Steampunk Makeup Guide

steampunk and dieselpunk makeup tutorial. Diy this dirty soot marked goggle look.
(source)
steampunk and clockpunk makeup tips and tutorials. how to get this clock face with gears
(source)
Steampunk makeup with gold body paint on neck and face, metal gears glued on and dirty goggle marks. fx mua
(source)
Men's Steampunk makeup for costumes or cosplay or halloween. Cyberpunk style robot with bright blue face paint and metal jaw.
(source)

**Updated for Halloween 2018**

From historically accurate to covered in gears, here are a variety of Steampunk makeup ideas (including options for men)! 

VICTORIAN MAKEUP

During the Victorian era, pale skin was valued because it meant you were wealthy and not a poor worker, toiling in the hot sun. Bright makeup was expected only of painted ladies like actresses and prostitutes. Many women did sneak some makeup to attempt the "natural look," but that usually meant the tiniest bit of rouge on the cheeks and a little powder to absorb oil. SCANDALOUS!

Steampunk makeup for authentic historical victorian makeup. Neo-victorian style pale white skin and light lips. Natural makeup.
(source)
Authentic historically accurate makeup from Queen Victoria. For steampunk or neo-victorian makeup and beauty.
(source)

If your character is an upper class Victorian woman and you're going the historically accurate route, use pale pressed powder to make your complexion as white as possible. Choose blush in a natural rosy tone to add slight color to your cheeks, but don't use enough to make it obvious (unless you're cosplaying as a Victorian prostitute). As for lip color, Victorian women were advised to bite their lips before entering a room. While a long day of lip biting sounds super fun, I'd advise you to embrace your inner hussy and just use a natural color lip balm instead.

Steampunk makeup in the victorian style from the 1800s to the 1900s. DIY tutorial for Pale skin, clean complexion natural look with rouge cheeks.
(source)
Steampunk beauty and makeup from the victorian era. Pale white skin, natural makeup with pink lips and cheeks. A DIY tutorial for Victorian makeup
(source)

 DIRTY GOGGLE MARKS

Grease, dirt and soot marks around goggles add character to engineer, mechanic, pilot, coal miner, factory worker, and dieselpunk costumes. Explosion effects around goggles look great on Steampunk mad scientists. This is a great look for both men and women, and it's so easy to pull off! No makeup experience necessary.

Steampunk makeup special fx and beauty for men and women. goggle lines for pilots, factory workers, dieselpunk makeup and costumes.
(source)
Steampunk makeup tutorial for DIY dirty goggle marks around eyes. How to create this fx for dieselpunk or steampunk costumes
(source)
How to do it:

Put on your goggles, then use a damp cosmetics sponge to apply dark brown or black powder eye shadow all around the edges of the goggles, making sure you get a nice clean line where they meet your skin. Creamy eyeshadows or eyeliner pencils will create a similar effect. Greasepaint (found here and in Halloween costume shops) works well too. You can even use fine coffee grounds!

Take off the goggles and continue to fan the color outward across your face.  Smearing some vaseline on top of the makeup makes it look greasy and more realistic.

A diy beauty tutorial for steampunk and dieselpunk costumes and cosplay. How to get dark dirt and soot marks around your goggles using makeup
(source)
Steampunk and dieselpunk makeup and beauty. DIY tutorial on how to create dirty soot marks around your goggles. for men and women, unisex makeup fx.
(source)
If you want to be extra fancy, you can use the same 'dirt makeup' the professional Special FX makeup artists use. The Ben Nye brand has a line of dust and dirt powders and gels in various shades. Mehron also has a line of powder dirt; I like this Charred Ash Powder. These Dirtworks Powders by PPI come in shades like 'Soot' and 'Muddy Waters'. You can also use a Dirtworks Grime Spray for your face and body. Up the authenticity of your costume by throwing in some sweat marks with this Mehron Sweat & Tears Special Effects Liquid. Get even more authentic by planning your costume poorly for the weather and sweating to death.

