Tips and Tricks for Goth Eyeliner

An essential part of achieving the goth makeup look is mastering your eye makeup, specifically the star of the show and this article – your eyeliner! Goth eyeliner is not one specific look, and there are many ways to do it.

While there are many components to pulling together your goth style, your eyeliner is important to execute your entire look. We’ll walk you through some style tips so you can indulge your big, bad, grungy self!

What Is Goth Eyeliner?

I’d be remiss to explain goth eyeliner without addressing goth makeup! Part of achieving the traditional goth look is contrast, where you’re emphasizing the eyes and muting out the rest of the face. 

Goth eyeliner is part of a multistage process typically after priming your eyes and applying dark eyeshadow for extra contrast. The goth eyeliner “standard” is applied under your lower lash line and by using a pencil brush to blend in, you create more definition in this area. A pencil brush is an angled brush that allows you to easily blend in your makeup. 

In determining eyeliner types, you can choose from pencil or liquid eyeliners – the latter if you’re feeling brave! Gel eyeliners can be more forgivable but liquid eyeliners accentuate a goth look but it’s up to your preferences! 

While traditional black eyeliners serve as the base for this look, have fun with it and choose other bold colors such as blues or purples. Depending on your mood, you can pull a minimalist goth look with attention to your lower lash line or if you’re feeling artsy, apply some designs!

How Many Ways Can You Do Goth Eyeliner?

Design 1: The Smoky Look

If you’re a beauty amateur who needs a look for any event, try the smoky look! 

For better results, using a pencil eyeliner is best for easier application and for smudging purposes. You’ll just need to line along your inner rim and the upper and lower lash line with black eyeliner and smoke it all out using a pencil brush. 

Depending on your mood, you can go as subtle or dramatic as you’d like! Finish by adding a splash of color with a tinted lip balm or lipstick! 

kristen stewart wearing a goth eyeliner look

Design 2: The Cat Eye

The cat eye is a strong contender for many people due to its versatility. The goal of this look is to create the illusion of a bigger and wider eye so extra eyeliner is necessary. It may be best to work with liquid eyeliner for precision.  

By beginning with the upper eyelid and using your preferred dark eyeliner, draw a line that extends beyond the corner of your eye towards your brow. You’ll then draw a line connecting the corner of your eye to the middle of your eyelid resembling a triangle then fill it in with your eyeliner. 

You can finish it off with a contrasting eye shadow color! If you need more inspiration around drawing on cat eyeliner, we have a whole list of tips dedicated to it right here.

image depicting a goth cat eyeliner

Design 3: Using embellishments or artwork!

If you want to take your eye makeup up a notch and enhance your eyes, try adding embellishments like glitter over the lids, bright eye shadows to accent dark eyeliner, or false eyelashes with spiked gold tips. 

You can also use eyeliner to draw on shapes and art! This is a fun way to get creative while still keeping that goth look.

If you want the sparkle without the added embellishments, consider using glitter eyeliner! You can still achieve that dark, smoky, goth eyeliner, but you’ll have a little extra spark! You can even use liquid eyeliner to draw out designs, such as spiderweb eyeliner or bat wings. 

image depicting goth eyeliner artwork

What Products Should You Use for Goth Eyeliner?

I don’t know about you but I didn’t realize there were so many eyeliner types. Certain eyeliners are easier to work with when creating your goth makeup look so it depends on the look you’re trying to achieve plus your preferences. I’ll share some liquid, pencil, or gel eyeliners to give you an idea!

Liquid eyeliner

Stila Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Stila Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Stila’s Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner allows you to define your strokes with seamless application with its fine marker-like tip. An added plus is it doesn’t smudge so you can wear it all day or night!  It is versatile in that it provides you with either thin, thick, or dramatic strokes. This retails for around $20 at Sephora and is available in many shades! Be sure to shake well before using!

Pencil Eyeliner

NYX Epic Wear Liner Stick Long Lasting Eyeliner Pencil

NYX Epic Wear Liner Stick Long Lasting Eyeliner Pencil

There’s a reason why NYX products make their way onto any makeup list, and it’s because they’re relatively accessible compared to other products. Their NYX Epic Wear EyelinerPpencil is available in various matte and metallic shades, offers long-lasting waterproof coverage, and can be found at most drugstores. 

You can create effortless graphic eyeliner looks with these pencils and can meet your smudging needs.

Gel Eyeliner

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

Maybelline’s Gel Eyeliner is ideal if you’re wanting a concentrated pigmented touch and lines can last for 24 hours! All you’ll need is to dip the brush tip into the jar, draw strokes, and build your line for desired intensity.  It retails at Ulta for $10 so it is relatively accessible to most.

Who Can Wear Goth Eyeliner Looks?

Goth eyeliner is for anyone! The goth makeup look isn’t exclusive to Halloween costumes or fully committed goth looks but can be incorporated into your daily style. The great thing about wearing goth eyeliner is it allows you to explore based on your degree of comfort and if you mess up, the look is pro-smudging and forgiving! 

Using the tips in this article and using Pinterest for design ideas can be your starting point if you’re curious about exploring a grungy and bold look.

What Differentiates Goth Eyeliner From Alt or Emo Eyeliner?

Similar to goth makeup, alt makeup is making its resurgence in makeup trends. Alt makeup differentiates from other styles by encouraging individuality and enhancing our features rather than hiding them. Chances are if you’re feeling in a rebellious mood and shifting away from the mainstream – try the alt look! 

When going for the alt eyeliner look, you can use colors like red or purple eyeliner to line your upper lid and lower lash line and exaggerate the hues with a blending brush. For styling ideas, you can pair your eyeliner with adding a cat eye or dramatic wing.

While goth eyeliner, similar to emo eyeliner, emphasizes dark colors with some splash of color, the alt eyeliner aesthetic welcomes all colors – it just depends on what works best for your skin and eye color. 

Will You Try Goth Eyeliner?

Now that you’re a pro at goth eyeliner, you should give it a try in your everyday look! The 

If you want to go a step further, take a classic eyeliner look — like cat eyeliner or fox eyeliner — and add some grunge to it using the tips above!