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Alt Makeup Tips So Good, They’ll Turn You Into MGK and Megan Fox (Almost!)

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In case you haven’t heard, Hot Topic-chic is back; just ask Megan Fox and Machine Gun kelly. One of the biggest ways this celeb power couple attracts attention is for their commitment to their looks, honey. We’re talking stand-out ‘fits, bright and animated nails, and of course, some sort of alt makeup look on their faces.

Similarly to e-girl and goth makeup, alt makeup is all about celebrating individuality. Using beauty products to subvert traditional beauty norms? Count us in. Keep reading to find out exactly what alt makeup is, get celeb inspiration, and get a step-by-step tutorial to create your next look with the help of celebrity makeup artist Erin Parsons.

About the Expert:

Erin Parsons is a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist.

What Is Alt Makeup, Exactly?

According to Parsons, alternative makeup feels “emo, goth, dark—even if it has bright vibes.” Alt makeup is all about embracing opposites, and perhaps even accentuating features you’ve been taught to camouflage. For instance, “You can embrace your undereye circles—or even add them!” suggests Parsons. (Believe it or not, the trend is rapidly taking over TikTok, according to the New York Times.) “Red, ochre, and black hues work really well for this statement glam.” In the end, it’s all about expressing yourself with your look. “Get creative with interesting shapes on the eyes, or keep it grunge and just smoke out some deep shadows,” says the makeup artist.

Need Some Alt Makeup Inspo? We Got You!

1. Allover Blush

Rihanna rocking an allover blush makeup look and floral and butterfly dress
Photo by Dia Dipasupil / Staff/Getty Images

Rihanna is constantly pushing the envelope with her beauty looks, and this blush-forward style is no exception. For this look, choose a single shade you can use both on your eyes and cheeks, like the SHISEIDO Aura Dew highlighter in Cosmic Rose Gold, that’s safe to use on eyes, cheeks, and lips. Rather than utilizing blush as an accent on the cheekbones, extend the color up to the temples and into her eye makeup for one continuous (and very alternative) look. And bonus points for that matching lip color!

2. Gaga-Inspired Goth

Lady Gaga rocking a goth, graphic eyeliner makeup look
Photo by Jamie McCarthy / Staff/Getty Images

Don’t be intimidated by this look, we got you! Grab the ABOUT FACE Shadowstick in matte white and kill the lights. First smudge the white shadowstick all over the lid and blend it out with a brush. Then grab the black stick and draw a line around your entire eye. Connect the top lashline black line with a half moon that extends up towards your eyebrows. Finish off the look with black lipstick for ultimate drama.

3. The New Harlequin

Halsey rocking a red eyeshadow and fluttery eyelashes makeup look
Photo by Kate Green / Stringer/Getty Images

Harlequin-inspired makeup isn’t just for Halloween. Halsey’s toned-down version features red eyeshadow, and individual false lashes for a retro, costume-like effect that can be worn any day of the year. You can do this look with or without the falsies. Grab an angled flat eyeliner brush (we love URBAN DECAY’S angled eyeliner brush) and wet it slightly before dipping into a matte powder red eyeshadow, like COLOURPOP’S Super Shock Shadow in Cuteologist. Then tip the brush into the shadow and draw a thick red line underneath your eyebrows, and add the same line to the outer corner of your eye.

4. Sparkles Gone Alt

Lucy Boynton rocking a sparkly eye makeup look and lace ensemble
Photo by Neilson Barnard / Staff/Getty Images

Don’t think a little shimmer can be alternative? As Lucy Boynton proves, adding sparkly sunbursts to your eyes is about as unexpected as it gets (and her fun pastel hairstyle doesn't hurt either). For an easy DIY, use a small eyeliner brush to paint on eye glitter such as WE ARE FLUIDE Glitter in Silver to create a similar eye look.

5. Vampy Vibes

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A post shared by Megan Fox (@meganfox)

Of course I had to honor the Hot Topic queen herself, Megan Fox. This ultra-vampy alt goth look is the ultimate way to incorporate a little glam into the alt makeup trend. Luckily for all you goth girls out there, this look is easy to achieve at home. Grab an eyeshadow palette, like URBAN DECAY’S Naked Cyber Palette. Dust the frosty silver color (called Not A Bot) all over the tops of your eyes. Next, dip a fluffy shadow brush into the color Byte, and sweep it gently underneath the eyes. Amp up eyes with mascara, such as CHARLOTTE TILBURY’S Legendary Lashes mascara, and then, you can move on to the lip color. M·A·C’s matte lipstick in the shade “Sin” (aptly named), is perfect for this look. Apply it all over the lips, and then dip your ring finger in a shimmery highlighter and dab it onto the center of your bottom lip.

6. Batgirl Eyeliner

Don’t be afraid of a little wing. If you already know how to draw a cat-eye, this look will be a breeze, and if not, follow along; we got you! Start by putting a burnt orange color all over your lids. We love NARS’ single shadow in paprika. Grab your inkiest black eyeliner and draw a line over the entirety of your top lashline. Extend the line from your eye, out towards your ear to create a cateye line. Then from the top inner corner of your eye, extend the line out to draw a reverse cat-eye. Finally, return to the outer corner of your eye and draw another flick just under your main cateye line. Voila, you just became an it-girl.

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About the author
Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated January 16, 2022 12:00 AM