Halloween Makeup Tutorial: Marilyn Manson

Warning: do not wear around small children or dogs.

When I was thinking of ideas for xoHalloween, I looked to the musical world for inspiration. And when you're a child of the '90s recalling musicians with terrifying beauty games, you naturally think of Marilyn Manson.

I admit: I've never been a Marilyn Manson superfan. I like some of his music, even as I don’t agree with everything he says or does. But Halloween is all about embracing your fears. And while I’m not afraid of rockstars myself, in the '90s and early aughts, Marilyn Manson and his ilk were society’s nightmare. He and his band were blamed for everything, most famously the horrific shooting at Columbine.

Given that he's mostly retired from music and just looks like some dude now, I have a hard time explaining just HOW bonkers adults went over MM back in the day. Pictures of him were outright banned at my school. Stories about what a degenerate he was were on the news every night. I remember they were considering banning him from entering Australia so that he couldn't "corrupt the youth" on tour. And why? Because his persona was deliberately designed to be provocative and disturbing, rather than “hot”?

Whatever your opinions of him, dude is NOT afraid of bold beauty, and there’s almost too much inspiration out there. So for this tutorial I decided to pull pieces from a bunch of MM’s greatest beauty hits, rather than recreate one specific look.


Because Marilyn Manson hasn’t had eyebrows since like 1995, grab a glue stick and get rid of yours. Again, my white foundation played very poorly with my glue stick and I was forced to layer concealer with translucent powder until they (almost) vanished.


I painted my face with MAC Face and Body Foundation in white, making sure to also cover my neck and shoulders, since they’ll be visible in this shoot. I set everything with a heavy dusting of Laura Mercier Pressed Powder for additional paleness (and evenness).

Go ahead and write UNSAFE across your chest in red lipstick, smearing it down a little. Because I had that (banned) poster in my locker as a ~cool teen~.


MM has had some interesting hair choices throughout his career, but I wanted something that evoked essential Manson. I deep parted my hair to one side and straightened it HARDCORE, making sure not to flip the ends under.

I sprayed my bangs with water and combed them back into the rest of my hair, blasting them down with a ton of Bed Head Hard Head Hairspray. I sprayed the hairspray onto my fingers and combed them through the rest of my hair to give it the piece-y, Snape-esque look so popular in the Antichrist Superstar era.

I finished up by brushing bright red powder eye shadow through sections of my hair with a medium brush as a way to reference the neon hair of Omega and the Mechanical Animals.


My favorite part. We’ve already hidden our eyebrows, so let’s get into some creative stuff.

Begin by moistening an eye shadow brush with contact lens solution and applying a matte black eye shadow (This is Carbon by MAC) all over your eyes. And I do mean ALL OVER. We’re talking mobile lid all the way up to where your eyebrow should be (bonus for those of you who, like me, couldn’t erase your brows completely) and underneath, like a mask.

Next, take a bright blue eye shadow (This is Radium by Urban Decay) and use it around the periphery to blend the black out. This is a nod to the Golden Age of Grotesque, which was a hell of a look.

I applied spiky fake eyelashes underneath one eye (this ended up not being as dramatic as I’d have liked), applied mascara, then lined each waterline with waterproof black liquid liner. LORAC Front of the Line PRO is, as always, the very best forever.

The final touch was a single white contact lens. I ordered this pair from Pinky Paradise (as recommended by Mari) and I think it really made the look.

But oh god. I would be remiss if I did not tell you guys that white contact lenses are MAD UNCOMFORTABLE. Because the white is totally opaque, I could only see out of the teeny tiny pupil holes and had NO peripheral vision in my one eye. This made it hard to navigate the world and kind of gave me a headache after a while. Marilyn Manson probably wouldn’t complain because he’s a rockstar and everything, but I am not made of such stern stuff.

Anyway. Here’s the finished eye look.


The finishing touch. Remember when I showed you how to overdraw your lips and not look crazy? Well, forget all that. Because now we want to look crazy.

I used black pencil eyeliner (well-cleaned and newly sharpened) to draw a supermassive, over-exaggerated line around my lips.

I filled this in halfway with the same black pencil liner, then used a dark red to fill the inside, blending the two together where they met.

Are you ready to see the finished look?

I am BEYOND pleased with this.

We’re all stars now in the dope show.

So tell me, guys: Am I the spookiest spooky kid? Do you have any Marilyn Manson-y memories? What's your favorite album (I like Mechanical Animals because I'm a sucker for musical personas)? Have you ever worn crazy contact lenses? Tell me evvvvverything.