steampunk and dieselpunk makeup special fx. Diy tutorial on how to create dirty soot marks and grease on face. For men and women, engineers, mechanics, pilots costumes and cosplay
(source)
Steampunk and dieselpunk special fx makeup for dirty jobs like engineer, mechanic, factory worker. etc. Diy/tutorial on makeup for working class cosplay and costumes.
(source)
steampunk makeup guide for men how to make dirty goggle marks
(source)

GLUE SOME GEARS ON IT

This is another super easy, unisex makeup idea for Steampunks. Clear eyelash glue (found here or any drugstore) and a handful of gears from Amazon (copper, bronze, or a mix of metals) or your local craft store are all you need to pull off this look.

Diy tutorial on how to create this steampunk special fx makeup. Glue gears on your eyes and face for a cool steampunk look
(source)
Steampunk makeup special fx. Diy tutorial on how to glue gears to your face, for men or women (unisex makeup)
(source)
Place a few gears near the outer corners of your eyes for a subtle look, or go full on gear-crazy with a face full of them. You can even buy a set of 6 small gears with adhesive already applied here, (although people in the reviews recommend that you also use eyelash glue for better staying power). If you want the tiniest of gears and cogs, you'll often find them marketed as nail art, like these ultra thin gears or these gear nail decals.

DIY tutorial on how to glue gears to your face for steapunk special fx makeup. men too.
(source)
Steampunk makeup for halloween and cosplay. metal gears glued on eyes and lips in gold.
(source)
How to glue gears to your skin for a face full of steampunk makeup. Tips, tricks, tutorials for special fx makeup, men and women.
(source)
Steampunk makeup tutorial. How to glue gears to face for special fx makeup.
(source)

Don't limit yourself to your face! Get creative, like the person who created this bloody gash SFX makeup revealing the gears beneath their flesh:

(source)
You're not even limited to gears! I love the creativity of this man, who has decorated his goatee with various metal trinkets including an octopus and a spinning propeller. For weightier objects you'll need something stronger than eyelash glue. Spirit gum will get the job done, but it can be pretty painful to take off without spirit gum remover, so do yourself a favor and buy both in a set. To find the right embellishments, check out the jewelry making aisle of your local craft store. You'll find all kinds of tiny metal things from skeleton keys to Victorian filigrees, clocks, delicate butterflies, anchors, ship wheels, compasses, wings and more! You can also find all of these things on Amazon. Here's a link to all the good steampunk jewelry embellishments.

man with steampunk makeup - metal gears, propeller, octopus trinkets, embellishments glued to his face
(source)

CLOCKPUNK

If you can draw a straight line, you should be able to handle a Clockpunk makeup theme. Use black liquid eyeliner, pencil eyeliner, or a thin makeup or paintbrush dipped in black greasepaint. You can draw two small clock hands near your eye, or expand across your whole face. If that goes well, try adding some roman numerals.

Steampunk makeup special fx. add a clock face to your skin with this diy tutorial
(source)
steampunk special fx makeup. add clock hands to your eyes. diy tutorial for men and women.
(source)
Steampunk and Clockpunk special fx makeup technique. How to create clock hands and roman numerals on your own face for halloween costumes or cosplay.
(source)
Diy tutorial on how to draw a steampunk clock with hands on your face. special fx steampunk makeup for costumes or cosplay.
(source)
But what if you can't draw a straight line? Get out that glue, baby! Eyelash glue or spirit gum some actual clock hands to your face and BOOM! It's time to party! Buy some small clock hands here, or in the 'clock hand' department of Amazon (seriously), or if you're hurting for time (haha), rip apart every clock in your house.

Get creative with placement! This young man looks awesome with his handlebar mustache made of clock hands! He is so much more creative than you are. Try to catch up.

kid wearing steampunk clock makeup clock hands glued to his face like a mustache steampunk makeup guide
(source)

STENCIL YOUR SKIN

Treat your face like a big empty wall, and DIY that sucker with stencils! A nice thing about face stenciling is that you have the option of using several different kinds of makeup. If you have an airbrush machine (I recommend this one), you can use liquid face paint for bright, high pigmented color. You can also use a cream makeup or alcohol activated professional makeup palette, or even everyday high pigmented powder makeup.

