Lion Makeup Two Ways

Meet Greg and Jason and see our process for doing Halloween right!

Halloween Lion Makeup

This year my friends Greg and Jason did a great job of contacting me over a month before Halloween to ask for some help with their makeup. That was my favorite project in my Stage Makeup class, so I was pretty excited to get started:

Sample Lion Stage Makeup
Junior year in Stage Makeup – choose your own animal


Greg and Jason asked for a simpler, color blocked, lighter-on-the-makeup approach. Over the next few weeks I received costume sketches, examples of makeup they liked, and and their pre-bought manes to color match.

These were the sketches I was given:

Jason was the mastermind, coming up with the character designs for each of them.

Greg was to be more prim and proper, with heavier makeup. Jason was to be the scrappy cub with a slightly lighter treatment (which worked great, by the way, with his Scottish freckles! How many Filipino-Scottish people do you know?)

In response, I drew up these face plots:

Notice how the head shapes are different, trying to match Greg and Jason’s unique proportions. I always prefer drawing my own heads to drawing on a template – it’s so hard to translate the same face plot to a million different shapes and sizes of heads!

Practice Rounds

We were lucky to be able to practice before the big day! That really helped me hash out some details – like what to do on their eyelids. (For the practice round I painted the whole eyelid black without thinking, only to have them look like yellow pandas. Whoops!)

Round one:

Lion Halloween Makeup
Don’t expect your 2D sketch to flawlessly transfer to a 3D face – here I’m experimenting

Round two, this time with shaved faces:

Lion Stage Makeup
As I get more confident with my proportions, I can be more deliberate with my shapes and lines

Halloween Night:

Third time was the charm and the lions are looking just like their sketches!


  • I first used Skin Prep Pro as a base to protect their skin and help the makeup stay put during dancing, sweating, eating, and drinking
  • I used Mehron Paradise Makeup AQ paints in White, Black, Yellow, Felou, Dk Brown, and Beach Berry. I started with broad blocks of color and worked in the details later.
  • A Mehron Paradise AQ – Detailz in black is a great way to get those finer lines in. It took the boys some practice to keep their eyes still
  • The manes are actually dog costumes from ebay in large! How cool is that?! If you wanted to recreate them yourself, their actually just a tube of fur with elastic on one end. So simple!
  • I sealed the entire look with Ben Nye Final Seal for makeup that wasn’t going anywere!


Greg’s Transformation:

Skin Prep Pro is applied to Greg’s face, let dry, and then color is blocked in
White is applied focusing on solid coverage and crisp boundaries, followed by details in black
Finished drawing out the mouth with down-turned corners and a simple suggestion of whiskers. Finally the eyes are outlined in black and accented in white
More white is added underneath the eyes
A layer of Final Seal is all he needs!
Makeup all finished, nothing left but the mane!
Preparing Greg’s mane
Tying the elastic secure

Jason’s transformation:

After his skin is prepped, I lightly applied some yellow/orange and blocked in a more opaque white
I used a tiny liner brush to begin outlining the nose, mouth, eyes, and a few whiskers on the bottom to blend in his beard
A bigger brush is used to add white contrast and the black liner brush is used under his eyes
Added the suggestion of whiskers, white underneath the eyes, and a little yellow which will be blended
The yellow is blended and brown cub spots are placed down
Spots are finished. He’s almost done!
A little bit of Final Seal for good measure
Positioning the mane. We used black temporary hairspray to make subtle black streaks in his mane
All finished and ready to show it off!

Final Look:


Greg and Jason had a blast on their night out, and reported that their costumes were the hit of the Pride they went with. What made this such a fun experience was the ample time we had to do it, and the very doable expectations of the result. Sometimes it’s more fun to master something simple, than to agonize over something complex last-minute!

What’s the most involved makeup you’ve ever done for Halloween?