Recreate Sally's Makeup From The Nightmare Before Christmas

Embrace your inner doll with Sally makeup that's sure to be the hit of Halloween.

Published September 22, 2023
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Isn't it time to embrace your inner doll? After all, few animated characters are as iconic, or steal our hearts, quite like Sally from the Tim Burton classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

With her patchwork clothes, vibrant red hair, quintessential spooky stitches, and those big doll eyes, Sally is the perfect combination of spooky and sweet. As Halloween creeps ever closer, or any costume party regardless of season, create the spooky visage of Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas with this makeup tutorial.

Prepare and Prime the Face

Though Sally is known for her pale blue coloring, it is important to prepare your skin before focusing on color. Start by applying moisturizer to your entire face. Then, wait a few minutes for the product to sink in fully so you have a smooth and moisturized palette to work with.

After the moisturizer absorbs, apply a primer that targets any specific concerns you may have, such as covering large pores or combatting either a dry or oily complexion. 

Quick Tip

Content...Another option is to reach for something that moisturizes and primes in one step, like the Photo Finish Primerizer by Smashbox.

Create a Blue Base

Now that your skin is ready for makeup application, it's time to create the signature blue base of Sally's skin. Using a blue cream product, like one from the Wet n Wild Paint Palette or a blue cream makeup designed for costume looks is your best bet. This way, you don't need to worry about your make-up melting off. Although that wouldn't cause a second glance in Halloweentown, it's not a look you want to sport. 

Helpful Hack

Can't find the exact shade you want? Just mix your blue with a white cream to lighten the color.

Once you have found or crafted the perfect blue, apply it all over the face and neck, making sure to leave no spot uncovered. Both makeup sponges and brushes can work well for this step — it all depends on your personal preference. However, a sponge may reduce the likelihood of streaks and unevenness.

Give Your Eyebrows Definition and Shape

Allow your blue base a few minutes to dry, then move onto brows. Since Sally does not have pronounced eyebrows, the key here is to create contrast and shape rather than something over the top and Instagram-inspired.

Using a pencil that is slightly lighter than your brow color to add definition, trace over the natural shape of your brows to fill in any sparse areas.

Now for the fun part! Instead of layering a traditional eyebrow powder over top of the pencil, use a blue eyeshadow. Something like the deep blue shade in the NYX Avant Pop! Shadow Palette in Surreal My Heart is ideal for this stunning and foolproof Sally makeup look. Not only does it add some shape, but it will effortlessly complement that pale blue skin. Another option is to comb blue mascara over top for extra hold and a little extra blue. 

Use Blue Shadow to Contour

Thought you could skip your regular contour routine? Think again. Even Sally's makeup needs some contrast. Just because your skin is blue doesn't mean you don't need to add in some depth.

Using the same blue eyeshadow shade as you did with your brows, apply with either a flat shadow brush or a contouring brush. Tap into the color and apply it carefully. Typically, a basic contour includes: the temples, down the sides of the nose, underneath the jawline, and along the hollows of the cheeks.

You may also want to add in a bit of light highlighting, as well. Use a pale blue shade, such as the Hard Candy Top Ten Classics eyeshadow palette in Feelin' Blue (or another similar blue eyeshadow palette) on the tip of your nose, center of the forehead, and on top of the cheekbones.

Create Large Doll Eyes

There are a few products you will need to give yourself those big, fawning gorgeous Sally eyes, including:

  • A dark and light blue eyeshadow
  • Black liquid eyeliner
  • White pencil liner

Starting with the darker blue shade, apply it directly to the crease. Apply the same color along the lower lash line. Then finish off the shadows by placing that lighter blue on the center of the eyelid.

For eyeliner, take a white pencil and trace along your waterline. This technique makes the eyes appear larger and more open — which is perfect when re-creating Sally's enormous eyes that draw everyone in. Once the white pencil liner is applied, use black liquid liner on top to define the upper lash line.

