Wednesday has proven that goth beauty isn’t just black lipstick and pale skin. The Netflix hit show has served one great gothy makeup look after another—at the hands of makeup designer Tara McDonald and makeup artist Nirvana Javiland—sparking a "soft goth" makeup trend and widening our view of the genre.
“Historically, when we think of goth, we envision a super pale complexion paired with very heavy eye makeup and dark lipstick,” says KVD Beauty Global Veritas Artistry Ambassador Sandra Saenz. “The soft goth we’re seeing as a result of Wednesday is much more current, pairing a muted smoky eye with a muted lip that provides a more elevated delivery that people are drawn to.”
Read on for everything you need to know about soft goth makeup, including how to get the look.
Where You've Seen It
Obviously, you can thank Wednesday for setting off the trend, but there are other factors behind the fad. “Soft goth makeup looks are having a resurgence—we are seeing throughout pop culture from series, movies, music to beauty,” says Christian Carter, NYX Professional Makeup Beauty Advisor. “The soft goth look is especially popular as it focuses on a clean complexion, a soft blown out neutral eye and a deep nude lip color that anyone can adopt and make theirs.”
Why It's Trending
Any makeup look that’s versatile and flattering is going to win fans. “What’s great about the soft goth makeup trend is that it can work for anyone!” Carter says. “The looks can be applied in a variation of ways to fit anyone’s personal style by playing with color or focus, from a blown out smoky eyeshadow to fierce brows and a deep statement lip shade.” There are so many ways to experiment with the genre.
“Honestly, I love everything about this trend!” Saenz says. “I like that it’s not your average full glam, and instead taps into the goth culture which has always been a little taboo or exclusive to a specific group of people. This ‘soft goth’ trend is a great way of experimenting with something different without using an abundance of makeup.”
How to Do Soft Goth Makeup
The key is not taking it too goth or costumey, which can be a fine line. “Some common mistakes can be to apply more makeup than needed,” Carter says. “The soft goth makeup trend is all about having those soft goth vibes, but not to the point where it gets too heavy or dark.”
Be sure not to be too heavy handed with the application. “To get this look right, you need to strike a balance between eye and lip, making sure both are diffused enough or not so clearly defined that it looks polished,” Saenz says. “Using just one layer of product is a great way to get the color pay off without adding too much pigment.”
Have fun playing with the vibe and remember there are many ways to put your spin on the look. “A neutral blown out smoky eye with a statement dark or nude lip works for just about anyone all year long,” Carter says. “Some favorites of mine to achieve is the NYX Professional Makeup Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade Copenhagen ($7) or the Lip Lingerie XXL Matte Liquid Lipstick in Deep Mesh ($10).”
Carter suggests starting by giving yourself a flawless complexion by applying NYX Bare With Me Concealer Serum ($11) all over your face. To give your brows some shape use a brow gel to tame brow hairs and keep in place. Achieve an easy neutral smoky eye by using a neutral palette, blending dark brown to light from lashline to brow. Carter likes to finish off the look with the perfect shade of NYX Lip Lingerie XXL Matte Liquid Lipstick ($10) for full-bodied matte lips.
Alternatively, Saenz recommends using a deeply pigmented black eyeliner to line the eyes and then smudge out with your finger for a diffused look that’s not so pretty or precise. “If you’re feeling bold, swap your black for KVD's shade Madder Red ($22) for an even edgier look,” she says. “If eyeshadow is more your speed, the KVD Beauty Moongarden Vegan Eyeshadow Palette ($30) has some intense pigments that are great for achieving a soft goth look and even includes matte black for lining!”
Nail a soft goth complexion by using a base product to add some coverage to the skin. “With soft goth, you’ll definitely want to avoid adding too much color, like blush, but a little contour to hollow out the cheeks can help to achieve that slightly sunken look,” Saenz says. “The KVD Beauty Shade + Light Refillable Face Contour Palette ($50) is my must-have for all things contouring.”
As for your pucker, Saenz loves a bitten lip for the soft goth look. “I specifically like to use the KVD Beauty Everlasting Hyperlight Liquid Lipstick ($22) in shades Midnight Phlox, which is close to the shade Wednesday wears, moody purple Dark Wisteria or Black Briar for when you want to go all the way with a jet black lip,” she says. “For this, I like to apply one swipe either on the top or bottom lip, smack lips together to transfer and then tap with your finger to blend out.”