If you’re a goth of a darker skin tone, it can be difficult to find the right makeup. Especially if you want to create some of the classic goth looks. Think there aren’t any goths with dark skin? Think again, kitty girl.

For us with darker skins, the china-white look isn’t the way to go. It can look ashy and, well, like you’re doing KISS cosplay. There’s no need for the darkly complected to do Gene Simmons cosplay.

I mean, unless you just really want to. I guess.

If you want to put something white on your face, use a primer. Many of us with “Mother Nature’s natural night camouflage” have oily skin that needs help to stay looking shine-free. Try DHC’s Clarifying Pore Cover Base. This will give your skin an I-don’t-sweat-I-don’t-even-have-pores look.

Black goth_Moniasse Model
Model: Moniasse

You don’t want a dewy, sea nymph sheen to your foundation, either. Choose something close to your own skin tone. No matter what color your complexion, it’s to be celebrated. Again, an oil-free product works best for this look and typically lasts longer.

Foundations can be costly, but it’s a good idea to choose the best you can afford. If you go with a department store brand, you can try it before you buy it, unlike drugstore brands. Sometimes buying two or three tubes of an inexpensive brand can cost you the same as a pricier brand.

For a variety of shades, try BlackUp’s Matifying Fluid Foundation. The French company has several ranges of skin foundation in various consistencies, like this liquid that slides over skin, hiding any blemishes or texture your skin may have. They also have a sampler package of shades in case you’re not sure what fits you.


Get a chubby. Clinique’s portable Chubby In The Nude stick foundation is perfect for goth makeup re-touches on the go.

Have you bought a foundation that’s a little too light? Too dark? No problem. One drop of The Body Shop’s Shade Adjusting Drops will take your makeup base one half-shade lighter or darker.

Body SHop

Oh and make sure your eyebrows are in great shape. Unless you’re experienced in this or have the ideal arch naturally, have someone do them for you. Whether you choose waxing or threading or plucking, goth makeup has a defined brow.

Cover your freshly framed lids in a variety of colors. Darker skins have a wide range of shades that enhance their coloring, from slate to forest green to indigo to ruby to violet. Deep complexions look striking with a pure white shadow. It’s all about contrast with the rest of your face, so experiment freely. Not sure where to start? The Cenobite collection from Espionage Cosmetics has four intense colors to help you raise hell. BFTE has an extensive line of loose mineral shadows that you can also use as eyeliner. Speaking of eyeliner, Egyptian-inspired kohl liner is jaw-dropping on dark skin.

Tina Turner A Cleo
Tina Turner isn’t goth, but this version of her as Cleopatra by Kevyn Aucoin is what eye makeup is for.

Next up, lips. Don’t forget the lipliner. Get a similar or contrasting shade to your lipstick, but I don’t recommend using dark brown eyeliner. That’s for hookers in the 1970s who shave their eyebrows with single-use razor blades.

Lipstick is one of the most prominent features of a goth look. If you have fuller lips, don’t downplay them. Slather on the most deeply pigmented color you can find. As with eyeshadow, don’t limit yourself. We of the melanin-rich persuasion don’t have to stick to plum and berry shades if we don’t want to.

Black is always appropriate. Try Butter London’s Lippy in Union Jack Black, a shiny patent leather-like gloss with a lipstick worthy amount of color.

Union jack black lippy

Beauty Brownie’s Blank is super matte. The company was started by two sisters from Brooklyn in hopes that darker skin tones will not conform to beauty standards that “leave them out of the equation.”

Branch out and embrace color. Goth looks for darker skins have a variety of options. Ka’oir, a vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, paraben-free company has Rude Girl, a deep, yet bright purple that coats your pout in colorant. Jeffree Star has one of the best names I’ve seen in lipsticks. Pick up Unicorn Blood, a rusty, matte red that is everything.

I love gray lipstick, but it can be hard to find. If you can’t find one you love, then try applying a layer of pink or nude lipstick first. Then top if off with your favorite stand-by black lipstick.

Heart-racing red, of course, is always a great choice. But at the end of the day, it’s a Goth look, so don’t let anyone–even me–tell you what to wear.

Black goth

Header image: Morbid Mira

Eden Royce

Eden Royce

Eden is an author, editor, ex-debutante, and part-time hoodooienne. She makes a mean cheesecake.
Eden Royce
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