and even extending the skeleton look to her collarbone area.
Catrina Galaxia Colorida by Jossie
Speaking of over the top, this makeup how-to by Jossie takes Catrina and sugar skull makeup to a whole, different place. You have vibrant cool color, sparkles, a wide smile made up of detailed teeth, and a galaxy-print backdrop that gives a dark yet dreamy effect to the whole concept. The finishing touch is the addition of white contacts, to solidify this other-worldly idea.
The Book of Life: La Muerte Makeup by Dulce Candy
Dulce Candy brings us another fun Dia de los Muertos makeup look to recreate, with her rendition of La Muerte from the animated film, The Book of Life. This Catrina Calavera look is rich, fun, vibrant, layered, detailed, eye-catching, and pretty–everything you want a Day of the Dead makeup look to be.
By LoLo Love
The final on point Day of the Dead makeup look we will be looking at is this pretty version by Latinx beauty blogger LoLo Love. Warm shades of purple, pinkish-orange, and yellow give the eyes a dreamy, sunset look that adds a vibrant dose of life to this cool, dead look.