It's Not a Phase, Mom: The Coolest Goth Makeup Looks on Instagram

August 04, 2023
Ariel Wodarcyk
By: Ariel Wodarcyk | by L'Oréal
Picture of a person with goth makeup and piercings looking at the camera

Whether you’re a diehard fan of bands like Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees or just have a strong penchant for black eyeliner, there’s no denying that goth makeup looks incredibly cool. It’s a great way to experiment with graphic eyeliner shapes, paint on deep, vampy lips and smoke out your eyes. Keep reading for our favorite goth makeup looks on Instagram, from bleached-out brows to spiked liquid eyeliner. 

How to Apply Goth Makeup: Tutorial

The most important thing to remember when it comes to goth makeup (and makeup in general, if we’re being honest) is that there are no hard and fast rules. Makeup, and goth makeup in particular, is a form of self-expression that can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, which is part of what makes the aesthetics of the subculture so interesting. But if you love goth beauty choices and are seeking out inspiration, this tutorial and the looks below can provide a jumping off point for your own beauty experimentation. 

Step 1: Start With the Eyes

Since goth makeup often involves a lot of dark colors on the eyes, whether that be black and deep purple eyeshadows or jet-black eyeliner, we suggest starting by applying your eye makeup first. That way, you can easily get rid of eyeshadow fallout and sharpen the lines of your graphic liner without disturbing your carefully applied foundation and contour. To create an even canvas for your eye makeup and help it last longer, we recommend priming your lids before you apply any eyeshadow or eyeliner. The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion is a cult-favorite for its ability to make any makeup look last longer and appear more vividly pigmented. 

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Step 2: Focus on the Face

Unlike traditional full glam makeup or minimalist, no makeup-makeup, goth makeup doesn’t have an expected requisite for a base routine. You might choose to apply a full-coverage foundation to give the skin an artificial, eerie look, or you might choose to apply a lightweight skin tint that will give the makeup more of a grunge feel. Some goth beauty enthusiasts like to apply foundations that are several shades lighter than their natural skin tone to enhance the makeup’s ghostly appearance.

If you’re looking for a full-coverage foundation option, we recommend trying the NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation. It delivers superior full coverage that stays transfer-proof and matte for 24 hours, with a wide range of shades to flatter every skin tone. If, however, you prefer the dewiness and natural finish of a skin tint, try the Maybelline New York Super Stay 24H Skin Tint + Vitamin C. It has a breathable, brightening formula with a second-skin finish and lasting power of up to 24 hours. 

Maybelline New York Super Stay 24H Skin Tint + Vitamin C

Step 3: Mattify Your Face With Powder

For the most stark, dramatic base, try setting your skin with a powder. Not only will this give your skin a one-dimensional, matte finish, it will also help your makeup stay in place and soak up shine that might start to peek through throughout the day. The NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Mattifying Pressed Powder contains rice powder and comes in ten shades, including a translucent one that can blot out shine on all skin tones. 

NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Mattifying Pressed Powder

Step 4: Sculpt Out Your Features

Contouring and highlighting are great ways to add drama to a look and enhance the shadows of your features. To contour, we recommend using a cool-toned color that’s one to two shades darker than your natural skin tone for the most subtle effect, or another shade deeper for added intensity. You can use contour in many ways, including underneath your cheekbones and jawline to make both features appear more defined, on the sides of the nose, in the hollows of your eyes and even around your mouth if you want your lips to appear plumper. The Danessa Myricks Beauty Balm Contour is a pigmented, easy-to-blend contour product that comes in nine shades for a variety of skin tones. 

Danessa Myricks Beauty Balm Contour

Step 5: Define Your Brows

Just like with any other makeup style, there are plenty of ways you can do your brows when creating goth makeup — as you can see in the inspiration photos below, some goth beauty creators prefer pencil-thin or bleached brows, while others opt for a thick, sharp or blocky brow look. If you choose to go the latter route, make sure to use a brow product that will last all day and defy fading or smudging, like the L'Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Micro Ink Pen.
L'Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Micro Ink Pen

Step 6: Finish With a Lip

Just like with every other facet of goth makeup, you can feel free to get creative with your lip look. Some common goth makeup lip looks include a classic black lipstick, but you can also go for a vampy, blood-red shade, slick on a high-shine black gloss or go neutral with a lipstick that closely resembles your skin tone.

Goth Makeup Looks to Try

Black Lips and Red Eyeshadow 

Nothing says gothic like bold black lips and some deep red eyeshadow. For a true jet-black lip, reach for the NYX Professional Makeup Suede Matte Lipstick in Alien. Bonus points if you have a lip piercing like @makeupandtatt2, as it will really pop against the matte black lipstick. 

Bleached Brows 

Bleached eyebrows work as both a statement look and as a way to let your dark eye makeup and matching lips stand out. If you don’t want to commit to lightened brows, you can simply brush some concealer through them with a spoolie. These tutorials will give you some more in-depth tips on how to fake the look of bleached brows.

Dramatic Liner 

Want to take the reverse winged eyeliner trend up a notch? Try painting your liner in dramatic swirls and spikes that trail all the way down your cheeks. We also love how @jinxaddie sharpened the corners of their lips with a lip pencil.

Pastel Goth 

If you were on Tumblr between 2013 and 2015, you probably remember the pastel goth trend, characterized by a combination of fluffy dresses and bows and more traditional goth accessories, such as chokers and platform boots. This look totally reminds us of that creepy-cute aesthetic.

Chain Link Brows

Can’t commit to shaved brows, but still want to try this cool chain link style? Consider gluing the hairs down and covering them with concealer and translucent powder.

’80s Goth

Take inspiration from your favorite goth and new wave artists with this structured power brow and winged liner combo. Get the liner look using the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Super Slim Liquid Liner. Voluminous, asymmetrical hair is optional but encouraged.

Vampiric Goth

Deep purple eyeshadow with black accents and a black lip create a stark contrast against a matte, full-coverage and mask-like base. If you’re looking for a black liquid lipstick that will last all day, we recommend reaching for the NYX Professional Makeup Lip Lingerie XXL Matte Liquid Lipstick in Naughty Noir

Goth Doll

While goth makeup might typically be associated with black and other dark colors, there are ways to translate any color into a goth makeup style just by playing with shapes and contrast levels, as creator @mel_loves_her_cat demonstrates here with this neon pink and white look. You can achieve a similar effect using the Maybelline New York Tattoo Studio Sharpenable Gel Pencil in Ultra Pink

Dark, Glossy Lip

Dark, dramatic lipstick is a quintessential part of goth makeup. Switch up a traditional matte finish by opting for a high-shine, latex-like option like the Maybelline New York Super Stay Vinyl Ink Liquid Lipcolor in Charged, a purple-toned brown that’s so dark that in certain lights, it almost looks black.


Channel the Halloween spirit at any time of year with this graphic black-and-orange makeup look. Colored contacts add extra drama and give the look a satisfyingly creepy, otherworldly feel. 

Pops of Color

There’s plenty of room for whimsy in goth makeup — just look to the pops of color and floral accents spotlighted in creator @ilylorna’s look below. 

Fang Eyeliner

Give your traditional cat-eye an added level of interest and texture by drawing sharp points that resemble downward-facing fangs. To recreate this look, you’ll need a highly pigmented liquid liner with a very thin and precise tip — one of our favorites is the NYX Professional Makeup Vivid Matte Liquid Liner in Black.

Photo: @jinxaddie

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