The Glam Side of Goth

In 1981, I read Interview with a Vampire for the first time. I was a regular at the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and was listening to bands like Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, and my idol at the time, Siouxie and the Banshees. It was Siouxsie Sioux’s look that I most identified with and tried to emulate. I guess in a way I was doing Goth before the term became mainstream.

Back then my look consisted of NEVER going out in the sun. I used Max Factor Pan Cake Makeup in the lightest shade I could find (you can actually see my face and neck don’t match). Almost everything else I used on my face was black. Black eyeliner, black shadow, black pencil on my brows, black mascara (OK, that has stayed the same). Of course at eighteen you can wear mud and a paper bag and still look ravishing. Just for the record I was “happy goth.”

So now I find myself— almost 30 years later—confronting this trend yet again and I am (as perhaps some of you are as well) wondering, “Do I really need to go there again?” And if I do decide to embrace this trend, how the hell do I make it work without looking like the living dead?

Let me start by saying this makeup trend is an accessory like anything else in your wardrobe. So look at it as some thing you pair with the appropriate outfit. It certainly isn’t something to do when you go to the farmers’ market or to pick up your daughter from dance class. But with the right outfit, say leather pants or a reptile print (both in for fall!), it could be the perfect compliment.

So what’s different this time around?

Let’s start with skin. Although pale is the perfect pairing with darker goth lips, forgo the mask-like quality of a heavy foundation and instead opt for luminosity. One way to create this luminosity is to take a product like Nars Illuminator or Sonia Kashuk’s Translucent Illuminator and either mix it with your foundation or apply at and above the brow bone and on the cheek bone. This will give you that preternatural glow to make your skin look otherworldly perfect. On the cheeks or just below, apply Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for lips and cheeks in Blushed Rose. This gives cheeks a little color and contour all in one. And as long as we are perfecting the complexion, the ideal companion for luminous skin is a long-time favorite YSL Touché Éclat.

Next, eyes. The difference this time around is a lighter, sheerer approach. Try Maybelline – Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel Shadow in Audacious Asphalt. This cream formula glides on the eyes. Use a small synthetic brush for more control and apply lightly from lashline to just past the crease for a wash of color. This eye cream is great because it is incredibly long-wearing—without creasing. Finish off with a generous coat of the blackest black mascara. Brows should be natural and filled in to frame and complete the eyes.

And for lips, try the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in the perfect color for fall and winter: Train Bleu, a deep aubergine. It’s the perfect deep color for the season.

Voila! The look is otherworldly mysterious and totally wearable. The glam side of goth.