Gothic Eye Makeup Tips

Gothic eye makeup seems like it would be hard to do. All that dark paint and powder must be painstakingly applied. One slip of the brush, one spill, and one's entire face is ruined! Yuck! Why bother?

This assumes that you're going for a high-maintenance, Siouxsie Sioux/Morticia Addams-style look. And that's fine, if you want to do that. But it's not necessary to spend three hours at the makeup table to look great.

Whatever look you're aiming for, following these tips will ease your anxiety and make you look better than you otherwise would.

  1. Practice, practice, practice. If you want to go to a party dressed as a gothic lolita, don't wait until the night of the party to try out your eye makeup. If it turns out that you look better with, say, no eyeliner, you'll figure that out long before you're in a rush to get ready.
  2. You don't have to wear black. If you're not a winter, in fact, you probably shouldn't. Silvers, purples, greens, roses, reds and grays are all acceptably gothic shades. If you're a summer or spring, you can even experiment with blues and pinks.
  3. When at a loss: be subtle. Subtle eye makeup and fearless self-confidence is more attractive than overdone eye makeup and shyness (or compensatory arrogance).
  4. Have your eye makeup match your look. Gothic eye makeup looks best when it has the same drama level as the outfit. A simple cat-eye might work wonders with a slinky black dress or vinyl catsuit, while python-green eyeshadow might be more appropriate when paired with a python-green dress.
  5. Use primer. Eye makeup primer keeps your eye makeup in place, even if you sweat, cry, accidentally brush up against something, and so on. I especially recommend this is you use liquid eyeliner, or loose powder eyeshadow. Since dark makeup looks quite bad when it runs, primer is important.
  6. Emphasize either your lips or your eyes––not both. If you're going for black lipstick, don't combine it with Morticia Addams style smokey eyes. You'll end up looking like a clown, since the makeup will drown out your face.
  7. Tailor your eye makeup to fit the shape of your eyes. If your eyes are deep set, eyeliner is probably not a good idea for you; nor is overblow, Liz-Taylor-style theatrical makeup. If your eyes are close set, apply makeup at the edges of your lids to make them look wider.

  8. Photo by Amy Clarke.

  9. Don't neglect your brows. Filling in your brows, or drawing higher arches on them than is natural, will add some drama to a look, at no risk of creating a mess in your bathroom or on your face
  10. Seek inspiration. See our article on gothic makeup ideas for more information.
  11. Read. Gothic eye makeup doesn't make you any more interesting, or intelligent, or creative than you actually are. If the eyes are the window to the soul, make sure your soul is looking out at something interesting. (Yes, it's a corny and overstretched metaphor, but think about it!) Reading not only stretches your imagination and helps you process information, it gives you something interesting to talk about. And what if you meet the prettiest boy tomorrow? You'll need something to talk about!

Related Reading:

Black Lipstick

Wednesday Addams

Gothic Makeup Ideas

Gothic Fashion Influences

All Goth Articles on Enjoy Your Style


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