With Halloween just around the corner, our Instagram feeds have been flooded with pictures and tutorials of next-level costumes (from glittery-glam alligators to creepy optical illusion faces). And while it’s definitely useful to turn to social media for inspiration, few of us have the time or money to go all-out on the 31st — which is why mastering an eye-catching Halloween makeup look is so brilliant.
This year, we’re really digging pixel art makeup (as seen all over Instagram). Though the pixelated look seems super-complicated (and looks awesome), it’s actually fairly easy to master if you have the right tools and a bit of patience. For help, we spoke to Ontario-based makeup artist and thepowderroom blogger Cassidy Shkimba, who blessed us with her tips and tricks for creating this super-cool, customizable Halloween look. Ahead, a step-by-step guide — plus, all the products you need to make it work. Consider your Halloween shopping one and done.
Step One: Prep and Prime
First, you’ll want to prep your face as usual, applying a primer and a foundation matching your skin tone. Apply the foundation to half of your face, creating a vertical line down the bridge of your nose to separate the two halves (this will separate the “pixelated” half of your face from the “unpixelated” half). You can use any primer and foundation of your choice, though, since Halloween looks generally demand a long-lasting finish, we recommend using a full-coverage foundation, such as Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation. Apply your favorite contour, highlighter, concealer, and blush to the half of your face with foundation as usual — like you would for a typical day of work.
Step Two: Contour
Using four different shades of foundation (two lighter than your natural skin tone and two darker), begin to contour and highlight the “pixelated” half of your face, creating small, even rectangles in a checkerboard-like pattern (a small, straight-edged brush is best for this, as you want the lines to be as sharp as possible). According to Shkimba, “the idea is to put the darker [foundation] shades where you would contour, and the lighter shades where you would highlight.” She recommends using the medium shades (the second lightest and the second darkest) to “fade” the contour and highlight together, creating a blended effect. Continue applying your highlight and contour until satisfied — the beauty of this look is, you can create as much (or as little) of a pixel effect as you want.
Step Three: Eyebrows
First, fill in both eyebrows as your normally would to create shape and definition. Then, on the “pixelated” side of your face, use a pencil matching your eyebrow shade to outline small, unconnected rectangles above and below your brow line (making sure to alternate to create that same checkerboard effect as with the contour and highlight). Once you’re satisfied with the placement of the rectangles, fill them in with a gel matching your eyebrow shade, such as Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade.
Step Four: Eyes
Use a gel or liquid eyeliner to create a normal cat-eye on the “unpixelated” side of your face, extending the wing out for dramatic effect. On the “pixelated” side, you’ll do the same, creating the cat-eye with small, unconnected dashes instead of one long, connected line. Continue layering the dashes in a checkerboard pattern until you have a cat-eye and wing made up of dashes.
Step Five: Lips
Draw a line from the center of your Cupid’s bow to the center of your bottom lip. On the non-made-up side of your face, use a lip brush to fill in your lips with a long-wearing matte lipstick (we love Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick). On the “pixelated” half, use a small, angled brush to carefully draw small rectangles on your lips (again in the checkerboard-like pattern to create the pixelated effect). You can either leave the remaining space on your lips bare, or fill them in with a color slightly darker than the rest of the lipstick.
Step Six: Lock It
Touch up any areas you aren’t thrilled with and add any finishing touches your look demands (we’re big fans of glitter everything on Halloween, but to each their own). Once you’re satisfied, lock your makeup in place using a long-lasting setting spray, such as Urban Decay‘s, above.
Now, learn a handy Halloween lipstick hack: