Gothic Noire makeup, or, more commonly, goth makeup, is a striking, elegant look that can be a personal staple, a theater show hit, or a great piece of art for a photoshoot. From personal preference to professional production, goth makeup is and should be a must for any MUA to learn and master. While those that love it for themselves are absolutely going to go through the effort of mastering the art for their own features, professional makeup artists need to be adaptable. They need to know how to translate the gothic noire look for all features, skin tones, and even production value. Things like the lighting or color grade, for example, are going to make a huge difference on movie and television sets.
If you want to learn this art or need to for your next job, look no further than this guide to help you get started:
There’s a good chance you don’t have the makeup you’ll need to pull off this look, unless you already have been dabbling in gothic makeup. If you don’t have it on hand, then you’ll want to pick up the following:
The signature look of goth makeup is pale skin and high-contrast lips and eyes. Despite common belief, those high-contrast elements can actually be almost any color, with black, dark red, and dark purple some of the most popular. Dark shades of green, blue, and even orange can also work – so long as you stay true to the look and culture.
This is a personal choice for many and a professional secret for those working on set. Prosthetics and special effects makeup can sharpen the cheekbones, elongate the brow line, and give greater definition to the jawline. This is how they made Maleficent’s signature look in the Disney reboot. Prosthetics can help highlight the features you want. On stage or in a media production, these extra steps can look particularly striking as well.
In general, the goth look uses a foundation that is one to two shades lighter than the skin. If you’re doing this for yourself, this is an easy addition. If you’re a makeup artist, you’ll need a wide range of shades and to understand color theory to mix your foundation on set. The only other special product you’ll need is possibly ashen highlighter and blush. These, again, can be any color, though the most popular options are grey.
While there are standards in gothic makeup that will help determine whether or not you’ve achieved the look, there is still a lot of room for experimentation and individualism. Some prefer a softer, more smoky look. Others want hard lines and sharp definitions. Experiment to find your individual preference.
If you’re practicing this art as an MUA, then try to get a diverse range of models to practice with. You need to know how to create a gothic look on all skin types and to suit either your client’s preferences or the movie producer’s demands. Try it all, and make sure you can make everyone, no matter their skin tone, look amazing in this style.