Steampunk makeup special fx. use a gear stencil and airbrush to achieve this cool look
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup uses a stencil to airbrush colorful makeup over the outline of metal gears
(source)

First you'll need a stencil. Hot Wingz stencils are made specifically for the face. Each side of the stencil creates a different effect as you rotate it, while a blocking paddle can block out the inner shapes so you can isolate the one you want. This is the stencil used to achieve the black gear look in the above left photo. For more steampunk face tattoo/paint stencils, check out this one, this one, this one, or this one.

Actually, you can use any kind of flexible stencil, like the ones used for crafting or cake decorating, but it can sometimes be hard to find small enough ones for the face. This one and this one have lots of small gears, cogs and rivets. This Steampunk Gentleman stencil includes bow ties, top hats, keys, feathers, gears and mustaches. This Steampunk Butterfly design would look gorgeous on the face or body.

Use masking tape to cover any shapes you don't want included. If you're using a cream makeup, hold the stencil firm against your skin and blot on the color with a makeup sponge using a quick, stippling motion. If you're using powder, dab it onto your skin with a brush or damp sponge-- dab up and down, never rub side to side which will push the color under the stencil. Remove the stencil and you're done!

In the above right photo, bright shades of orange and rust makeup have been applied to the model before the stencil is used. It may look like the gear shapes are just her skin showing through, but this is an effect that was cleverly achieved using a makeup color that matched the model's skintone. If you see other photos of the model closer up, the stenciled color is slightly more bronze and shimmery than her normal skin color. To do this, apply a bright color makeup as your base, then hold the stencil against your skin and apply makeup that matches your natural skin color. Remove the stencil and marvel at how clever you are.

Here's a great example of a true negative space stenciled look:

use stencils to make a cool steampunk makeup style with gears and cogs
(source)

This person was trying to copy the same look we saw earlier, but the negative space in this example actually is the model's skin. To create this look, place small gear stickers on your face, neck and chest. These can be hard to find, but check the sticker section of your local craft store for anything cool and steampunk shaped. Here's a set, though some of the gears might be too big to use on your face. Next you can apply color over your stickers using either an airbrush, or makeup sponges with cream or powered makeup. Remove the stickers and you're done!

If you can't find stickers, you'll have to do what I suspect this makeup artist did: use real metal gears and cogs, press them against your skin (you'll need to tilt your face horizontally so they don't fall off--this is where it helps to have a friend assist), then airbrush the color over them. Dabbing on color with a makeup sponge will probably knock them off, but you can always give it a try. You could also try adding a little eyelash glue to the back of the gears and wait until the glue has almost dried completely (so you won't end up with glue stuck to your skin), then press the gears onto your skin and dab makeup over them. Peel the gears off, and hopefully you're not left with a face full of glue (if you try this, leave me a comment below about how it went).

SPECIAL FX MAKEUP

Here's where the amateurs bow out! However if you're somewhat artistic, or know someone who is, you might be able to pull these effects off with a little practice. If you're able to draw them on paper, it's only a matter of time and patience before you'll be able to draw them on your own face. I can't even draw decent stick figures, so you won't catch me looking this cool unless I befriend a professional makeup artist. But don't let my pessimism hold you back! Grab some brushes and a mirror and try to recreate some of these cool photos. Practice makes perfect.

Steampunk special fx makeup. MUA create robots with rivets and gears beneath their skin.
(source)
steampunk halloween makeup steampunk skeleton face and body makeup with gold gears
(source)
Here are some cool examples of skin ripped away to reveal gears instead of bone, broken dolls, and robots with rivets.

