Monday, 13 December 2010

Goth make-up - where to begin?

Heheh - many thanks to Black_Lilly for posting a link to the Goth Compass in her latest post... I couldn't resist (check out my score here - 94% Perky; is anyone surprised?)

So anyway, I promised a proper post, not just slightly daft Goth quizzes (doesn't everyone love slightly daft Goth quizzes? Of course they do...). In this post I'd like to talk about the very basics of Goth make-up - even if you're a newbie Gothling, the pictures in this blog have probably given you some clues of where to start, and of course there is a wealth of information available on the internet, but I'll be damned if I don't get my tuppence in.

I always, always head to Viona-Art's Wave Gotik Treffen galleries when looking for new make-up ideas!
Do you absolutely have to wear make-up to be Goth, or to look Goth? Of course not! Goth make-up builds on the image of drama and mystery that Goth fashion can create, adding an extra element of interest to your look, but is not by any means a necessity. Think of it as the most versatile of your accessories.

Neither do you have to pile it on. Sometimes, less is more. If you have beautiful features, you certainly don't need to bury them under a layer of slap. Goth make-up can be about creating a darker, more dramatic, magical you - it can also be about accenting the lovely features you already have. A flick of black liner and hint of smudgy grey shadow may be all you need.

With Goth make-up, the key words to remember are 'creativity' and 'drama'. There's no point trying to sculpt your features to look exactly like someone else's - hell, all the eyeliner in the world isn't going to turn me into Adora BatBrat or Wednesday Mourning - or copy someone else's look exactly, but just like with Goth fashion, looking at pictures online and gathering inspiration is a good way to start. It's perfectly all right to try out someone else's make-up style, just remember that it's probably wise to give it your own unique touch. There are hundreds of Goth make-up tutorials on YouTube, ranging from the simple to the highly advanced - these are a great way of improving your skill with make-up as well as possibly giving you new ideas and inspiration.

However, a gentle word of warning - if one of your make-up inspirations happens to be The Crow, you may want to be very careful and think about altering the Eric Draven look either a little or a lot, as the Crow's signature 'evil jester' look has become social shorthand for all that is stereotypical, cliched and trite in the Goth scene, due to being copied constantly by Mansonites and mallgoths the world over. If it's really what you want to do, by all means go ahead, just remember you may be on the receiving end of some snarking at the spooky club.

Other make-up mistakes often made by mallgoths include overdoing the white foundation (or worse, whiteface). A little white foundation, blended into your normal foundation, can look fetchingly undead (or you could use a foundation up to two shades lighter than your natural skintone). I'm sure this goes without saying, but those with dark or olive skins should avoid white foundation altogether - you don't have to cultivate a chalk-white pallor to be a Goth. Black lipstick should be viewed with caution as it certainly doesn't suit everyone or work well with every outfit. And if you have dyed your hair black or another dark colour, you may wish to invest in an eyebrow pencil to avoid the Marilyn Manson/Wednesday 13 look - shade your brows in lightly for a natural look or draw them on with a sharply pointed pencil for a more dramatic effect (in case you were wondering, yes, I do have eyebrows. They are blonde and very thin, so I draw over them every day with a black pencil).

Curlicues, spiderwebs and other eyeliner doodles should be kept to a minimum - they are great fun, and I think everyone involved with the scene has insisted on going out with swirls all over their face at one point or another - but they can be overdone and can sometimes look very 'clueless babybat'.

Don't be afraid of colour. If you look closely at the make-up of your friendly neighbourhood Goths (or at photos online if your local scene, like mine, is sadly lacking), you'll see shades of lipstick, shadow, liner and even blush (yes, Goths can and do wear blush - however, I have never yet met a Goth who uses bronzer) in every colour of the rainbow. Even yellow, if it's done right, can look good. However, when it comes to lipstick beware of fire-engine reds and pinks - they can look great with the right look, but if you're not careful you can end up looking like Goth Barbie.

