October 30, 2019

The eyes are the windows to the soul, so when it comes to window dressing, you probably want to make it count. Goth eye makeup is more than just kohl and mascara. It's an art form! And if you think this art form is black and white in any sense, you have some catching up to do.

Luckily, it's not too hard to learn to do goth eye makeup like a pro.

Goth Eye Makeup: The Basics

How do you get those fantastic looks? What do you need to recreate them? For your toolkit, you'll need the tools, of course. You'll also need to know what to do with them.


Goth eye makeup -- well, goth makeup altogether -- can be a complicated process involving a lot of time, a lot of work, and a whole lot of money spent on makeup and tools.

You don't have to do all that, though, to get your own amazing look. With a few techniques and some basic equipment, you can do goth eye makeup like a pro in no time.


Before you paint your car, you add a primer. It's the same for painting your eyes. Eye primer smooths the skin of your eyelids and makes your eye shadow go on smoothly as well. It also makes your eye shadow last longer.

If you're doing a whole-face look, then you might want to consider face primer instead -- or even in addition to eyelid primer.

Primer comes in cream form, as well as a very soft, thick pencil.

Eye shadow

Eye shadow is as old as makeup itself. In fact, the ancient Egyptians were rocking it 12,000 years ago. That's given folks a lot of time to come up with some pretty ingenious uses.

Choose black for deepest shadow, or rich, vibrant color and glitter. Subtle or dramatic, eye shadow is one of the cornerstones of the goth look.


Eyeliner is a goth eye makeup staple. Applied along the upper and lower lash lines, it brings out the shape of your eyes. You can also use it to change your eyes' shape or to create unique designs.

You might wonder: eyeliner pencil, liquid liner, or gel?

Well, the answer depends on what you're trying to do.

Eyeliner pencils are inexpensive and easy to use. For every day outlining, they're great. You can go thick or thin, and the pencil is easy on, easy off.

Gel and liquid liners, on the other hand, are best for dramatic, intense looks; for example, the cat eye or ancient Egyptian inspired designs such as the one in the video below. Take a look:


Mascara thickens, lengthens, and accentuates your lashes, making your eyes pop. It comes in different colors. Basic black is a must for every makeup toolkit. However, as long as you're experimenting, why not try out vibrant, unusual colors like purple or electric blue? You might be surprised!

Brushes, sponges, and applicators

Mascara and eyeliner typically come with their own applicators. But for shadows and creams, you may want to use your own tools. There are a vast number of eye makeup tools on the market. These are the ones we use most often.

Triangular sponges are inexpensive, and you can find them at most drug stores. They're great for applying and blending liquid products such as primers.

An eye smudger brush is a small, thin, pencil-like tool with a sponge at the end. It's great for applying color to the eye socket. The smudger brush is an essential tool for the smoky eye look.

A blending brush is another thin tool. It resembles an artist's paintbrush and has a dome-shaped head. You can use it to blend eye shadow, as well as other powders.

The linear 1 brush has a short, narrow, almond-shaped tip that sits at a tilt. Used for applying liquids to lips, brows, and lashes, use it when you need a firm, precise stroke.

A brow brush has a fine, precisely-angled head. It's used to apply creams, powders, and liquids.


Now that you have the tools, let's put them to work.

Makeup techniques are vast, but you only need a few to build on to do goth eye makeup like a pro.


It's not as simple as you might think!

First, apply your primer. Then, blend it with your fingers or a triangular sponge.

For better color performance and longevity, makeup artist Wayne Goss recommends applying any further liquids at this point, then brushing on powder foundation.

After that, apply your eye shadow.

See more in the video below:

Cut crease

The cut crease technique is all over Instagram these days. And for dramatic goth looks, it's a natural fit. Cut crease uses color to accentuate and define the crease of the eye. It adds depth to the eye -- which means that for goth eye makeup it's a must. And it can form the basis for many of goth's signature looks.

To make a cut crease, apply a darker shade of eye shadow to the crease of the eye and blend it upward. Bring the crease all the way in, to the bridge of the nose, to make your eyes appear sunken and larger.

