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How You Can Do Any Goth Makeup Style, Including Soft Gothic Makeup

soft gothic makeup

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Celeste MacMurray. Find her on Instagram at @clsmsanchezx. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

You may have seen recently that soft goth makeup is a style that has been trending and making an impact online. This is something we’ve covered on our site, but soft gothic makeup is only the tip of the iceberg as there are so many different gothic styles out there.

The gothic subculture is one that dates back decades with the creation of gothic music taking precedent before the style emerged. The Gothic music that we now recognize is an offspring of punk music, but one of the songs accredited for beginning the Goth movement is actually “I Put A Spell On You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1968.

Gothic music has experienced many developments throughout the years, with the first wave beginning in the late 70s. The most widely known artists of this time were bands like The Cure, The Smiths and Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees. You can recognize goth music by its use of synths, dark ambience and danceable rhythms as goth music is meant to be danced to. Some songs that exemplify this are “Blue Monday” by New Order and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus.

Gothic fashion and makeup developed in tandem with the musical genre, and that’s what leads us to the very first makeup style we will talk about: trad-goth.


The trad-Goth makeup style is immediately recognizable with a single glance. Frequently sporting white face paint—but not completely necessary—and dramatic, geometric brows, trad-Goth draws your attention right away. Oftentimes the brows may connect to the eye makeup, whether that be eyeshadow or eyeliner, but not always. Some trad-Goths like to contour their cheekbones and jawlines with black or gray eyeshadow, but not everyone does, so that is not necessary for your look if you don’t want to add that.

If you really want to commit fully to the trad-Goth look, what makes the style is the face paint, your eyebrows, and the eye makeup. You can either sport winged eyeliner that’s as big and sharp as you want, or experiment with contrasting shades of white and black to create different shapes on your eyelids and underneath your brows. Some trad-Goths shave off their brows or thin them so it’s easier to do their makeup, but it’s not a requirement to do either.

Romantic Goth

Sweet and sensitive, Romantic goth is alluring and delicate with its delivery and inspired by the Romantic period and movement. Utilizing mainly neutral tones and shades of red, Romantic goth makeup is meant to be just as its title—romantic. It’s supposed to leave you with the impression of romance and sensuality. Romantic goths often do eyeshadow looks with colors like black, gray, white or light shades of red, but eyeliner by itself or with your eye look is never off the table. If you desire, fake eyelashes can be used to make your eyes stand out and captivate, and lips are typically draped in red or maroon shades.

Vampire Goth

If someone could look at you and say, “They look like a vampire,” then I think that can be the best litmus test possible when it comes to vampire goth makeup. Using dark colors and dark shades of red on the eyelids—sometimes combined or not—the goal is to emulate the same dark and powerful energy of a vampire. You can make your eye looks as glamorous as you want: whether that be by using glitter, trying a cut crease or experimenting with multiple colors. It’s really whatever floats your boat and makes you feel you’re upholding the image of “vampire.” Vampire goths often sport red lipsticks of many shades, and the best tip I can give you for finding your perfect red lip is by analyzing whether the color has warm or cool undertones. The undertones of a color really changes its expression in general but also with the way it interacts with your skin tone.

Soft Goth

The soft gothic look, as we discussed earlier, is for those who enjoy the Gothic style and aspects of the subculture but want to recreate it in a subtle and light way. Many of the girls I see recreating soft gothic makeup do so with eyeliner on the lash line and waterline, or even as a winged look, which can never go wrong. I also see people opt for mascara rather than fake eyelashes when it comes to this style. How you choose to do your lips is totally up to you, but I’ve seen people do both red lips or line their lips and top them with lip gloss.

Mall Goth

One of the first articles I wrote for the Zillennial, mall goth is a style that dates back to the 90s and 2000s alternative scene. Thin eyebrows, dark and messy eyeliner and dark lips, the mall goth isn’t a look meant for subtlety. It’s one meant to draw attention in honor of its rebellious spirit. Many of the people I see doing mall goth makeup like to do so with fake eyelashes. When it comes to lips, it’s either dark red shades or black or brown lip liner with lip gloss.

Are there any other Gothic styles like soft gothic makeup you love that you think we should have included? Let us know and share with us your favorite products!

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