Mainstream make-up guides often advise against heavy eye and lip make-up together. Well, poppycock to that! But if you're not used to seeing yourself wearing strong make-up looks, you may like to wear this make-up only indoors for a while until you get accustomed to it - the first time I wore heavy make-up, I thought I looked like a drag queen, but as I got used to it I realised it looked pretty good, actually.

If you want to wear eyeshadows, you may like to start with blacks, browns and greys (depending on what suits you), expanding your repertoire to include jewel tones (purple, midnight blue, emerald green) and then, if you so wish, brighter colours (up to and including neon). With lipsticks, start with reds, browns and plum colours, then into the crazy shades (green, blue, silver and black, for example).

Are there any essential items the budding Goth should keep in their make-up armoury? I recommend at least one eyeliner (pencil is great for simply lining your eyes (and lips), liquid can create some amazing dramatic effects but takes practise to get right, and felt tip liner is a wonderful invention that combines the simplicity of application of pencil and the sharp, strong lines of liquid. You may also like to experiment with different colours, and glitter eyeliner is a lovely thing...), a mascara (probably black) and a powder to minimise shine (Stargazer's white powder creates a nice pallor, or you could use translucent). If you are a lover of lipstick, I would advise using a lip brush and finishing with a sealant such as Lipseal or LipLock. Eye make-up can also be made to last longer by applying a sealant or eyeshadow base. Foundation should be applied with a good quality make-up sponge - wash it often and replace regularly.

Practise, practise, practise! A mirror, some good lighting and your make-up bag are all you need. For everyday looks, keep it simple - but for evenings, weekends, clubs and concerts you can of course go all-out! And please, take your make-up off before you go to bed, no matter how tired you are - breakouts are no fun.

Listening to: Ballerina - RazorBladeKisses


sydneysomething said...

I never wash my makeup off before bed :P eep, naughty! :p

I wish I had the lips for lipstick, it looks so good on some people, but alas I am not a fan of it on my own person.

Yay for natural hardly-any-eyebrows! I have a few very light stray hairs that I think might've meant to be eyebrows but never really got off the ground, so I just shave 'em off every few days and either go without or if I'm dressing up, I use green glitter ^_^

Oh and science, I can't describe to you how much I hate it when people have the caked on white facepaint and juggernaut-style eye travesties. Ergh, it irks me to no end.

ultimategothguide said...

Some people can still look good without eyebrows - sadly I am not one of them. Mine aren't so much natural as never really grew back after over-plucking in my early teens, but I like having skinny little eyebrows anyway XP

Julietslace said...

Urgh the foul whiteface, it looks stupid even when done right. Rar rar rar!

Smashed Doll said...

Dear Amy,
I love gothic make up and I have tried lots of styles but nothing ever looks right. It makes my eyes look very small no matter what I do. Any Advice? I don't wear glasses if that info is anyway useful.

Anonymous said...

i recently bought some dark plum lipstick from Halloween WEt n' Wild and i noticed that whenever i eat or drink it rubs off....almost too easily. so, so much for wearing it convieniently. are there brands you kno tht shouldt smudge tht easy?

T. Jade said...

As silly as it sounds, there is a book called 'Goth Craft' by Raven Digitalis, and there is a section on goth makeup with so many great ideas. =P

Leia said...

hey i'm leia and i just wanted to say that this was very helpful :) and i lurve your blog

Caroline Carnivorous said...

I use bronzer!! *raises hand*

Anonymous said...

I'm biracial and somewhere in the the skin colour range of a piece of toffee. Do you know where I can find a tutorial for me?

Anonymous said...

Hi there ^,^
It's a bit too late (three years? Whaaaat?) but I just had to add my bit.
I'm biracial too and have been a part of the goth scene for quite a few years now. I've found that the best things for our tone is to just go with it. Don't hide your natural colour, accentuate it with glitter. And we can get away with using bronzer for sculpting facial structure, lucky us! Beware of black lips and pink anything, they always end up looking strange on me. The plus side to that is that we can look good in LITERALLY any other colour, while our pale friends here are rather limited.
Drew Disaster (YouTube) is biracial as well. She's not goth, but more alternative, and has great tips for that. Just add your own spin and things will go swimmingly.

Rat Out ((>*.*<))

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