How do you use a cut crease in goth eye makeup? Check out this dramatic black and white technique:

Add shadow

Pitch-black eye shadow, and lots of it, creates that signature sunken-eyed goth look. But you can use color, too -- even pastels, and yes, even glitter.

The secret is in the use of contrast. Goth is a dramatic look, and for that, you want maximum contrast.

Try light pastels, bright neons, or metallic shades with dark liner. A rich, red glitter with lots of liquid liner and false eyelashes will make your eyes pop.

Highlight the corners

Highlighting the inner corner of your eye with light shadow will accentuate your eyes and make them stand out. Highlighting the outer corner will widen your eyes, which is a good technique if your eyes are close together. If you have wide-set eyes, accentuate the inner corners.

Line your eyes

Use an eyeliner pencil to accentuate your eyes. Start at the inner corner of your eye, and work the pencil across your bottom lash line.

You can use your pencil to line the upper lash line as well. Apply and smudge for a bruised look.

Or, if you're going for a more elegant, dramatic design, draw your design with liquid liner.

And eyeliner isn't just for the ladies. Check out this goth guyliner tutorial:

Face decoration

Goth is a dramatic look, so why limit goth eye makeup to the eyes alone?

Let your design bleed out onto your cheeks, brow, and even out to the temples. Little crosses, jewels, teardrops, stars, and diamonds can add visual interest to your look.


Now that you have the basics, it's time to try your hand at some iconic goth eye makeup designs.

Cat eye

The cat eye look dates back to ancient Egypt. They say Cleopatra used kohl to create hers. It also enjoyed great popularity with pin-up stars in the 1950s.

Today, it's a popular goth eye makeup design. And it's not hard, either!

How do you do it? We're glad you asked!

First, apply your primer.

Then, take your liquid eyeliner, and brush it outward from the outside corner of your eye, about half an inch, to create a "wing."

From the wing, paint the liner across your top lash line, about three-quarters of the way across the lash line. Now do the same on the bottom lash line.

Now, paint the inner corner of your eye. Apply mascara and curl, if desired.

Want to see how it's done? Check out the video below:

Smoky eye

Smoky eye is another iconic goth design. If you want that smudged, bruised, sunken look, then this is your technique.

How do you do it?

Here's how.

First, apply your primer.

Next, use dark shadow to create a cut crease. Remember the cut crease? Blend it upward toward your brow. Then apply the same color to your lower lash line.

On your eyelid, you'll be applying a mixture of light and dark shadow. Some people like to put light shadow in the middle, with dark shadow on either side. Others put the dark in the middle. Experiment to see which look you like better.

Now, starting at your upper lash line, paint your shadow with liquid black eye shadow. Paint to the crease that you've created. Now blend.

On your lower lash line, paint outward from the inner corner to three-quarters of the way across your eye. Now blend.

At this point, you can add other colors. Experiment with different colors of eyeliner, including white.

Fanciful designs

Creativity is at the heart of goth eye makeup designs. If you have the techniques and the imagination, there's no end to the unique looks you can create.

Can a Harlequin be goth? Believe it. Whether you make it fun or make it creepy, this style has style.

How do you get that style?

Well, as always, apply your primer and foundation.

Next, make your cut crease. The artist in the video below is using a lighter shadow to create the crease, and blending it with even lighter shadow applied to the eyelids.

Now, blend and shape, taking the cut up to the brow and out toward the temple.

The next step is color. Use a brightly-colored liquid shadow to paint your eyebrows. The artist below chooses red.

Use the same color powder eye shadow to paint the outer "V" of the eye. Now blend it upward with the light shadow on your eyelid. Blend it outward, parallel to the wing. Paint the outer corner of that area with a darker color, like purple. This adds dimension.

Now, paint both lash lines with liquid eyeliner.

Here's the fun part. Using your favorite liquid liner, expand your design outward along your cheeks. You can make Harlequin lines, dots, little crosses, teardrops, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

Are You Ready?

Goth eye makeup is striking and dramatic. It can be labor-intensive. But if you know the basics, it only has to be as difficult as you want it to be.

Do you have a favorite design? We'd love to see it! Let us know your favorite styles in the comments.

Featured Image: CC0 via Pxhere

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