How to do Gothic Makeup Step by Step Guide

What Is Goth Makeup?

Goth makeup reached its peak in the ‘90s, fueled by rock and alternative music, inspiring individuals to experiment with heavy eyeliner, dark smoky eyes, and oxblood lip colors. However, for those who identify as goth, this aesthetic goes beyond a passing trend.

Goth makeup allows individuals to express themselves creatively with dark cosmetics, using pale foundation, black eyeshadow, and dark lipstick to evoke fictional creatures such as vampires and witches that lurk in the shadows. It’s an edgy choice that encourages people to embrace their creative side for a bold and unique look. In modern times, goth makeup has evolved towards simplicity, with micro versions that focus on basics like black eyeliner and dark lipstick for an everyday goth aesthetic. Ultimately, the level of drama or simplicity in goth makeup is a personal choice, and any look can be worn confidently with the right attitude.

Gothic culture is characterized by extreme appearances, encompassing colors, accessories, hair, and clothing. Makeup plays a crucial role in completing the gothic look.

Gothic makeup serves as a physical expression of one’s true nature and personality within the goth subculture. It can range from harsh and dark to beautifully intricate. While traditional gothic makeup tends to be heavy, there is also a softer version known as “soft Goth,” which offers a gentler interpretation of gothic aesthetics. Different Goths express their individual styles through the colors and techniques used in their makeup.

For those who are not part of the goth subculture but wish to explore gothic makeup for a distinct look, it can be initially challenging to navigate. However, with experimentation and creativity, anyone can embrace elements of gothic makeup to express their unique style.

How to do Gothic Makeup
Gothic Makeup

How to Get a Goth Makeup Look

Ready to swap your bright strawberry makeup and burnt orange blush for something darker? Below, learn how to create a classic gothic makeup look, step by step.

Step 1: Create a Matte Face Base

To ensure your goth makeup look lasts, always start with a mattifying makeup primer. A matte makeup base is favored for achieving the “seemingly” lifeless look. Reach for a primer like L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter to eliminate any shine or oil from your face and resurface skin tone over time with the infused exfoliant, salicylic acid.

Continue your look by creating a blemish-free complexion with a lightweight foundation that creates a smooth, fresh base without caking on the skin or clogging pores. Reach for L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation to cover your entire face in a color that perfectly matches your complexion—or a shade lighter if you prefer a paler skin tone.

You can choose from 47 true-to-skin foundation shades that take into consideration your undertone for the best match. If you decide to wear a lighter foundation shade, make sure it also matches your undertone to avoid looking too washed out or light orange.

Step 2: Build Definition With Bronzer and Highlight

Instead of a sunken look, classic goth makeup features a ghostly icy glow. Apply L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks, temples, and jawline to add definition. Make sure you blend your bronzer softly into your foundation to create a naturally chiseled look.

Top off your slight contouring with a little highlight to slightly illuminate your goth look. Even though you’ll want to keep your foundation and bronzer matte, you can add a touch of glow in key parts of the face for balanced definition. Apply a thin line of L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer to the length of your pointer finger and lightly pat the liquid highlighter on your cheekbones, the bridge and tip of your nose, and your cupid’s bow (the small area above your lips).

Step 3: Create a Smoky Eye

A bold, dark smoky eye is what brings any goth makeup to life. This look uses a wintry mix of black, gray, and silver hues for a softer goth eyeshadow. Take your time layering your shadows and slowly build and blend them on your eyelids until you have the desired intensity. Use a palette that has all the colors you need for a smoky eye, like L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Pocket Palette Eye Shadow in Silver Couture. This palette features one matte (dark gray) and three shimmery (silver, medium gray, and black) eyeshadow shades.

Start by applying the dark matte gray shadow on your lid to act as the base of the look. After you’ve coated your lid, use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to slightly blend the color into your crease, getting rid of any harsh lines. Then, use a flat eyeshadow brush to pack the medium gray shimmer shade on your eyelids, gradually building up the color slightly beneath the dark gray shade.

Once you’ve reached your desired level of darkness, go back in with your blending brush to buff the color into your crease and smoke out the look. Finish your eyeshadow by picking up a small amount of metallic silver shade and dabbing a small amount onto the inner corner of your eyes, brow bone, and lower lash line.

