Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reader Question: Going Darker

Howdy there Mary!So I had a few quick questions that I felt you might be able to help mewith. See, I've been into the subculture for 4 years now but I've justfinally reached the age where I can actually express it more in myappearance and I was hoping you could give me some advice on a few commontopics.
1- Do you know why so many Goths shave off or draw on their eyebrows?
I can't seem to find any real info on this or any particular reason for whyit's done within the community. I've just noticed that most Goths will shavethem off and draw eyebrows on (guys and girls). And I have nothing againstit; in fact, I think it's pretty rad and awesome and cool. It's just thatI'm afraid maybe I'll look less Goth because I don't do that. I mean, I likemy eyebrows the way they are... I don't want to get rid of them or have topluck them, etc. Maybe if I knew why they did it, it'd make more sense and Imight do it then.
2-I was also considering dying my hair jet black and I was wondering if youhad any advice on the process. I've never dyed my hair before and havenaturally black hair so I wasn't really sure if it was a good idea. I'vealways wanted to dye my hair and I thought jet black would be a nice choicesince it wouldn't require bleaching plus it'd be a lot like what I alreadyhave. What do you think? Do you think it wouldn't make a noticeabledifference?
3-In terms of piercings, I was thinking of getting my ear cartilages piercedalong with my nose (not a septum piercing, just the nostril), do you thinkthat's too many at once or that it's better to get them all done at once(I'm not sure when I'll be able to get more)
Please let me know what you think. Thanks! :)
Hi Sara, and thanks for writing in.

Well, I'm sure everyone has different reasons for having fake eyebrows. In Goth you'll see people doing it more often probably the same reason people here dye their hair more often than non-Goths: we draw inspiration from each other. When enough people do their eyebrows a certain way, they become inspiration for more people to do the same. Here are a few more reasons:

  1. They think their natural brow shape doesn't suit them (that's why I keep mine plucked, anyway)
  2. They might change their hair color often and want to be able to match their eyebrows more easily
  3. It makes you look super other-wordly 
  4. You have a lot of options for different fun looks (dotted brows, stickers, etc.)
That's not to say that not shaving off your brows is un-Goth, obviously not everyone does, but that should provide some explanation. 

Going from dark near-black hair to proper black shouldn't be hard at all! But yes, it will make a difference in your hair. Most black dyes that are available now have a slight blue tinge to them, so the tone is different as well as the shade. I think it compliments a lot of Goth looks quite well (I say, having just dyed my hair black again recently and having had black hair for over four years now), but if you're unsure try a semi-permanent or vegetable based dye that should fade sooner just to get an idea of how "true" black looks on you.

There's no reason not to get your nostril and cartilage done at the same time, it might even be cheaper depending on your piercer. However, I would caution you against doing both cartilages at the same time. It can be a slow healing process and they're known for being quite sore piercings, and you'll want to keep one ear free for sleeping on/resting your head on, etc. Even if you don't usually sleep on your side, you never know, and ear pain is the worst. 

I hope I was helpful and answered some of your questions! Readers, if you draw your eyebrows on, why do you do it? And what advice do you have for taking the plunge and dyeing your hair truly black?

And remember, if you have a question you'd like me to answer, go to my contact page or send me an e-mail at


  1. There's plenty of style subsets that don't do the eyebrow thing. I don't really have the time to draw on eyebrows every day. When I did, I'd shave half of them you can still do crazy designs, but if you don't feel like doing them one day, at least you have some eyebrows.

    1. That's quite a good compromise, I think, and it keeps you from looking completely bizarre and naked first thing in the morning when you don't have eyebrows at all.

  2. I thought the shaved/plucked eyebrows was a reference to certain works of art. The Mona Lisa, for example, has no [significant] eyebrows. I've also seen a shaved/plucked hairline on occasion, which I assume is also in imitation of the high-forehead look of some women in Renaissance artworks. Here's a page on Renaissance beauty ideals that mentions both the high forehead and thin eyebrows.

    This might be indirect, but of course Renaissance art influenced Art Nouveau and a lot of other, later, art movements, so I wouldn't be surprised that unexpected elements of it might show up in fashion.

    1. I hadn't really thought about that! I don't know if that's most people's immediate inspiration, but the historical trickle-down is pretty interesting. :)

  3. I draw my eyebrows on because I had horrible acne as a teen/young adult, and that's where most of it was, and plucking was the only way to get rid of the zits! Not all of the hair grew back, so rather than look ridiculous, I kept them plucked and drew on my brows. I do like the fact that I can change the shape whenever I want and however I want, that IS a plus! But if you have nice brows that compliment your face, I don't think you NEED to pluck or shave them.

    1. Oh, man, if my eyebrows stopped growing back after I pluck them I'd be so happy, but yes I agree! Natural brows can be extremely flattering on people.

  4. I wouldn't be too worried about dyeing your hair black. The first time I did mine it faded back to brown in about 4 washings, and the box said "permanent". Everyone's hair is different, but in my experience it doesn't really stick until it's been dyed 2 or 3 times.

    1. Really? That hasn't been my experience at all, but I'm sure your right and it is different from person to person.

  5. I look terrible with black hair. I'd advise if they do dye their hair black make sure you know whether you are warm toned or cold toned and to match the dye to that. Warmed (red based dyes) do fade faster though. And admittedly, they look worse when faded in my opinion.

    Oh, and do a strand test! Or dye parts of your hair (close to your face, if you're not sure which tone would suit you) before jumping into a full dye job. Permanent can take much stronger to hair than any semi-permanent.

    But that's just my take. It's not the end of the world to just sit back, experiment with doing it your own way and learning as you go. :3

  6. There are ways to cover your eyebrows and draw them on over it if you want the look at times but want to also keep your own natural eyebrows. Goth is about being an individual. Its okay to copy something you like, but If you do something because you think you have to, to be part of the crowd, you've missed the mark.

  7. I have my natural eyebrows, just plucked thin. If left untamed my eyebrows would sprout in Gandalf proportions, and as I have no intentions of taking up a career as a wizard, I keep them thin, actually quite a bit thinner than necessary because I get a bit paranoid that they'll turn bushy! Drawing on eyebrows level and matching is very hard, and I don't think I could do that successfully, so that's another reason I don't shave them. It's not a Goth pre-requisite, and I don't think anyone's going to deem someone "un-Goth" for having unshaved eyebrows. Goth's about interpreting the dark aesthetic in your own way, so you don't have to do what's currently popular in the subculture.

  8. It seems to be a hard task to shave off your brows and paint them on.. Also, I dislike overplucked brows, because in my opinion they make a woman look like she has a constant ironic expression. I know that when you pluck them you have to be really careful because some brows' hair don't grow back after they are plucked. I pluck mine as much as necessary to look neat and arched. I like them defined, like pin-ups did. And if everyone in the subculture is overplucking their brows, it doesn't mean you have to do it to be a goth.

    Black hair are easy to achieve, especially since they are close to your natural hair colour. I hear that black stays good for longer than other colours.

    And your question about piercings reminded me of something. When I was 10 years old I went to pierce my ears for the first time, and I hurt so much that I pierced only one ear, and returned to pierce the other ear the next day! I believe that a new piercing is painful to a degree, and it's bothering you. Can you stand the pain and get used to two piercings at the same time? Can you take care of them both until they heal?