Grayscale Makeup Tutorial for Halloween

grayscale halloween makeup black and white
grayscale halloween makeup black and white 1

Today’s Halloween makeup tutorial was inspired by the killingest drag queen Detox (naturally) and the movie Pleasantville. Remember that movie, about the teens who end up in a 50s sitcom, and bring color into their black and white world? More importantly, do you remember Detox’s grayscale makeup from the RuPaul’s Drag Race finale? It was incredible. I made a mental note to try it out, but somehow it took me a couple years to do so (also, naturally). I documented the process, so if you want to try out grayscale makeup for your Halloween costume, click through to follow the tutorial!


halloween black and white grayscale makeup tutorial

  1. After applying primer, I covered my face and neck in Ben Nye Clown White with a synthetic foundation brush. Note: Clown White can be pretty difficult to work with, if you don’t warm it up before applying. I scoop out a little bit and warm it up with my hair dryer.
  2. Since I created a completely blank, white canvas, I went back in and made new shadows. It’s just like regular contouring and highlighting, only with black and grey – and the white is already the highlight. I went along the hairline, cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and jawline with Ben Nye creme colors in black and gray.
  3. With the colors in place, I blended everything with a damp Beautyblender. Make sure to bounce the beautyblender, not wipe with it.
  4. I used the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette and liner to smoke out my eyes, and of course, filled in my brows!
  5. I filled in my lips with the same grey and black creme colors, then dabbed a little bit of white in the middle, to give dimension.
  6. Finally, I set the makeup with translucent setting powder. If you skip this step, it will crease in a heartbeat…don’t skip it! To finish off the grayscale makeup look, I sprayed my hair with black spray, and added a vintage fascinator. Voila!

Want more Halloween makeup and costume ideas? Check out my past Halloween posts:

Harlequin Doll Makeup Tutorial

Harlequin Doll and Cat Burglar costumes

Pop Art Makeup Tutorial

Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas (close up of the makeup, here)

Hedwig and The Angry Inch

Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop from Moonrise Kingdom

Alice in Wonderland

Mary Poppins and Bert

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Amber says:

    This looks fantastic; you’ve got skill. I tried using cream like this (in white/green) earlier this year for an Alien party… It escalated quickly (and is a really funny story that still gets me)…. but suffice to say you are better than I am. Hope you’re having a good morning. 😉

  2. Carlee says:

    Oh man this is so cool! In that first photo of the tutorial you could be the white witch from Narnia in the Lion, the White, and the Wardrobe!
    Little Sloth

  3. Claire says:

    Absolutelt gorgeous! You look stunning!