Steampunk special fx broken doll makeup with gears showing through skin. for halloween costumes or cosplay
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup, scary gory effect with skin ripped away to reveal gears below the flesh
(source)
If you're a fan of the band Steam Powered Giraffe and you'd like to look like Rabbit (the cool blue faced guy at the top of this post), here's a SPG makeup tutorial created by a fan named Chloe. Check out this great youtube tutorial from Made You Look by Lex, who created the awesome gold robot look below.

Steampunk special fx makeup video tutorial for gold robot with rivets and fears beneath its skin. makeup idea for men and women, halloween costumes and cosplay
(source)
Steampunk special fx broken doll makeup. Cracked and broken dolll reveals gears beneath her skin.
(source)
If you're going to get detailed and use a variety of colors, I strongly encourage you to use Special FX makeup. The colors have brighter pigments, they stay on longer, and they don't crack. Professional palettes can be pricey, but they give you the advantage of having a variety of colors to work with and the results are so much better than using cheap palettes or normal makeup. If you want that professional look, get a professional palette! You won't find them at Sephora, but sometimes you can find them in beauty supply stores. They're sold online, including on Amazon. Ben Nye, Mehron, Kryolan, and PPI/Skin Illustrator are the brands most used by professional Special FX Makeup Artists. You can find some cheaper palettes by other brands here.

steampunk special fx makeup airship pilot/captain with body paint on face, neck, shoulders, chest and hands. great halloween costume or cartoon or comic book character cosplay idea
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup with gold robot skeleton for men and women.
(source)
Take it to the next level by painting other body parts as well, like your hands, arms or legs. Here's a tutorial on creating the Steampunk hand below.

steampunk special fx makeup for body. diy tutorial on how to create this metal gear robot hand.
(source)
Steampunk makeup special fx robot leg for men and women's costumes and cosplay. also for dieselpunk makeup/body paint.
(source)

LACE MASKS

So what do you do when Victorian makeup is too boring, dirty goggle marks aren't appropriate for your character, you're uptight about using gears without a purpose, and you can't draw a straight line to save your life?

Steampunk makeup tips. Ahesive lace masks that adhere to skin are a sexy gothic romantic look for costume cosplay or masquerade balls.
(source)
Steampunk makeup tips. Adhesive lace mask by laced and waisted adhere to skin for a gothic romantic sexy high fashion costume. For cosplay or masquerade balls.
(source)
Slap a mask on it! Preferably a mask that lets you see and speak comfortably without constantly removing it to hold a conversation. These adhesive lace masks and decorative tattoos by LacedAndWaisted can be worn over a full face of makeup (you trollop) and will stay in place for hours. They're a little gothic, a little sexy, a little romantic. They can also be reused over and over and work great under a pair of eyeglasses.

Sexy steampunk makeup tip. Use adhesive unisex lace masks by lacedandwaisted. strapless and adheres to skin for a sexy, romantic, gothic, victorian look.
(source)
Steampunk makeup idea. Lace masks and tattoos by laced and waisted adhere to skin. Adhesive, strapless and unisex, easy lace face makeup tutorial for a Neo-Victorian Goth look
(source)

STEAMPUNK YOUR EYEBALLS

When all else fails, keep them focused on your eyes with these Steampunk contact lenses. No one will even notice your makeup (or lack of) while they're trying to check the time in your eyeball.

Steampunk contact lenses black and white roman numeral clock time watch Steampunk contact lenses black and white gear cogwheel cog

GO NAKED

If none of these options work for you, do what the majority of men and women during the Victorian era did--NOTHING! They were big fans of healthy skin, so if you've got it, flaunt it! As for me, I'll be over here painting my face like a prostitute...it's my character.

MORE INSPIRATION

When it comes to Steampunk cosplay, making up your character is half the fun! What did they do for a living? What was their social standing? Creating a background helps you think of ways to add interesting details and personality to your costume. Take inspiration from the photos and ideas here, but add unique details that fit your own Steampunk character.

