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Face Demise in Style: Makeup Essentials for the Apocalypse

Alisha Adkins is an author of horror and speculative fiction. A self-described "aging goth," she has a strong interest in creative makeup.

Makeup for the Apocalypse


Makeup Essentials for the Apocalypse

Okay, let's be real. In a zombie apocalypse, personal hygiene is probably not going to be most people's first order of business. I mean, who will even be left for them to worry about impressing?

For this reason, most female survivors will likely embrace the "grunge" look, sporting stringy, unwashed hair, no make up, and unshaven legs and ampits.

But, should you choose to buck the trend and instead adopt a fearless, Mad Max-esque zombie-killing warrior-woman persona, here's a guide to what cosmetics you'll want to have in your makeup bag in order to complete your post-apocalyptic look.

True Match


Setting the Stage: Primer, Foundation, & Setting Powder

In the unsanitary conditions of a zombie apocalypse, one can expect a prevelance of acne breakouts, so skin care will be all the more important. When you can find skin care products, use them. Exfoliate when you can, moisturize, and prime your face with your standard skin primer (Maybelline's Baby Skin is a popular drugstore choice) before applying foundation.

Stick with your regular pre-apocalypse foundation, at least until your complexion changes (either from being in the sun due to your new nomadic lifestyle or from losing pigmentation due to holing up somewhere in darkness) or until you develop skin lesions from unhygenic living conditions. If you're looking for some commonly available face makeup while on one of your looting runs, you may want to try getting Maybelline's Fit Me! Concealer for some of those lesions. L'Oreal's True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup is a well-regarded drugstore foundation that would be worth snagging, and Rimmel's Stay Matte Pressed Powder pairs well with it.

An alternate option, if you would rather go for a ghostly appearance than a natural one, is to seek out a mall with relatively few undead milling about inside and stock up on Manic Panic's Dreamtone Flawless Foundation and Goth White Powder at the Hot Topic there. These products will allow you to build a pure white canvas on which to create a frightening masterpiece in makeup warpaint. However, while this look will score bonus points for its intimidation factor, it is not without its drawbacks -- be aware that, from a distance, other humans may assume you're one of the walking dead because of your pallor and try to use you for target practice.

Kat Von D's Shade & Light Contouring Palette


Lena Lednicka: Goth Contouring

Contouring & Blush

For your contouring needs, try to pick up Kat Von D's Shade & Light Contouring Palette. Designed to shape and define facial features, it features three shades for contouring and three shades for highlighting.

Kat Von D's products are only available through Sephora, which unfortunately could be a tall order to find during the zombie apocalypse, so if you find a ransacked Sephora in a defunct nearby mall, e.l.f. offers a simple drugstore option with its Studio Contour Palette - or, in a pinch, you can always just use a taupey eyeshadow.

As for blush, use it, if you must. Blush seems a bit contrary to the warrior image, but it's a matter of personal preference, so apply your favorite shade as you see fit. If you are in the market for one, the Balm's blushes are always well-regarded, as is Milani's Baked Blush.

24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil


Eyeliner & Mascara

While drugstore raids may keep you in foundation, the sad truth is that you won't find eyeliners there of the quality needed for long-wearing warpaint. For that, you're going to need to arrange a department store campaign.

When it comes to eyeliner, a woman needs options. She needs a gel, pencil, and liquid eyeliner. Here's what she will need to make it through the apocalypse in style:

Inglot makes the best long-wearing gel eyeliner; you'll want it for applying the finer strokes around your eyes. Inglot's AMC Eyeliner Gel is highly pigmented, smudge proof, crease proof, hypo-allergenic, waterproof, and available in 32 different colors, making it the perfect eyeliner warpaint.

Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils are extremely long-wearing, highly pigmented, and waterproof, staying put regardless of what you're doing. The liner goes on soft and creamy for blending (for about 30 seconds), then dries down to a long-lasting finish that WILL NOT budge. These are the perfect eyeliner to wear while in the heat of battle, whether with the living or the dead, and are available in 40 colors.

Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner is a high-pigment, waterproof liquid eyeliner with a brush tip for precise application. This is a great implement to have in your makeup arsenal -- it's perfect for drawing in the finer details, flourishes, or kill counts to your warpaint.

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As for mascara, post-apocalypse recommendations for adding volume, definition, and length to your eyelashes include Urban Decay's Subversion lash primer followed by Perversion mascara, Tarte Cosmetics' Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara, Too Faced's Better Than Sex mascara or, if you're raiding a drugstore, Revlon's Photoready 3D Volume Mascara.

Autogoy: Gothic Eyebrows


You have two choices when it comes to eyebrows.

You can either go natural, perhaps just lightly plucking for shape occasionally, or you can go all out and shave your eyebrows completely off, instead opting to draw fearsome ones on for dramatic effect.

The choice is yours.

BiohazardousBeauty: Neon and Bright Eyeshadows 101

The Zombie Girl Collection



You're going to want ultra-pigmented, vibrant eyeshadows that can be seen from great distances.

Begin by using a primer. Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion or, especially for bright colors, a white base such as NYX's Jumbo Eye Pencil Shadow Liner in the shade 604 Milk, will work as a base under your eyeshadow.

First, Urban Decay's Electric Palette will be a must-have in your post-apocalyptic makeup essentials bag.

Sugarpill's Burning Heart, Heart Breaker, and Sweetheart palettes are a staple in creative makeup enthusiasts' bags everywhere. Don't expect that to change just because the dead have started walking the earth.

Kat Von D 's Metal Crush single eyeshadows are intensely pigmented metallic shadows that pack a wallop of color. Keep a few in your go bag so you'll always be ready.

Finally, Concrete Minerals offers highly pigmented loose powder eyeshadows. If you happen to run across these in your travels, you'll want to snap them up -- especially if you happen to find their Zombie Girl Collection, which is a set of six vibrant mineral eyeshadows packaged in a collectible zombie tin!

Liquid Lipsticks

Vampira Everlasting Liquid Lipstick

Vampira Everlasting Liquid Lipstick

Unicorn Blood

Unicorn Blood

Deadly Nightshade

Deadly Nightshade

Makeup Monsters packaging

Makeup Monsters packaging

Technopagan Lip Tar / RTW

Technopagan Lip Tar / RTW


Feminist Lippie Stix

Feminist Lippie Stix

Vamp It Up MegaLast Lip Color