How To SFX: Creating Gooey Burned Skin

Hey guys!

One of my most popular looks from last year’s 100 Days of Makeup Challenge was my Cordelia Foxx makeup look for my American Horror Story Week. I wanted to share how I achieved the look because it was pretty easy and pretty effective. I’m preparing for my next attempt at the 100 Days of Makeup Challenge so I thought it was a good time to revisit some of my past looks and explain how I achieved them. I do want to say I’m no makeup artist, I’m not a professional. I just like playing with makeup. With that said, I hope that you enjoy the post!



1. Creating a base

The first thing that you’ll want to do is create an even base. I like to do that by just doing my regular foundation steps. Prime, apply foundation, apply concealer, set with powder. You want to remove any imperfections that might disrupt the look you’re trying to achieve. I know for this look more than half of my face could have gone base free but I think it would have made the look disjointed and more like I applied my makeup weirdly than have it look like damaged skin.

2. Outlining the burned area

For Cordelia’s look, I didn’t want to apply the acid burn to the whole face because in the show, the burn only really affects her eyes, so I focused my affected area on the cheeks, forehead and eye area. I lightly outlined the area with a white eye pencil so that I didn’t stray too far out of the area. If you want the look to be on the whole face or limbs, make sure you know how far you want to take the look.

3. Adding redness

Here’s where the fun begins. I grabbed all of my red and burgundy shadows from my collection and placed them all over my bench. I think it is best to start by applying the darkest dots of shadow to the areas that you want to be most distressed. You don’t want to do this everywhere, in my look, I only had about 5 major damage spots. The reason you want to start with the dark shades is we need to blend it with lighter shades later but we also really need to keep some skin colour present so that you can see the depth in the skin and create a boiled skin look. Don’t apply too much of the dark, you just want to take it slow and slowly build up that colour. Once you’re happy with the opacity, move to your lighter red shades and lightly apply them over and around the deeper shades. You want the skin to be most irritated at the sight of the injury and slowly fade out to the unaffected parts. If you’ve had a sore pimple, you’ll know that it is most red right around the pimple and then it slowly fades back to your skin tone, that’s what we want to achieve. With the lighter shades, we also want to add more minor damaged spots. When your skin gets burned, it usually isn’t all the same all over the skin, it’ll be damaged to different degrees, so you’ll want to try to mimic that.

Something that I did for my look was create shadow at the edges of the design to make the affected skin pop on my face and look raised because scarred skin is usually raised. It sort of depends on what you’re trying to achieve with the look but if it is a smaller section on the face or on a body part, you might want to think about making it look three dimensional in more ways than just the spots of distressed skin.

4. Adding gloss

To add a ‘freshness’ to your burn, you can add a clear gloss over the top of the design so that it looks goopy and more realistic. It’s kinda like applying a top coat to a nail polish, the polish looks pretty good on it’s own but when you add that glossy top coat the look really comes to life. The more glossy, the more fresh that the skin damage will look, so keep that in mind.


  • I would recommend not using bright red shades, if possible. Your skin tends to go a more burgundy colour because blood is more of a wine red shade, rather than a firetruck red shade.
  • If you can avoid it, don’t highlight the skin to add height. When white is applied along side the reds/burgundy shades, you won’t get a nice fade, you’ll just get pink, and it looks really unnatural. Let the dark reds add the depth and let your natural skin colour be a sort of highlight on it’s own.
  • Utilise reference pictures. If you have a specific look in mind, make sure you check out images to make your look as realistic as possible. The more real that it looks, the better the end result.


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Au revoir xxx

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