Halloween Tutorial: Lady Macbeth

With the right tools and technique, you can create this in 30 minutes--even if all you’re wearing is a nightgown.
Publish date:
October 23, 2014
Hourglass, Urban Decay, covergirl, xohalloween, juliet, lady macbeth, ophelia, shakespeare

I’m a theater kid and a horror fiend, so Halloween is my Christmas. Still, I can’t bring myself to stress about it. I know I can always pull something out of my, ahem, makeup kit. That’s one of the things I love about makeup--it’s so versatile. With the right tools and technique, you can create an entire character in 30 minutes--even if all you’re wearing is a nightgown.

Case in point: I found this “medieval chemise” on Amazon for under $20. Chemises (chemii?) are those white, puffy-sleeved undergarments you see peeking through costumes in period pieces; essentially visual shorthand for “it’s all Shakespearean up in here.” If you’re a fan of the Bard, I highly recommend snagging one of these dresses.

Over the next couple of days I'm going to show you how to create three Shakespearean heroine costumes: Lady Macbeth, Juliet, and Ophelia. We'll begin with...

Lady Macbeth

Get in character: Four performances of the sleepwalking scene

Come, you spirits

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,

And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full

Of direst cruelty.


Lady M is a badass with a juicy character arc, but I decided to focus specifically on the madness unraveling in the sleepwalking scene.

I wanted a pale, smooth canvas to work with, so I used Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation and layered Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder on top for extra coverage. Then I swept the darkest shade from the It Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette underneath my cheekbone, at my temples, under my lower lip, along my jawline, and around my collarbones. I filled in my brows with Smartbrow Eyebrow Filler in Dark Brown, paying extra attention to the arch and brushing with a spoolie and finishing with concealer on my brow bone for a stark but polished effect.

Using a blending brush, I circled my entire eye with Sangria (a shimmery red-wine) from the new Anastasia Tamanna Palette, concentrating the pigment in the crease and blending outward in a much larger radius than “real-life” makeup. Then I blended the outer edges with Bengal (mustard) and lined my upper and lower lash line with Noir. For lashes, I used Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara--Lady M is definitely more interested in mascara (or, like, anything else) than in sexy times with her husband.

Tap a concealer over your lips (I used Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer), then apply a red stain in the center. I used Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon, blended the pigment outward with my fingers, and layered the Tarte The Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer on top to give it some warmth. The concealer underneath gave my lips extra texture and a neutral base, while the reddish-brown combo gave definition without detracting from the bold eyes.


I took my hair down and sprayed with Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray, scrunching as I went. Then I sprayed R+Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray all over and fluffed everything up for that unmistakable madwoman vibe.

If you want to make people think you actually thought about this costume for longer than it took to read this article, try a bloody manicure. I smoothed Vaseline around my cuticles, then dipped an orange stick into red polish and dribbled it in a U-shape along the nail side of the cuticle, then did the same with a slightly darker red. The Vaseline repels the polish so you don’t have to be as neat; the overlap on the skin should slide off fairly easily once the polish is dry.


I got generic “vampire blood” from CVS, but you can always mix your own for a personal touch (or to make it tastier). True, Lady M’s un-scrubbable bloodstains are a figment of her guilty conscience, but it’s Halloween: imaginary blood is no fun! Let’s get messy.


  • What’s your favorite Shakespeare play? I wanted to do Titus Andronicus, but my makeup skills aren’t at “gouged eyes” level yet.
  • Tune in this weekend for Juliet and Ophelia!