Dia de los Muertos make-up for Black Cherry club

Day of the Dead – or Dia de los muertos, has been celebrated for over 3000 years by the indigenous people of Mexico and Central America. An Aztec ritual that has since merged with Catholic practices, DOTD honours the dead, and in particular, family members who have passed. 

Dia de los Muertos art is meant to show the duality of life, which can only exist surrounded by death. The artwork is meant to reflect this and make death a part of life, to be accepted and acknowledged instead of feared.  Hence the bright colours and celebratory air.  The only thing it has in common with western halloween really, is the use of skulls. 

And so, I was excited to have a theme to dress up to when Black Cherry came around last week.

I was also lucky to have bought an amazing DOTD necklace when I was at Nude n’ Rude in Koenji, Tokyo recently. It’s still available too! It’s called the Too Fast Sugar Skull necklace, and costs 3,500 yen, or get a similar one from Too Fast online.  I copied my design from that.

Instead of using white face-paint, which not only is very hard to use and get even, but looks super over the top, I went for a more subtle approach. I used my Shiseido green corrector stick, which is a pale green base stick which corrects reddish pigment in the skin. It goes on smoothly and the colour can be built up. It doesn’t set like liquid foundation, however, so I set it with pale face powder, and commenced the rest of the design.

Dia de los muertos design usually uses symbols from cards, such as a club, diamond, heart or spade. I used a heart on my forehead in red, a diamond on the bridge of my nose, and a club on my chin (using black pencil and eyeliner).

Usually the design also features black eyes and nose with little red gems or dots around them. I simplified and just did a smoky eye.  In deference to the skeleton theme, I created dark contours on my cheekbones with a matte gray/black eyeshadow.

The big standout I guess, is the lips. Instead of doing a full set of teeth (which does look very effective), I instead went for a puckered look. I drew vertical lines on upper and lower lips with a sharpened pencil, and then traced over with waterproof liquid eyeliner. On the inside of the lips, I joined up the lines in a “U” shape with black pencil for a more realistic effect. Then I added to this by using a white pencil to highlight the centre of each “U”, again for a more 3D effect.

I did also incorporate the spiderweb design often used in DOTD art, doing it in blue on my temples  and forehead – but the wig covered it up! Oh wells…. I grabbed a little fascinator on a headband that I had and sewed a plastic skull-face on it (having split the skull so it was flat-backed first).  I also added spooky eyeball hairclips I bought from Bexterity at the Rock n Roll Markets a few weeks back.  

Since flowers and wreaths also feature heavily on DOTD design, I grabbed a red  floral lei and mucked about with it for this photo:

And now for the rest of the outfit! I decided to wear a big circle skirt, since Black Cherry is quite rockabilly and vintage in theme. A riot of colour and pattern was also necessary for true mexican flavour, hence this floral art nouveau design.  A big pouffy petticoat underneath really made the skirt stand out and “swish” in a satisfying fashion.

Ribcage Corset – Louise Black
Pink tank-top & black halter top – owned for years
Skirt – bought in Suva, Fiji (on the day of the coup!)
Black petti/tutu – eBay
Striped gloves with skulls – i-socks, KL

I hope that has inspired you to try the look for a party, or even for Halloween coming up. It’s festive and spooky, all at the same time! For photos of the fabulous patrons of Black Cherry club that night, stay tuned….


  1. You look really scary you know..

  2. I love this look – really inspiring.

  3. your lips are really cool 😀 (as is the rest 😉 )
    I love the skirt and corset you are wearing! I’m trying to make a corset on my own with homemade plastic boning but it has been laying around for a year now … need to finish it 😀

    • Thank you! Wow, making corsets isn’t easy – good on you for having a go 🙂 When I talked to kikirara shoten, she said she just taught herself to make corsets by ripping them apart and looking at the construction.

  4. You went all out! It looks really good, especially the mouth, I think that’s my fav part. & your shoes!! You always have the best shoes. I’m looking for a pair of spiked heels myself but so far no luck 🙁

    • Thanks so much! The mouth was really pretty simple too. And heh, yeah, I LOVE my spiky shoes 🙂 If I ever see similar ones, I’ll be sure to post about it!!

  5. I have to admit no forethought when I bought the necklace – I just really liked the style! I do like skulls and gothy things, but this one was so pretty with little gems and roses 🙂

    On the make-up: I really must take the time to do some how-to videos – thanks for asking about it; I always think there’s enough out there or that people know how to do these things, but am happy to share how it’s done 🙂 When I get back from Malaysia, I promise to do a few – hopefully in time for Halloween!

    Onto the clothes: I really do empty out my wardrobe each Sat night to sort through what might work for the night at hand. Mind you, when I went shopping yesterday, it was specifically thinking of what I might wear in Malaysia, so I was imagining how the clothes I bought would work with what I was already taking. Haha, I would love to be your coach next time I’m there 🙂

    BTW, I’ve done a few photos where I attempt dolly kei, done step-by-step, so I should post these soon, and see what you think! They use the skirt I bought with you at Brimoire that day.

  6. Gorgeous. Love it.

  7. You look amazing in this! Really like the skirt. (yes I know this post is years late)