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5 Scarily Simple Halloween Looks You’re Going to Love

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Main image – @alicekingmakeup/Instagram

Spooky season is just around the corner (yay!). But if you’re anything like me, things may have been (ahem) left to the last minute.

Because while I always have the best of intentions when it came to planning and executing a show-stopping Halloween look, a combination of normal life/work alway seems to scupper my plans.

But it’s not *just* a time thing.  While I do love playing with makeup I’m far from a pro and the idea of buying a whole load of new products to use for just one day a year seems both intimidating and a bit, well, wasteful.

That’s why this year I’ve spoken to one of the world’s most respected makeup artists, NYX professional artist Rebecca Montanez, ahead of the brand’s Mon-Star Bash Halloween collection to put together 5 of the simplest *ever* step-by-step makeup tutorials using products we all already have in our makeup bags. 

See you out on the dance floor!


5 *scarily* simple step-by-step Halloween looks

From a sweet kitten to a spine-chilling skeleton, there’s a spooky option for every taste – and every skill level (literally; it turns out you can create *so* many looks just by using an eyeshadow palette and some eyeliner.)


1. The cute cat


Finished easy cat Halloween makeup look

Image – NYX


An absolute classic. You really can’t go wrong with a black cat for Halloween.

Just whack on some black clothes, stuff one leg of a pair of tights with newspaper for a tail, cut some cardboard ears and you’ve got yourself an instant outfit.

This version of the traditional Halloween cat adds some vibrant colour and dimensional glitter to take your feline features to the next level. Miaow!


What you’ll need:

  • A multi-coloured eyeshadow palette with lots of fun shades
  • Fluffy Eyeshadow Brush
  • Flat Eyeshadow Brush
  • A black liquid eyeliner 
  • A black lipstick 
  • Small Eyeliner Brush
  • A glitter eyeshadow (ideally loose glitter but a pressed glitter will work too)
  • White liquid eyeliner or white eyeshadow


1. Begin by defining the eyes with a colourful eyeshadow from any palette you have. Montanez recommends NYX’s Ultimate Shadow Palette – I Know That’s Bright (£16.00 on Look Fantastic /$20.00 on NYX US).

She recommends using a purple shade from the palette to create a colourful look but this can be substituted for orange for more of a tiger look or black for a more traditional cat look. 

Take the colour all across your lid up to your crease (essentially your eye socket) and upwards and outwards in a triangle from the outer corner of your eye to make a winged effect. Make sure to build up the colour in your crease in particular for a more defined look using a fluffy brush.  Take this same shade underneath your lower lash line.


Painting on eyeshadow for a simple Halloween cat makeup look

Image – NYX


2. Next, once it’s blended out, you can use a flat brush to add a swoop of bright turquoise (or another chosen colour) over your lid. Finish the eye look with a dramatic black eyeliner – it is a ‘cat eye,’ after all. I like Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black (£21.00 on Stila UK/$24.00 Stila US).

If you’re unconfident creating a winged liner, you can check out our complete guide to mastering a feline flick.


3. Use the same black liquid eyeliner to draw triangular stripe details around the perimeter of your face.

You’ll want three across the forehead, two on each cheek, and three on the chin, each with the wider point of the triangle starting at the edge of your face and the points pointing toward the centre of your face.

Montanez recommends filling in these triangular shapes using the turquoise, purple, and pink shades from your eyeshadow palette. You could also opt for whites, greys and blacks for a more muted cat look or yellows, golds and oranges for a tiger look.


Painting on stripes for a simple Halloween cat makeup look

Image – NYX


4. Using a small eyeliner brush, paint a small triangular ‘cat’s nose’ on the end of your nose using black lipstick or eyeliner. Apply the black lipstick to your upper lip too, then use the eyeliner brush to draw a line connecting your nose and upper lip.


5. Using a finger, apply a highlighter, like my favourite, Glisten Cosmetics Chroma Flakes (£16.00 on the Glisten Cosmetics UK website/$16.75 on Beauty Bay US), over your upper lip.


6. Use a white or black eyeliner to draw whiskers onto your cheeks. You can mirror these whisker shapes with the same turquoise, purple, and pink eyeshadows for a more colourful effect.  And if you don’t have white or coloured eyeliners, just dip a dampened eyeshadow brush into a colour you like from an eyeshadow palette and draw on.

Add some cat ears and you’re good to go!


Painting on whiskers for a simple Halloween cat makeup look

Image – NYX


(PS. You could use similar steps to the above to create @shanestevennn’s werewolf look featured on NYX’s Instagram page – just add some fangs using pencil liner and leave out the cat ears!)



