Make your Carnival Make-up a Hit

Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Cadiz, Nice… Did you miss all the carnivals this year? Well not to worry, because there are still a couple of opportunities this year to show off our artistic skills with make-up: Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place in August, and Halloween which, although it’s not really a carnival, who can imagine this pagan festival without make-up?

Good make-up can make an ordinary costume something unique and special, so today we bring you all the basic elements you’ll need to make your costume a hit. Plus, as there’s still a few months until these events, you can practice your carnival make-up so it’s perfect. Take note!

Carnival Make-up: What You Need and Where to Find It

Technique and Inspiration. The stuff on Pinterest is all very inspiring, sure, but if in addition to inspiration you need technique, we recommend the book Técnicas De Maquillaje Profesional y Caracterización (Professional Make-up and Face-Painting Techniques) by Irma de la Guadai Ramos. If you need something more basic, the book El arte del maquillaje y de la caracterización by Antje Wilkening (The Art of Make-up and Face-Painting, 2008) is good place to start. It’s a bit old, but it provides step-by-step instructions on how to achieve several different popular characters in a straightforward way. It also shows you how to put on false beards, make someone look bald, simulate wounds and scars and even fake noses. Another very useful book is Extreme Face Painting: 50 Friendly and Fiendish Step-by-Step Demos by Brian and Nick Wolfe (2011), where you’ll find step by step guides for the simplest to the most elaborate make-up designs. The instructions are easy to follow and there is a useful description of all the materials. You can find them at your local bookstore or online.

Carnaval 2

Before and After Applying Make-up. Protecting and taking good care of your skin is essential to using any make-up or carnival face-painting product, so we always recommend moisturising beforehand. While you can use your normal moisturiser, we recommend Grimas professional moisturising cream, which is free of perfumes and fats and is fast absorbing. For make-up removal, the cream make-up remover of the same brand is also very good. You can buy it online at Alpel or in specialised stores.

Brushes and Colours. One of the most exciting things is beginning to use colour and for this we need a colour palette with enough creative options and different brushes for lines of different thicknesses. There are many different types of face paint, including water-based and liquid paints, bars and creams… Choose the one that best suits your skin and make-up design. You can choose a basic palette of 6 colours to begin with and then buy other colours individually as needed. We especially like the water-based make-up and the prices from This site also offers all kinds of brushes and sponges to help you apply the make-up.

Carnaval 3

Wigs and extensions, eyelashes and gems.

Nothing completes a carnival look like accessories and these will give your make-up the edge. Special little details like latex wounds or fake blood are perfect for that Walking Dead look and colourful gems are great if you want to pull off a Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ look (we love these from, fake eyelashes of all different shapes and sizes (from just €3 at, coloured wigs and fake beards, noses and ears…  even colour contacts.



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