Step 4: Finish Your Eye Makeup

No goth eye makeup is complete without dramatic black eyeliner. Grab a felt-tip eyeliner like L’Oréal Paris Grip Precision Felt Waterproof Eyeliner and draw your sharpest wing along your upper lash line. Next, use the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner in Intense Black to draw a line across your lower lash line and gently (but quickly) smudge the liner along the line with the eyeliner’s included sponge for added drama.

Tie your eye makeup together with a volumizing mascara for bold lashes. Swipe a few coats of L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Instant Lift Washable Mascara onto your eyelashes for wicked weightless volume and wispy lengthened lashes.

Step 5: Define Your Brows

This edgy eye makeup look calls for a clean-cut eyebrow shape. Comb your brows into the desired shape and direction with L’Oréal Paris Volumizing 24H Wear Brow Mascara. This brow mascara thickens and volumizes brows for a bold, natural look with smudge-resistant and transfer-proof wear.

Lightly outline your brows and fill in sparse parts with a brow pencil using feather-like strokes to avoid making brows darker (and blockier) than intended. Try L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer Waterproof Eyebrow Mechanical Pencil, which includes a built-in spoolie to comb any straggling hairs back into place, and a pointed pencil tip for precise application.

Step 6: Add a Dark Lipstick

Finish your goth glam look with a dark lip color of your choice, and consider lining lips with L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner first to perfectly outline your pout before filling them in with color. Stick with the basic black aesthetic or try a coat of L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Plum Dominant, to add a dark purple hue to your pout. This matte lipstick has a lightweight feel that doesn’t dry out lips and lasts up to 16 hours, without the need for touch-ups.

Have fun with your dark lipstick and try a vampy red (Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Rouge Avant Garde), deep brown (L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Spice), or even burnt orange (Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Maison Marais) instead of the traditional black lipstick to bring variety to your look.

Goth Makeup For Beginners
Goth Makeup For Beginners

A Simple Tutorial For Beginners Guide to Choosing & Applying Goth Makeup

Part 1: Choosing Goth Makeup

Step 1: Choose A Foundation 1-2 Shades Lighter Than Your Natural Skin Tone.

Avoid pure white bases as they can look cakey. Opt for a full-coverage liquid or cream foundation slightly paler than your complexion for a flawless finish. For a traditional goth look, select the lightest foundation shade available. For a modern twist, use a lighter coverage foundation matching your skin tone.

Step 2: Opt For Black Or Dark Brown Eyeshadow For A Classic Goth Look.

While dark, smokey eyes are common, experiment with jewel-toned colors like plum, emerald, or ruby for other gothic styles. Press shadows over eyeliner to intensify, or blend for soft depth. For a cyber goth look, try bright neon shades like yellow, green, or orange.

Step 3: Start With A Black Eyeliner Pencil If You’re New To Eyeliner.

Use a smokey Kajal eyeliner to line the top and bottom of your lids, then smudge with a Q-tip for a beginner-friendly approach. Look for long-lasting, non-smudging formulas. Alternatively, use an angled eyeshadow brush and black eyeshadow for lining.

Step 4: Use Black Liquid Eyeliner If You’re Skilled At Application.

It offers high pigmentation ideal for goth eye makeup. Line eyes as desired or get creative with shapes like cobwebs or bat wings. Opt for a waterproof formula for longevity. Draw with an eyeliner pencil first to prevent mistakes.

Step 5: Apply Black Mascara To Enhance Your Eyes.

Choose a lengthening or volumizing formula based on your natural lashes. For a cyber or pastel goth look, experiment with blue or red mascara layered on top of black mascara for a unique effect.

Step 6: Complete Your Goth Look With Black Or Dark Red Lipstick.

While black complements any goth style, consider coordinating with your eyeshadow. Determine your skin undertone for the best lipstick shade. Opt for a long-wearing liquid formula to avoid transfer.

These optimized instructions maintain clarity while streamlining the information for easier understanding.

Part 2 Creating The Look

Step 1: Exfoliate And Moisturize Your Face To Prepare Your Skin For Makeup.