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A post shared by NYX Professional Makeup (@nyxcosmetics)



2. The vampire vixen


vampire halloween makeup look

Image – NYX


A sultry vampire look is the *perfect* blend between sexy and scary. This look has a glam, vintage feel – with just the right amount of dripping blood…


What you’ll need:

  • A black pencil liner (the thicker the better)
  • Fluffy Eyeshadow Brush
  • A red liquid eyeshadow
  • A set of fake eyelashes
  • A high shine red lipstick


1. First, apply a generous amount of black eyeshadow or pencil to your upper and lower lash line. Montanez recommends NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Black Bean (£6.00 on Feel Unique UK/$7.20 on Feel Unique US). Blend the colour out seamlessly with a fluffy eyeshadow brush.


Makeup artist applying eyeliner for a simple Halloween vampire look

Image – NYX


2. Next, over the top of your dark base, use a finger to tap on some dark red or purple shimmer or glitter – luckily, most eyeshadow palettes many of us already own usually include some shimmery shades!


Makeup artist applying eyeshadow for a simple Halloween vampire look

Image – NYX


3. Apply some half lashes to the outer corner of each eye to give a winged effect. Gigibee’s Beauty Blossom Half Lashes (£13.00 on the Gigibee UK website/$13.00 on the US website) are a great choice!


4. Use a black pencil liner to line your lips (you can use your eyeliner pencil – we’ve all got one of those!). Blend the colour inward towards the centre. In the centre of your lips, apply some red lipstick and blend the red and black together by dabbing with your finger.


Makeup artist applying lip products for a simple Halloween vampire look

Image – NYX


5. Finish by painting a little more of the red shade in a drip shape by one corner of your mouth. A super-easy way to do this is to use a thin makeup brush to drag some of the red lip colour into a drip shape like @gotymakeup demonstrates on this Insta vid.

Et voila, your own vampire look!

For a slight variation on the traditional vampire look though, check out this really fun wing effect alternative by makeup artist @notkyraslooks.



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A post shared by NYX Professional Makeup (@nyxcosmetics)




3. The Harley Quinn


harley quinn halloween makeup looks easy beginner

Image – @cleliuz__/Instagram


Embrace your inner crazy with this fun Harley Quinn makeup to rival Margot Robbie and Lady Gaga.

Pair it with red and blue-tipped hair in bunches for a quick and recognisable Halloween look!


What you’ll need:

  • Blue and red lipsticks, eyeshadows or body paint
  • Fluffy Eyeshadow Brush
  • Black eyeliner
  • A set of fake eyelashes
  • A red lipstick


1. First, apply some red eyeshadow or body paint around your right eye, Martinez recommends NYX’s SFX Face & Body Paint Sticks in the shade Bad Witch Energy (£6.99 on Boots UK/$10.00 on the NYX US website). Next, add some light blue eyeshadow or SFX Face & Body Paint Sticks in the shade Spell Caster around your left eye.


Harley Quinn makeup tutorial finished look

Image – @alex_fox/Instagram


2. Use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to blend the colours and ensure there are no harsh lines.


3. Line the waterline with a black eyeliner pencil (I love Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘n’ Kohl Liner in Bedroom Black). Use the same pencil to create the heart and ‘Rotten’ text cheek tattoos on the right cheek.


4. Apply some false lashes, and blend them into your natural eyelashes using your favourite black mascara.


5. Complete the look with a bold red pout using a lipstick like my personal favourite, MAC’s classic Lady Danger Matte Lipstick (£22.00 on Mac UK/$23.00 on Mac US).


YouTuber Chloe Boucher goes through these exact steps in her Harley Quinn tutorial below.





4. The spooky skeleton


Easy skeleton tutorial finished look

Image – NYX


A skeleton makeup look may sound intimidating, but it can be done with low effort and (very) high reward. Just try not to scare any children!


What you’ll need:

  • White eyeliner or eyeshadow
  • White lipstick, eyeshadow or body paint
  • Flat Top Foundation Brush
  • Bronzer or contouring powder
  • Small Face Powder Brush
  • Black pencil eyeliner 


1. Use a white pencil liner like the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk to sketch out large circles around each eye, around the edge of the nose, and along the jawline. Use a flat top foundation brush to buff out the edges of your lines for a blended finish.

If you don’t have a white eyeliner you can always use a dampened eyeliner brush with a white eyeshadow instead.


Easy skeleton tutorial doing white outline

Image – NYX


2. Fill in the rest of your face outside those lines with white eyeshadow, lipstick or face paint.


3. In the next step, using a small powder brush apply a generous amount of contour stick or powder to the perimeter of the hairline, along to jaw, and into the hollows of the cheekbones. My personal fave is Kevyn Aucoin’s The Sculpting Powder in Medium, £41.00 on the Kevyn Aucoin UK website/$53.50 on the Kevyn Aucoin US website.

(You’re going for a very exaggerated contour here – remember that you’re supposed to be made only of bones!)


Contouring in an easy skeleton tutorial

Image – NYX


4. Use a black eyeliner pencil to fill in the gaps you left around your eyes, along the bridge and tip of your nose, deep into the contours of the cheeks and overline your lips.


