There are dozens of different types of zombie makeup tricks that you can use to turn yourself into the undead for Halloween. But if you want to look like you just shuffled off the set of The Walking Dead you should use some of the techniques used by Greg Nicotero and the other special effects makeup masters who create the terrifying walkers on The Walking Dead. You don’t need to be a professional special effects master to create some very effective scary makeup looks for Halloween. You just need to have the right supplies and use some of the easy techniques that will transform simple Halloween supplies and household items into disgusting, decaying, and rotted flesh.
Here are some insider tips to make your zombie makeup look truly terrifying.
When you have turned into a walker you are not going to have bouncing, shiny, and healthy hair. If you don’t want to mess up your own hair you can use a wig, but the wig needs to get worked over pretty good. Start by creating some snarls and rat nests in the hair with a teasing comb. Then get some conditioner. Use regular conditioner, not leave in conditioner. Squeeze a couple of big handfuls of conditioner into your palms and work it through your hair or the wig, avoiding the rat nest areas. The conditioner is good for your hair but it will make your hair look dead and lifeless. Add some dirt or powder into the hair for texture if you want it to look really dirty. You can also put some leaves or small twigs in it.
There are lots of tutorials to show you how to use toilet paper, gelatin and liquid latex to create wounds but a fun way to create some pretty nasty looking scabby dead skin is to use oats. Instant oats, the kind you eat for breakfast, can be mixed with liquid latex to create a disgusting texture that looks like scabby, peeling skin. Pour the oats into a small cup of liquid latex. Use a tongue depressor to apply the mixture to the skin where you want to create the texture. Dry it with a hair dryer. When it sets take a cosmetic sponge and use either foundation or greasepaint to color it so that it’s the same color as the rest of your skin. Then use more makeup to make it look like gray rotting flesh.
Another way to create the look of dead and flaking skin is to use pieces of a cosmetic sponge. Rip off small pieces of actual cosmetic sponge, not the wedges that you use to apply makeup. You can apply the pieces of sponge with liquid latex, adding a layer of latex between each layer of sponge. You can also take a piece of the sponge and press it down on the edges of the wounds and ridges that you have created to help blend the edges of the appliances into the skin. When you cover those edges with the base it will look like the appliances are actually dead flesh and wounds in the skin. Making sure all the edges are blended and match the rest of the skin is the only way to make a convincing zombie makeup. Once everything is blended you can apply color to create the look of rotted flesh.
Creating a Smooth Base
In order to get the coloring and shading right you need to have an even base to start with. You want the skin to look pale and dead, so to create an even base to work with you will need very pale base makeup. You can use base from a Halloween palette or very pale foundation makeup. To make sure that the makeup is even mix the base with mineral oil. Then use a cosmetic sponge to apply it evenly on the face. Cover the liquid latex and all the other appliances that you have used on the face with the base mixture using a sponge. You can use makeup and fake blood to shade the wounds to make them look infected, rotted, or oozing depending on your personal taste.