The goth look features pale, poreless skin, so start with a clean face to ensure your makeup applies evenly. Begin by washing your face with your normal cleanser, then use a gentle scrub or exfoliating pad to smooth out the surface of your skin. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer to prevent dry patches from forming throughout the day. If you have oily skin, opt for an oil-free moisturizer to prevent clogging your pores. For those fully embracing the goth lifestyle, consider using a moisturizer that contains SPF to maintain a pale complexion.

Step 2: Prime Your Face To Ensure Your Makeup Lasts All Day.

Most primers contain blurring pigments to minimize the appearance of pores, lines, and blemishes, aiding in achieving a perfectly pale complexion. Apply a thin, even layer of primer all over your face, then allow it to become tacky before applying your foundation. For a traditional goth look, opt for a matte primer to create an airbrushed appearance. If you’re aiming for a modern gothic look, consider using a hydrating primer to impart a dewy, glowy effect to your skin.

Step 3: Use A Makeup Sponge To Apply Your Foundation Evenly.

Since goth makeup aims for porcelain-looking skin, using a sponge ensures a flawless finish. Dab the sponge with foundation, then pat it all over your face, focusing on the center before moving outwards. Pay extra attention to areas prone to redness, such as around the nose, between the eyebrows, and on the chin. Alternatively, you can apply foundation with your fingers or a foundation brush. However, make sure to examine your face under different lighting conditions to avoid streaks. Aim for one even layer of foundation to prevent a cakey appearance. If you have any pimples or blemishes, apply concealer directly to those spots and blend outward.

Step 4: Set Your Foundation With Powder For A Soft Matte Finish.

To ensure your foundation stays in place, use a powder puff or brush to dust a translucent face powder evenly over your face. Be sure to apply the powder uniformly to maintain a naturally pale complexion, rather than a costume-like appearance.

Step 5: Dust Highlighter On The High Points Of Your Face To Achieve The Glam Goth Look.

For a radiant complexion, use a fan brush to apply highlighter to your cheekbones, brow bone, cupid’s bow, and the bridge of your nose. Layer on more product for a dramatic effect, or apply a light dusting for a soft, subtle glow. Complete your complexion by applying a neutral blush to the apples of your cheeks, giving your skin a rosy glow that complements the rest of your makeup.

Step 6: Blend Black Eyeshadow Over Your Lid To Create A Smokey Eye Effect.

To make the dark shadow stand out, begin by applying a light cream shadow all over your lid. Once you’ve blended out that base color, apply a dark eyeshadow on top (black, dark brown, or gray), then blend the color into your crease with a clean fluffy brush. Continue blending and layering the shadow until you achieve your desired intensity. For the trad goth look, pack white eyeshadow all over your lid, then apply black shadow directly to your crease.
To achieve the romantic goth look, apply a crimson red shadow on the inner third of your lid and layer a rich burgundy shade on top. Blend both shades all over your eye, then add black eyeshadow to the outer corner of your eye.
For the glam goth look, pat cosmetic-grade glitter over your lid for a shimmery effect, or add metallic eyeshadow to your inner corner to make your eyes pop. To create the cyber goth look, start with a bright neon base all over your lid, then blend black eyeshadow into your crease. Alternatively, create a traditional smokey eye, then buff red eyeshadow under your eye to create a sleep-deprived appearance.

Step 7: Line Your Eyes With Black Eyeliner.

For a casual goth look, simply line the top and bottom of your lash line or do winged eyeliner. Begin by applying liquid liner in the middle of your eyelid and gradually thicken the line as you move outwards. Extend the line past your lid and create a small “wing” at the outer corner of your eye. Then, go back and fill in any gaps to achieve a cat-like eye.
If you have hooded eyes, focus on keeping your eyeliner on the outer half of your eyelid to create a vampy effect without making your eyes look smaller. For the trad goth look, extend your “wing” all the way to your temple, then create a wing in the inner corner of your eye by following the direction of your upper lash line and dragging the liner towards the edge of your nose.
To achieve the glam goth look, consider drawing leopard-like spots with liquid liner or applying crystals on top of your liner once it’s set. If you’re aiming for the cyber goth look, experiment with drawing bright stripes of yellow, orange, or green liquid liner around the edges of your black eyeliner.

Step 8: Apply 2-3 Coats Of Mascara To Make Your Eyes Pop.

