Just Borrow a Fashionista’s Makeup Bag
Materials for fake Halloween bruises: If you will have a large group to decorate, like an entire crew of mistreated galley slaves, a tin of theatrical grease paint is the most economical way to create special effects for Halloween bruises. Almost any kind of makeup can be used if it’s the right color, but no glitter and shimmer, OK? Bruises don’t glitter! Cream eyeshadow, powder eyeshadow, eye liner pencil and lipstick will all work. If you are reading this at 8 PM on Halloween night – even colored pencils can make a decent bruise.
Colors for Bruises: Whatever your makeup choice is, you will need medium red or dark pink, a dark blue or dark purple, deep green, and dark yellow.
What Stage of Bruise to Make: If you want to look like you lost one bad fight, make all your bruises in the same stage of healing. To look like an escapee from the Spanish Inquisition, make a range of bruises from fresh to almost healed, with some fresh ones overlapping the healed ones.
Stages and Colors of a Bruise: Bruises are caused when an injury breaks some blood vessels under the skin and blood leaks out into the surrounding tissue. As the red blood cells die the hemoglobin in them changes color.
A bruise on a typical pale-skinned person starts as a mottled pink to red blotch that quickly changes to some shade of blue or purple. Over the next few hours and days, the color will spread a little or a lot, and change to green, then dark yellow-brown and finally a pale yellow-brown until it completely disappears. It is common for a bruise to heal unevenly, with some red blotching still visible when other parts are already purple-greenish.
How to Build a Bruise with Makeup: Bruises are built in rings like a 3-ring archery target. Start with the outer ring and build inward. For a mottled look, smear some of the makeup on a sponge or bit of paper towel, then dab it onto the skin. Or use your fingertips and pat the color unevenly onto your skin.
1 – Make a faint blotchy outer ring by lightly spreading a thin layer of blue, green, or yellow, depending on the age you want the bruise to appear. If you are using greasepaint, apply it very thinly- the stuff has amazing color power.
2 – Make the middle ring with dark purple/blue for a fresh bruise or blue-green blotchy for an older bruise. Overlap the outer ring a little or a lot. Bruises vary and there is no right or wrong size.
3 – Make the center reddish-purple and blotchy, or for a recent bruise, blotchy and red.
Details for Realistic Bruises: A bruise will clearly show the shape of the object that caused it more prominently than the rest of the bruise, near the center. If you want “strangle marks”, smear a bit of the base color on one hand and grab the throat to get the location correct, then blend it in and add the rest of the colors. A punch to the face often shows the knuckle marks. A blow from a hard object will leave a more deeply colored mark shaped like that object.
Cleaning it Off: A warm soapy shower will get rid of ordinary makeup. If you used grease paint, spread salad oil on the grease paint, wait a few minutes and wipe it off with paper towels, then shower.