Find some more inspiration in the Steampunk Makeup Gallery below:

Steampunk special fx makeup metal gear robot with rivets and real gears glued on.
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup robot arm for cyberpunk costumes and cosplays. easy to use cosmetics or body paint.
(source)
Steampunk special fx gold robot makeup with rivets and gears below skin. great cyberpunk cosplay or halloween costume for men and women.
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup. Silver robot with rivets and real metal gears below skin around eyes.
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup for men and women's costumes. Silver and gold face and body paint idea. Robot and gears beneath skin.
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup. Steampunk robot skeleton with gears beneath skin. Scary face paint idea for halloween or cosplay
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup for kids. Face paint gears beneath skin for a robot skeleton effect
(source)
scary special fx makeup for steampunk with scars and gears, blood and gore
(source)
steampunk robot bodypaint for the hand and body
(source)
how to glue gears on your face for a sexy steampunk makeup style
(source)
how to do special fx makeup that makes it look like you have gears under your skin
(source)
steampunk special fx makeup for halloween or cosplay. face paint of gears ripping through skin.
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup of a skeleton with gears. Great halloween or steampunk cosplay makeup for beginners.
(source)
Steampunk makeup guide for halloween costumes or steampunk cosplay. Body paint is used to create a lace up collar/necklace and a monocle around one eye. Gold and brown makeup and body paint.
(source)
Sexy steampunk bodypainting/ body makeup for men
(source)
Sexy steampunk bodypainting / body makeup for women
(source)
(source)
(source)
how to glue gears to your face for a steampunk makeup style
(source)
how to glue gears to your face and body for a steampunk makeup style
(source)
steampunk special fx makeup eyepatch / monocle - steampunk face painting effects sfx mua
(source)
Special fx steampunk makeup bronze robot with rivets and gear - steampunk face painting
(source)
Black and gold steampunk makeup (steampunk facepainting)
(source)
Special fx makeup for steampunk - gold and black sfx mua
(source)
steampunk skeleton makeup / steampunk face painting skeleton with gears
(source)
steampunk robot makeup - steampunk face painting
(source)
Steampunk special fx makeup with mask
(source)
Bronze steampunk makeup - steampunk skeleton sugar skull makeup
(source)
steampunk face painting, clock makeup
(source)
Steampunk robot special fx makeup
(source)
Steampunk makeup goggles with rivets and screws. special fx makeup
(source)
Steampunk prosthetic special fx makeup
(source)
How to glue on gears to your face and body for a steampunk makeup look
(source)
Steampunk makeup mask with gears and rhinestones glued on
(source)
Steampunk sketelon makeup face painting and body painting
(source)
Woman with her back painted with a steampunk skeleton and corset and gloves. Steampunk body painting
(source)
how to steampunk makeup guide DIY robot automaton glue on gears body paint
(source)
steampunk makeup how to glue gears to your face skin bloody wound gears
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY blood gore scary bloody gears through skin special fx
(source)
how to glue gears on body steampunk makeup steampunk bodypainting steampunk gore bloody wound gears
(source)
how to glue gears to your face DIY steampunk makeup halloween
(source)
how to glue gears DIY steampunk makeup face painting
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY glue gears to your face
(source)
Steampunk makeup how to DIY glue gears mens makeup ideas steampunk face paint
(source)
how to Steampunk makeup DIY how to draw clock hands and gears on your face
(source)
steampunk makeup DIY how to glue gears to your skin scary halloween makeup
(source)
how to DIY steampunk makeup clockpunk draw clock hands on your face
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY robot automaton
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY make dirty goggle marks and how to glue gears to your face
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY glue gears to your face and body robot automaton
(source)
Steampunk makeup how to DIY body and face painting
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY special fx makeup how to glue gears to skin
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY special fx prosthetics mask
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY special fx body paint face paint
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY glue gears to your face
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY how to glue gears to your face skin
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY face paint and body paint
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY face stencils and face painting
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY add clock hands to your face
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY special fx makeup and prosthetics bloody gore scary Halloween
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY robot automaton face paint and body paint anatomical heart
(source)
steampunk makeup how to DIY glue gears face paint
(source)