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Why You Should Give the Goth Makeup Look a Try This Season

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Photo by Jason Merritt/TERM / Staff/Getty Images

Grab your black eyeliner—goth makeup is here to stay. Every few years, the makeup look comes back around. You don’t have to be an emo teen to rock the trend, though it’s pretty fun if you start that way. Goth makeup is more of a vibe that you can take pieces from to create your own beauty look. Don’t love liquid eyeliner? That’s okay! A black eyeliner pencil is easier to control in terms of intensity. Prefer a nude lip to black lipstick? That’s cool, too.

“Goth makeup can be created in different variations on any face with blown out eyeshadow looks that are fierce, deep, and smoky,” says makeup artist Marcia Williams. “Dark pronounced brows set the tone for that goth look every time. Plus, a deeply rich lipstick is the epitome of the goth look.” Williams believes the trend is coming back around on TikTok because of its eye-catching energy that makes you want to watch again and again.

Of course, goth has a rich history that goes beyond folks on TikTok. The subculture was said to begin in the United Kingdom during the early 1980s. It comes from the word “gothic” as in gothic rock and gothic fashion. In the present, there’s some misunderstanding around those who participate in the subculture. Some can be judgmental towards those who wear black makeup and nail polish or who listen to certain goth music.

Whether you’re a part of this subculture or you just like grunge and want to give it a try, there are a few products you need to have in your beauty kit. When it comes to eye makeup, you’ll want to grab black eyeliner (or liquid eyeliner), black mascara, and a neutral eyeshadow palette for a smoky eye that includes black eyeshadow. For a little extra glam, choose one with both matte and shimmer shades.

Apply your complexion products as you’d like, though the typical goth makeup includes concealer and foundation lighter than your natural skin tone. Next, pick up dark lipstick either a liquid lipstick, matte lipstick or just a black lipstick. Feel free to pick up some pastel makeup for a pop of color and lip gloss to tone down a too-intense vibe. Don’t forget some high-quality makeup brushes and you’re ready to be your own makeup artist. Now, you’re ready for an easy makeup tutorial for goth makeup.


About the Expert:

Marcia Williams has been a beauty expert and celebrity makeup artist for 25 years.

Here’s How to Get the Look:

1. Bring on the Brows.

After prepping your skin with primer for a long-lasting hold, Williams recommends starting with your brows. Goth brows are on the heavier side so fill in yours with an eyebrow pencil such as ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Perfect Brow Pencil and set them with the brand’s Clear Brow Gel.

2. Grab Your Shadows.

Next comes your eyes. Use a black or dark grey eyeshadow such as M.A.C. Eye Shadow in Carbon and line your upper eyelids. Blend it out lightly with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. “If you have smaller eyes, you can use a lighter color like silver on the lid and use the black slightly above the lid blending into the lighter color to create dimension,” says Williams.

3. Line Those Eyes.

Line your eyes with black liquid eyeliner such as MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua XL Ink Liner Extra Long Lasting Waterproof Liquid Liner. As you draw the line, create a more dramatic line extending the outer corner. “Then, take a cream liner pencil for more drama and draw a more intense line on your waterline,” says Williams. “This will really create the goth mood.”

4. Load Up on Mascara.

Apply at least three coats of black mascara, such as MARC JACOBS BEAUTY Velvet Noir Mascara.

5. Focus on Complexion.

Grab your favorite foundation, such as NUDESTIX Tinted Cover Foundation. “With a foundation brush take a small pea size amount of foundation and blend outward into the skin,” says Williams.

6. Conceal Where Needed.

“Concealer is next and I recommend applying with a concealer brush,” continues Williams. “Take a small amount slightly below the lash line and blend into the skin. Use setting powder with a sponge to create a more dramatic effect.” We love NUDESTIX Nudefix Concealer.

7. Finish With a Black Lip.

Skip blush and bronzer for a less dimensional complexion that feels goth. Finish with dark lipstick, such as ABOUT-FACE Paint-It Matte Lip Color in Night Sight (a matte black).

Goth Makeup Inspo

Want to try out goth makeup? We’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling for all the goth makeup inspiration you’ll need:

1. Glam Goth

Kristen Stewart rocking short hair and a glam goth makeup look
Photo by Kristy Sparow / Stringer/Getty Images

Kristen Stewart continually nails the glam goth look. Get her look by really focusing on the eyes. Keep the rest of the makeup neutral. Use black and grey eyeshadow to create a smoky eye and line your eyes with a black eyeliner pencil. Finish with loads of mascara and a little lip gloss.

2. Graphic Lines

Barbie Ferreira rocking a graphic eyeliner look paired with glossy lips
Photo by Robin Marchant / Stringer/Getty Images

Instead of the typical smoky eye, model and actress Barbie Ferreira focused on graphic eyeliner with bold brows. Use a liquid liner to focus the black line on the outer corners of the eye. Then, take mascara or faux-lashes and focus on the outer corners, as well. Finish with clear lip gloss.

3. Lips and Liner

Tahliah Barnett looking fierce in a dark makeup look
Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie / Stringer/Getty Images

FKA Twigs went more low-key with her black eyeliner. To get the look, line your eyes with black eyeshadow focusing on the outer corners. Do the same to your lashes with black mascara. Then, apply your favorite dark brown or black lipstick.

4. Hazy Eyes

Margot Robbie rocking a dark and bold eyeshadow makeup look
Photo by Jamie McCarthy / Staff/Getty Images

Margot Robbie might not seem like a gothic-type actress but she does borrow from the subculture with these dark eyeliner looks. To get the vibe, simply line your eyes with black pencil eyeliner or black eyeliner and smoke it all out. Finish with tinted lip balm to keep all eyes up above.

5. Smudged Smoky

Zoe Kravitz rocking long braided hair and a smoky eye makeup look
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain / Staff/Getty Images

No one rocks a smoky eye like Zoe Kravitz. To get her look, smoke out black eyeshadow into a wing. Then, take white or silver highlighter and dab it into the middle of your lids for a multi-dimensional look. Take the same color and put a little into the inner corners to make your eyes sparkle. Leave the rest of the makeup simple.

6. Grunge Vibes

Taylor Momsen rocking wavy hair and a goth eye makeup look paired with nude lips
Photo by Bryan Steffy / Stringer/Getty Images

Let Taylor Momsen show you what goth makeup really looks like. Take matte black eyeshadow all the way into and above the crease and smoke out the bottom lashline. Apply mascara and nude lipstick.

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About the author
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Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated April 15, 2021 12:00 AM