Easy skeleton tutorial filling in the eye area

Image – NYX


5. Finally, use a white eyeliner to draw teeth onto your lips and lower cheeks. You can use your finger to gently tap and blend the edges.


Easy skeleton tutorial adding teeth

Image – NYX


Don’t have the time (or patience) to apply this to your whole face? A half-skeleton is just as effective as YouTuber Roxxsaurus demonstrates in her tutorial below.




5. The cool comic book

Lichtenstein-inspired, pop-arty makeup can be the perfect way to fake a high-effort Halloween costume. Who would have thought a few dots drawn on the skin could offer such high impact?


Pop art makeup tutorial finished look

Image – Shaaanxo/YouTube


What you’ll need:

  • White pencil eyeliner or eyeshadow
  • Blue and yellow eyeshadows or body paints
  • Black liquid eyeliner
  • Pink lipstick


1. Apply any foundation as normal, before adding a bright pink blusher to the apples of your cheeks.


2. Use a yellow eyeshadow or body paint to completely cover your eyelids, from the the inner corner of your eye all the way up to your crease.  Since this is a comic book look, go as vibrant as you want with the shade you choose.

You can watch how to do this in more depth in YouTuber Shaaanxo’s video below.



3. Take any blue body paint or eyeliner you may have on hand (you can also wet a thin eyeshadow brush, dip it into a blue eyeshadow, and use this if you are in a pinch) to sketch out a teardrop shape under one eye. Once you’re happy with the shape, fill it in with the blue shade.


4. Fill in the centre of the lips with pink lipstick. I like Sephora’s Collection Matte Cream Lip Stain (£12.99 on the UK website/$15.00 on the US website) for its staying power.


5. Once the lip colour is dry, apply a small line of white liner or eyeshadow to the very centre of the bottom lip, to mimic a highlight. 


6. Use a white eyeliner to draw evenly-spaced dots across your entire face. Montanez recommends NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk for this (£6.00 on Feel Unique UK/$7.20 on Feel Unique US.)  Also line the waterline of your lower eyelids.


7. Use a black liquid liner to line your upper lids and draw graphic contour lines on the cheekbones, eyebrows, nose, and jaw. Use the same product to line the lips.


Add a brightly-coloured wig or some hair paint plus a 1950s housewife style outfit and you have yourself a seriously cool costume.


5 more super simple Halloween makeup looks


While I love a classic Halloween look, if you’re looking for something a little different here are 5 more of my favourite Halloween makeup ideas.


1. A devilishly easy demon look

Video creator Nicole Lane shows just how easy it is to throw together a *very* last minute Halloween look using just red lipstick.



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A post shared by Nicole Lane (@nicole_laneeee)



2. A super cool zombie

If you’re happy to put in a bit more work, this amazing zombie tutorial by artist Annie Thomas shows just how much you can achieve with some green body paint.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Annie Thomas (@creative.cliche)




3. A high detail eye

Ok, so you are going to need a very steady hand to do this one.  But if you’re more into perfecting your makeup than putting a lot of effort into the rest of your costume then I really like this look. Just pair with a black outfit and wait for the compliments to roll in.



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A post shared by Alice King (@alicekingmakeup)


4. A sexy medusa

Who knew a pair of fishnet tights could help create a Halloween look?  I really like this tutorial for its deceptive simplicity;  literally no one will know just how quickly you threw this look together.  Extra points for creating a medusa hair look though.



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A post shared by Laura | Makeup artist (@laurajubin_)



5. A high glam girly girl

Release your inner 5-year-old girl (I literally need no excuse to do this) with this ridiculously fun baby pink and blue look.  I’m just going to say it though; you’ll need pigtails to really complete this look.



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A post shared by MONA LEANNE ? (@monaleannemakeup)



The takeaway

Halloween makeup really doesn’t need to be scary – unless, of course, you want it to be!

These 5 simple (but very effective) looks are all classics and are guaranteed to cause some jumps.

And you can even add your own twists to these classic Halloween looks by amping up the blood and gore or going all out on the face painting. But whatever you do, don’t skip on your cleansing routine after wearing all of this makeup (I know, that’s the last thing anyone wants to do after a party.)

Will you be giving any of these last-minute Halloween makeup ideas a go? Let us know or send us your finished look!


Meet the expert

Rebecca Montanez is a Pro Artist Lead at NYX Cosmetics. She has previously worked at Bare Minerals, Clinique and Bobbi Brown.


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Freelance Beauty Writer

Annie Walton Doyle is a journalist based in Manchester, UK. For over ten years, she's worked within the beauty industry, writing for publications like Bustle and Hello Giggles about skincare, makeup, fragrance, and more. When not writing, she enjoys knitting, weird books, nature, and mysteries.

Expertise: Makeup, nails
Education: Goldsmiths, University of London

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