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'80s Goth Makeup

Updated April 17, 2017

The term "goth" is short for gothic, which describes the dark side of punk subculture in the 1980s. Punk bands such as The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Bauhaus inspired the goth look with their clothes, hair and make-up. To achieve a goth look, the dramatic make-up is fairly easy to emulate.

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Goth style has the appearance of being in a cave for a long time, which is the reason goth teenagers are called baby bats. The skin is fair, almost white. Use foundation in white or the lightest colour available at costume stores.


Siouxsie Sioux, lead singer for the Banshees, wore thick eyeliner in a Cleopatra fashion. Her lids were covered with black, grey or deep-turquoise eye shadow.


Goths wear dark shades of lipstick. Colours such as black, deep purple or deep red are worn to contrast the skin. Apply the lipstick as usual, filling in the natural lip. For a Siouxsie look or different effect, create a bow-style lip similar to the way '20s actresses applied lipstick.


Applying blush to the cheeks adds a glow to the skin. For goths, blush is not worn since it takes away from the "death" look. Instead, goths wear black colour along the hollow line directly below the cheeks giving a dramatic effect. Other colours, such as blue, are also used to create this appearance.

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About the Author

With over 25 years of writing experience, Lisa Huston worked in city government with experience in zoning and urban planning, writing ordinances and policies. She specializes in research and technical writing, and she holds a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies and minor in Film and Media Studies.

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