Writing | Lord Damien Stark's Make-up Tips for the Bleak

Whiteface should create the illusion that you really are that pale, and not that you have a bunch of makeup from Wallgreen's caked all over your face. Done badly, Gothic makeup can look painfully stupid. The following are some suggestions as to how to do it well:

#1: Use a good base: not even the most gifted makeup artist can get the necessary coverage from inferior makeup. Some excellent and relatively inexpensive brands to experiment with are the Mattique and Visuelle Soft Ivory bases by L'Oreal, priced at approximately eight dollars for a bottle that should last about one month. Visuelle has a slightly better color but has a tendency to get oily as the evening progresses. I recommend it more for those with dry complexions. Mattique, on the other hand, is water-based and gives nearly perfect coverage, provided you blend it immediately. If you wait even half a minute before blending, it will dry in chalky streaks and be impossible to work with. If you have dark skin, don't try to do whiteface unless you're going for a very stylized Harlequin look or are willing to put makeup on all exposed skin areas. Try using a base just one or two shades lighter than your own color and put white powder over it. This will give you an ethereal, almost grayish cast.

#2: After spending money on a decent base, take the trouble to apply it evenly. It's appalling how many Goths overlook something so basic and vital to their entire aesthetic. Equally bad and unfortunately just as frequent is the tendency to overpowder and the tendency to end one's pallor at the jawbone. I can understand someone having difficulty with liquid eyeliner, but some mistakes are just inexcusably stupid. Don't make them.

#3: On the subject of eyeliner, liquid is better, but if your hands shake by all means use the most expensive pencil you can afford. Two dollar pencils go on faint and will smudge after an hour. Do something original with your eye makeup: paint-by-the-numbers Siouxsie clones are an abomination and cobwebs or batwings drawn across the cheek look silly on anyone over the age of fifteen. On those under fifteen, however, such adornments are sure to attract the lecherous attention of the more jaded Goths in their late twenties and early thirties who will probably give you free speed if you prove sufficiently pliable.

#4: Find a shade of lipstick that not everyone else is wearing. Theatrical supply stores are the best for really deep shades of congealed blood red. Apply it with a lip brush for a more precise and severe effect.

#5:Wear your Bauhaus T-shirt to Ralph's, not out to clubs (unless, of course, you are under fifteen and want to capitalize on that waif-ish tweak orphan look). Strive for originality in your costume and avoid at all costs looking like a mannequin from Daljeets. For those doing vintage looks, realize that both the 18th century and the Victorian era have been done to death, so either do them better than anyone else or choose another time period. The 20s, 30s, and 40s are largely untapped by Goths and have great potential. One could dress as an emaciated, opium-addicted flapper from the Aleister Crowley set or pose as the Black Dahlia, a would-be actress from the 40s whose "gimmick" was that she had dyed her hair black and would only wear black clothing and whose ghastly mutilation murder remains unsolved to this day. The possibilities are limited only by the degree to which you have your heart set on looking like a character out of an Anne Rice novel.

Also remember that black is not the only color. Deep blues, grays, and greens, as well as blood red, purple, and ivory, can be equally striking. If you're determined to wear only black - don't eat, work out a lot and wear very very little. If you're fat, experiment with drapery, corseted looks and avoid skin-tight clothing that makes you look like a sausage. Bear in mind, however, that one should strive to be as gaunt as possible, so make a fetish of hating food. People are more likely to think you're a vampire if they never see you eat.

#6: If you have scars on your wrists from suicide attempts by all means display them proudly. The same goes for bruises, cuts, and track marks. Abscesses, however, should always be coyly veiled in filmy black fabric.

In conclusion, Gothic style should be as opulent, decadent, and individual as possible. If you're not up to making the effort necessary to carry off this most high maintenance of affectations, try wearing plaid shirts and listening to Nirvana instead.

"Makeup Tips for the Bleak - A cosmetic tip sheet from the "snotty, frock-coat-abusing" Lord Damien Stark (really Danielle Willis, a way-cool author and performance artist). The author does a perfect goth face; these are some common-sense ideas on how to look "gothic" without looking silly."
from Ghastly Magazine #3