Got a date with a zombie? Dressing up as Dracula? If you are headed to a costume party, are in a stage production, or are involved in any sort of costumed activity where you want to apply a good amount of fake blood makeup, make sure you know just how to do it. Smearing a little red lipstick on your face may give you some redness, but it won’t pass as realistic blood. To get the best look, here are a few tips that have been tried and tested for many years.

Get it Clean

First, make sure the area where you want to apply the blood is clean and free of oil and dirt. The blood makeup won’t work right if your skin is dirty. Wash the area thoroughly and apply a little liquid latex as a primer. The latex will set the foundation for your wound. If you want realistic blood, you have to first make a realistic wound. If you’re short on time or don’t have any liquid latex on hand, you can just apply the blood to an area where it would naturally come out of, like the corner of your mouth eyes. If you want to go for the full effect, you’ll have to create a wound first.

Make a Wound

Apply a little latex and then pick at the corners after it dried to give the look of real skin. Apply a thin layer of white makeup over the dried latex to set the foundation of your wound. You may want to add a few colors to your makeup to give your wound a bruised look. If you’re going as a zombie or a corpse, you’ll want a fair amount of bruising colors to really add effect.

Apply the Blood

Now you’re ready to apply to blood. Dip your finger in your blood makeup and then stick your finger in the very center of your fake wound. Hold your finger there and allow the blood to drip naturally down your face. Hold still so it doesn’t smudge on the way down. Let it dry for a few minutes. Look at yourself in the mirror and see if your blood work has done the trick. If you need to apply more, just follow the same directions, being careful not to mess up the blood that is already there.

After your blood is applied you’re ready to go out for a night on the town! Remember, as tempting as it is, don’t let yourself or anyone else touch your bloody makeup or it may smudge.

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