How to nail animal themed face paint for Freshers’ Week

Now you don’t have to always be a cat

Animal theme is one of the most popular dress codes that crop up during Freshers’ Week.

It’s one of the easiest nights to slay, because all you really need to do to kill it with a face paint palette, or a handful of makeup that you probably already own.

We’ve got three looks to help you wow the masses, no matter what your skill level. Whether you’re a total pro, or you’ve never so much as held a lipstick before, read on for all your animal-outfit based dreams come true.

Skill level: Total beginner

Look: Dalmation

dalmation end

This is such an easy look to nail and requires zero skill and very little kit.

The absolute essentials are white face paint, chunky black eyeliner pen and black mascara. Optional extras include red lipstick, eyelash curler, a makeup sponge (recommended).

Step one

Dampen a sponge, or if need be just your fingers, and apply the white face paint in a rough band across your face covering both eyes. Aim for quite a wide band, but the shape is very much up to you.


Step two

Wait until the face paint is completely dry and draw rough splodges within the white area. The easiest way to do this is to dot it on.


Step three

Apply mascara liberally. Ideally, curl your lashes first.

Step four

Optionally, line your eyes (this doesn’t have to be particularly neat, splotchy works great with the theme) and apply red lipstick. Pair the outfit with basic black and white clothes and a choker to really amp up the dog aesthetic.


Skill Level: Average
Look: Tiger

tiger end

If you’ve got the hang of a cat-eye liner, then this is well within your bounds.

The absolute essentials are coconut oil, orange pressed eyeshadow, a small angled brush, thin liquid liner pen and mascara. Optional extras include an eyelash curler, white face paint, your usual base (foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, colour correctors, etc.), small powder brush and a thicker black eyeliner pen.

Step one

Do your usual base to get your skin looking fabulous. Don’t do anything to your eyes or lips yet, but do everything else.


Step two 

Exfoliate your lips to make sure your starting with a smooth surface. Gently brushing with a dry toothbrush is a great way to do it with no mess.

Step three

Using a small angled brush and the orange eyeshadow, draw the outline of a jagged orange patch coming in from the top corner of your face, over your eye and partially across your nose.


Step four

Fill in this shape with the eyeshadow. Ideally, use a larger brush than you used to draw the outlines, and blur the edges of the shape slightly.


Step five

Optionally paint your lips white with facepaint and let them dry – this will give the colour a stronger and smoother finish. Mix some of the orange eyeshadow with coconut oil and paint over your lips.


Step six

Draw a small cat-eye on each eye


Step seven

Using the thin liner draw the outline of some rough stripes going along the same diagonal that the orange goes


Step eight

Fill the stripe outlines in. This will be easier with a thicker liner pen.


Step nine

Using the small angled brush and the orange eyeshadow, draw a thin orange line around your eye, hugging above the black liner, and keeping close under the eye.


Accessorise with wild hair and a basic outfit for killer tiger vibes.


Skill level: Expert

Look: Parrot

parrot end

You’re a regular at the MAC counter, have a strong opinion on how to apply foundation and probably bought a Kylie Lip Kit. You’ve got the skills to do something truly impressive and snatch the fancy dress crown straight out of the un-manicured hands of the competition.


There are no optional extra this time, it’s all essential. You’re going to need your usual base (primer, colour correctors, concealer, foundation, powder, bronzer, blush, etc.), white face paint, firm hold hair gel/putty, eyeshadow primer, bright aqua pressed eyeshadow, bright yellow pressed eyeshadow, bright orange pressed eyeshadow, bright pink lipstick (or lip liner), coconut oil (clear lipgloss would work too), white loose glitter eyeshadow powder, thin black liquid liner, small angled brushes (at least three), smoky eye brush, small powder brushes (two), No7 eye make-up remover (the best makeup remover out there- it removes EVERYTHING), electric blue metallic liquid liner, small flat brush, cotton buds and setting spray.

Step one

Do your usual, simple base. Don’t touch your eyes, lips or eyebrows, and go heavier on the blush, aiming to get it fairly bright.

Step two 

Using white face paint, and very little water with it, white out your eyebrows. Once it’s dry, go over them with hair gel to really stick them down. Once that’s dry, do another coat of white and they should be pretty much gone.


Step three

Paint your lips with white facepaint. Do two coats if needed to get a smooth and opaque finish.

Step four

Using a small angled brush and the aqua eyeshadow, draw the outline of a wing shape over each eye. The point should stop halfway down your nose on each side and extend right out to the hairline. Obviously, the entire white area of your eyebrows needs to be inside this outline.


Step five

Fill in these shapes with more eyeshadow, using a dabbing action so as not to cause shifting in the eyebrow cover up.


Step six

Paint over the white facepaint on your lips with yellow eyeshadow.


Step seven

Using the thin eyeliner, draw a very thin line all around your eyes. Make sure to also line the waterline.

Step eight

Draw a line from the corner of your eye, parallel with the blue shape, down to just short of the centre of your nose. Thicken the under-eye liner, curving to join this line.

Step nine

Still using the black liner, draw a straight horizontal line just below the liner you just drew. It should start about at the inner edge of your pupil and extend about a centimetre past your eye. Curve the ends down, very slightly at the outer side, and more at the inner side, keeping parallel with the existing lines.


Step ten

Using orange eyeshadow and a small angled brush, fill in the area between the two blue shapes. Extend an orange line halfway along the top boundaries. Draw short lines out from between your eyebrows in a rough starburst shape. Fill the gaps between the black liner and the blue shape on each side, leaving the last third of your eye bare.


Step eleven

Using a smoky eye brush and the yellow eyeshadow, draw rough dots extending along the bottom boundary of the blue part, and along in line with the black liner.


Step twelve

Using the pink lipstick and a small brush, paint a heart shape in the centre of your lips, making it long and thin on the bottom lip.


Step thirteen

Using the same pink lipstick, paint a line extending from the centre of your forehead, down your nose. Also paint lines from the corners of your eyes towards your nose (keeping parallel with existing lines), and draw lines out in the orange starburst shape to add colour and depth to it.


Step fourteen

Using the blue liquid liner, draw small, short flicks in the blue areas to give texture and sparkle. Extend some of these slightly outside of the boundaries.


Step fifteen

Using a small powder brush and the loose glitter shadow, pat a roughly 1” thick line of subtle sparkle along underneath the eye design, bringing it to a point on the tip of your nose.

Step sixteen

Very carefully, dab clear lipgloss or coconut oil over your lips for shine and moisture.

Step seventeen

Setting spray. Don’t let all that work melt away.


Accessorise big for major carnival vibes, or keep it simple to draw focus to the face. We used neons, because they’re fun, but you could use richer colours for a warmer, more regal vibe.

Whichever look you’ve gone for, Instagram the hell out of it!