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How to ace the goth glam makeup look

Experts share tricks and tips beginners can use to copy popular social media makeup trends

Kourtney Kardashian Barker rocked a goth look for her wedding earlier this year.
Kourtney Kardashian Barker rocked a goth look for her wedding earlier this year. (Courtesy Kourtney Kardashian Barker/Instagram)

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Our makeup feeds have been inundated with colourful eye looks since 2020. If colour is really not your thing and you would rather go to a party with a smudged smoky eye makeup, it’s time the world accepted your love for a mysterious dark look.

Confuse not, because dopamine dressing and Barbiecore are still popular and will continue to be so. But one look at the red carpet sightings at the VMAs this year will assure you that goth glam is going to be a dominant makeup trend for the coming months. Take Avril Lavigne at the event, for instance. One of the OGs of the 2000s pop-punk era popularising the heavily kohl smudged eyes, she sported a glamorous version of the aesthetic. While the emo and Tumblr aesthetic from Lavigne’s peak era included lots of studs, kohl smudging and nude lips, the 2022 edit of this style is more polished, precise and balanced with a bit of sexy. Another social media term that is popularising dark makeup looks is the "villain era". And how can one forget a few iconic 2000s collections such as that by designer Alexander McQueen, who knew exactly how to make his models look broody but beautiful.

Also read: If you want to shine, flaunt your real skin tone: Daniel Bauer

So how can you claim your grunge persona back in 2022?

“Makeup is synonymous with revolutionary trends that surge back in a decade with contemporary iterations. The same goes for the dark grungy looks that replaced the clean girl aesthetic of mascara and lip plumpers. Dark academia looks are becoming popular, giving us the nostalgia of our goth years,” says makeup artist and product consultant Vaishali Shah. 

She believes that dark grungy makeup makes a bold statement when paired with nude lips and a clear face. Just focus on the eyes, she suggests. “Originally, these eye looks were gradient in nature as they intensify on the lash line and blend with the skin as going upwards. Usually, the design of this look is artistic and requires ample blending. However, for simpler gothcore makeup, one can touch the crease line and still rock it. My recommendation is to incorporate hues of brown and black, with metallic shades and shimmers. The key is to blend flawlessly. Add lashes and kohl to define the eye,” suggests Shah.

What will you need?

Don’t let the terms scare you as you can wear gothcore everywhere. Just remember to go easy on the lips and blush, suggest make-up experts. 

“Goth makeup trends can be done with just basic products for beginners. For beginner-friendly makeup, use basic brown eye shadow, black kohl, and mascara. To ease the process, start with a dark brown or black pencil on the upper lash line. Blend it out smoothly with a small-medium brush. If you have more skills, play with shimmers and colours in an oval shape complimenting the eye,” says Shah. 


A thumb rule for smoky eye shadow is that the colour should stop slightly just above the crease line. However, if you are experimenting with the style you can blur the rule for an artistic look, suggests Shah. You could either just wear dark lipstick like Lizzo. Or prep your base, do a gentle contour, and make your eyes pop with a dark and intense eye look. “Apply dark eye pencil on the upper lash line and then set it with the same eye shadow colour. Blend it out with a transitioning colour of the lightest shade and even out any harsh lines," says Shah. "For readers who have halo eyes, opt for lighter shades of brown for a fading effect and add metallic colours on the inner corners of the eyes.”

Also read: Why Hollywood's top facialist believes hands are the best tools

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