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How to Get a Goth Makeup Look

It’s not a phase, but a lifestyle.
October 25, 2023

A dramatic makeup look always makes a statement and there’s no look more bold and daring than dark goth makeup. Many makeup trends on social media (for example, siren eyes and grunge makeup) have taken inspiration from classic goth makeup, proving anyone can rock a black-centric look. Goth makeup is anything but traditional, but it has been a staple look for many generations with pale faces, dark liner and fun interpretations evolving through different times. 


Fast forward to today and goth makeup has evolved, the old vampy visage has had a modern-day revamp, now including everything from pastel goth makeup to alternative (alt) looks. This look combines gothic dark shadows with a hint of shimmer to create a drop-dead gorgeous face that’s edgy but elegant. Here, embrace the darker side of the eyeshadow palette and learn how to get a glamorous goth makeup look in six easy steps. 


What Is Goth Makeup?

Goth makeup peaked in the ‘90s, with rock and alternative music inspiring people and to try heavy eyeliner, dark smoky eyes and oxblood lip color. But the look is more than a fleeting beauty moment for those who consider themselves goth. 


It allows all people to get creative with dark makeup, to paint their faces with pale foundation, black eyeshadow and dark lipstick to mimic fictional creatures (think vampires and witches) that go bump in the night. Goth makeup is an edgy makeup choice that allows people to embrace the creative parts of themselves for a bold look that is unique for each individual. Today, goth makeup has developed to simplicity with micro versions that stick to basics (black eyeliner, dark lipstick and some variety) for an everyday goth look. Ultimately, how dramatic or simple you create your goth makeup is up to you, and any look can be an everyday look with the right attitude.


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, since a matte makeup base is popular for mimicking 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 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 that 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 eye shadow 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 to 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 in 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.


Next: 7 Products You Need to Create TikTok’s Latte Makeup Look

Photo Credit: James Austin IG/@jcltas, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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