Whether your Halloween costume is a boxer or Hollywood celebrity who's recently been in a fight, a good black eye will help to finish the effect. Since you probably don't want to volunteer as a punching bag at the local gym, you should use makeup to create the bruise on yourself. There is a lot more to creating a black eye than simply smearing some makeup onto yourself, however. To create a convincing bruise, you must understand the process.
Anatomy of a Bruise
When you receive a severe impact, the force causes capillaries under your skin to break. As blood flows into the surrounding tissue, the area becomes bright red. After a few hours that blood begins to clot, and the colors change to a mottle of reds, maroons and browns. Eventually the area heals and the clotted blood is reabsorbed back into the body. During this process the colors shift to greens and yellows until the bruise fades and disappears.
If you want to create a realistic bruise, there are several things that you should consider. For example, how old is the bruise? As outlined in the previous section, fresh bruises have more reds and maroons, while older bruises look yellowish-green. You should also think about what caused the bruise. If it was something relatively soft like a fist, the bruise's edges be soft and undefined. If you were hit my a wooden board, however, you may see the imprint of the object in the bruise.
Types of Makeup
Most bruises for Halloween are created with cream makeup or greasepaint. These are available in any costume or Halloween store. Often you can find bruise wheels, which contain all of the colors you will need for your black eye in a single container. You can also create a bruise with liquid makeup if you are more comfortable with that medium. Pancake makeups are not recommended because they can be very hard to blend.
A base coat of yellow, applied blotchily with your fingertip, can be used to set the perimeter of the bruise. You can then add the reds, maroons or greens as needed. The colors should be fairly irregular without too much blending together. Look to photos of real black eyes as inspiration for specific color patterns. Once the makeup is in place, you should powder it with translucent makeup powder to prevent smearing.
- "Special Makeup Effects for Stage and Screen"; Todd Debreceni; 2009
- Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images