Quick Tip

You can build up the intensity and shape as much as you like. Just remember, the more you put on, the creepier this look will become!

Get Sally-Inspired Lashes

To complete the eyes, the final step is to apply blue mascara to the lower lashes. Something like the Katy Kat Eye Mascara from CoverGirl in Perry Blue works wonderfully. Then, apply a standard black mascara on the upper lashes. Wait a few minutes for the products to dry. Then it's time to turn to false eyelashes for those doe eyes. Ideally, you want the lashes to be long and fluttery in order to achieve that doll-like appearance that Sally so perfectly sports.

False eyelashes will open up the eyes and add a little more glamour to the look. Put on a lash adhesive, such as a glue from Duo, wait for it to become tacky, and then carefully apply the false eyelash. You may want to use tweezers to tuck in the corners or get the falsie to lie correctly. Do this with both lashes to complete your eye transformation.

Add Stitches to the Side of Your Face

To craft those signature Sally stitches, use a black liquid liner to draw a line on the left side of your forehead. It should stop right above the eyebrow and continue again underneath.

Once you have your basic line drawn, add lines and X marks over top. Allow the eyeliner to dry completely, then use white cream makeup and a detail brush to add dimension. Apply the white carefully underneath each stitch. This extra step will highlight the stitches and make sure they are the focus of your look.

Fast Fact

If there is one thing Sally is known for, other than her love for Jack, it has to be her stitches. After all, she is a rag doll created by Dr. Finkelstein!

Give Yourself a Stitched-Up Smile

To create an unforgettable grin, add stitches to either side of the mouth. To do this, you will use the same products and tools as the other stitches you've sewn with makeup. Use a black liner to extend your smile in an upward direction. Then draw on lines and X marks in whatever order or pattern you prefer.

After the eyeliner has dried completely, it's time to add on those fabulous highlights. Take white cream makeup and a detail brush and give each stitch that extra pop. 

Quick Tip

It is important to do the stitches around the mouth before applying any lip products. This will help you avoid unwanted transferring.

Give Color to Your Lips

With so many shades of blue and black going on in this makeup look, a bright color makes for a welcome change and makes the details pop. And this is your chance to create a beautiful ombre effect.

Start by outlining your lips with black pencil eyeliner, making the line a little thicker than you normally would. Once you are happy with the shape, add a deep red lipstick (or liquid lipstick for longer staying power) to the outside of the upper and lower lip, leaving the center empty.

To finish, take a lighter or brighter shade of red and apply that to the middle. Some shade suggestions include Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Nahz Fur Atoo and Santa Sangre.

Clean Up and Fine Tune Your Makeup

Your Sally look is almost complete. Before you add on those finishing touches, it is time to do a bit of clean up work. Take a moment to check. Is the blue coloring is completely even? Are your false eyelashes secure? Are your stitches exactly how you want them to appear?

Speaking of stitches, this is also a great time to add some more of them to your neck or arm area, depending on the costume you plan to wear. Use the same technique as the face stitches to give yourself an ultra-realistic appearance of a franken-doll from head to toe.

Incorporate Bold Finishing Touches

Kick things up a notch by adding on finishing touches that will elevate your Sally-inspired look, so it appears as though you stepped right out of the movie. There are plenty of costumes and themed dresses to choose from, or you can simply grab something from your closet with a skull print or patchwork design.

Since Sally is known for her long red hair, consider wearing a wig from a party shop, or add temporary color to your hair. Something like the Clairol Color Crave in the shade Ruby works well, as does hair chalk or hair mascara.

Have Fun and Show Off Your New Look!

There are many reasons to love The Nightmare Before Christmas, but Sally is by far the most notable and magnetic! Her huge heart, matched only by the size of her eyes and fierce determination, has captured attention for decades and will for decades to come. Now that you have blue skin and stitches just like her, you're ready to wow at any Halloween party or costume event as the iconic and memorable Sally.

Recreate Sally's Makeup From The Nightmare Before Christmas