To accentuate your gothic eye makeup, start by curling your lashes and applying a thin layer of mascara. Allow the first coat to dry, then apply additional coats to further darken and define your lashes. Repeat this process until you achieve your desired lash look. For the gothic lolita or pastel goth aesthetic, consider applying false eyelashes to enhance the doll-like appearance of your eyes. If you wish to fill in your eyebrows, use a brow pencil slightly darker than your natural color to create a subtle arch.

Step 9: Use A Lip Brush To Apply Black Or Dark Red Lipstick.

For a traditional goth look, start by following your natural lip line and applying an even layer of dark lipstick. Utilize the edges of the brush to reach challenging spots like the corners of your mouth, then fill in the rest of your lips. If any mistakes occur, dip a Q-tip in makeup remover and gently run it along the edges of your lips to clean up the area.

For a retro or pin-up goth appearance, consider outlining sharp edges around your cupid’s bow to define this area. Alternatively, use the lip brush to create a heart shape in the center of your lip.

To achieve a romantic goth aesthetic, begin by lining your lips with a dark red or black lip liner. Then, fill in the remaining lip area with a brighter red lipstick. Use the lip brush to blend the shades seamlessly, creating an ombre effect.

For a glam goth look, opt for a nude lipstick to accentuate your eye makeup.

Step 10: Use A Setting Spray To Seal Your Goth Makeup Look.

Spritz an even layer of setting spray over your entire face to prevent your makeup from fading or smudging.

If you live in a hot or humid climate, consider opting for an alcohol-based setting spray to enhance the longevity of your makeup. Conversely, if you have dry skin, choose an alcohol-free spray formulated to increase your skin’s hydration.

Applying Gothic Makeup – Tips & Tricks

Gothic makeup needs no formal introduction; it can transform anyone into a romantic creature of the night. This makeup often incorporates stormy colors such as deep plum, intense navy, cloudy silver, and charcoal gray, which are applied to the eyelids and lips. The modern-day Gothic makeup is subtle, avoiding the heavy appearance of traditional styles seen in fashion magazines. The foundation used should be lighter than the wearer’s natural skin tone, blending seamlessly down the chest and neck.

For Gothic eye makeup, opt for the blackest and fiercely smoky look, achievable with effective liquid eyeliner. When choosing lipstick, go for a berry or deep red shade with a matte finish. To enhance the eerie factor of your Gothic look, consider using purple or light blue contact lenses.

Gothic Makeup Conclusion

Gothic makeup, with its dark and dramatic aesthetic, offers a powerful means of self-expression and creativity, drawing inspiration from music, culture, and literature. While traditionally associated with heavy eyeliner, dark shadows, and bold lips, modern gothic makeup embraces versatility, allowing individuals to explore softer, more wearable interpretations. Whether opting for classic smoky eyes or experimenting with avant-garde looks, gothic makeup encourages individuals to embrace their unique style and express their inner darkness with confidence and flair.

FAQ about Goth Makeup

Why Do People Do Goth Makeup?

Gothic makeup transcends mere style; it serves as a reflection of humanity’s ongoing quest to push the boundaries of self-expression and beauty. By delving into the darker and more mysterious aspects of existence, it invites us to explore the depths of our individuality.

Who Started Goth Makeup?

Its roots can be traced back to the punk movement of the 1970s, where dark and unconventional styles were embraced as a rebellion against the mainstream. As the punk subculture evolved, elements of gothic fashion and makeup emerged, eventually becoming distinctive features of the goth aesthetic.

Why Are Goths Called Goths?

The term ‘Goth’ originated from the Romans, who used it to refer to people outside the Latin and Greek cultures, essentially meaning those not originating from the Roman Empire. The Goths, originating from regions like Scythia (modern-day Romania and southern Russia), were among the early groups labeled as such. Interestingly, ‘Goth’ may have originally meant ‘old barbarians,’ reflecting the early perception of these groups. The Goths were notable for being among the first barbarian tribes to develop a literate culture.

Is Goth Still A Thing?

Today, goth culture remains visible, with individuals from the 1980s and 1990s who embraced it in their youth continuing to uphold its traditions. Additionally, younger generations are also drawn to the revolutionary spirit and captivating music and fashion associated with goth.

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