Creating Dramatic Halloween Makeup Transformations

For most of the year, Tamara Bickley, founder of Makeup Artistry by Tamara, enhances the beauty of her clients with makeup for weddings and other special events. But in the days leading to Halloween, her work has much different results, which can sometimes be horrifying.

She’s made herself up for Halloween for about eight years and after she started her business in 2012, she started doing Halloween makeup professionally. She receives most of her Halloween-based clients from social media:  “I will do up my face and put it out there on social media to show people the diversity of what I can do.”

She said she only uses herself as the model for examples of her Halloween makeup, not for her glamour or other make-up work. To demonstrate her general make-up artistry, she uses before and after photos of her clients. “I like to do that so people can see the difference in how I can enhance one’s beauty.” But when it comes to Halloween makeup, she’ll use herself as an example “so people can see how I can take what I look like and I can change it and make myself look completely different in so many ways.”

Plus, she can make herself up at the spur of the moment whenever she wants to try a new look. Her Halloween make-up ranges from Day of the Dead artwork with colorful designs to animal faces to characters with rotting flesh.

“My real passion is special effects,” she said. “I would love to do makeup for films, but there’s really not that much out here in Phoenix.”

She recently made herself up as a lion and then picked up her kids from school in full makeup. She shot video of their reactions. “My children were horrified,” she said. “They did not think it was cool. They were not impressed because they’re used to me doing crazy makeup around Halloween time.

“I think deep down they think it’s cool, but two of them are teenagers so they have to pretend it’s not cool.”

As embarrassed as they act, though, they don’t hesitate to ask her to do their makeup when they want to dress up, she notes.

She only uses safe, high-grade makeup on her clients, often the type that is used on movie sets. “It’s not going to clog your pores or give you a rash.”

Most of the makeup purchased in Halloween stores isn’t good for your skin, she said. “You have to be careful when you’re doing your own makeup – to use products that are higher-grade, especially when you’re putting it on kids.”

Although it can take up to two hours to create a unique Halloween look, depending on how intricate the design, it only takes her about five minutes to remove the makeup:  “The Makeup Eraser takes off all of it,” she said.

Tamara Bickley has also created her own makeup line, Tami B Custom Makeup. The custom foundation uses ingredients that are vegan and chemical-free and includes a consultation and color-match session. For more information, visit her website,

– Leisah Woldoff

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