Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reader Question: Neutral Goth Eyes

Hello Mary Rose, I hope you don't mind my asking but do you know of any goth makeup looks I could do with neutral brown eyeshadow palettes? My mother works for a makeup company and she is able to get a lot of make up for me, but I have sooooo many brown and taupe shades that I don't have a use for. I don't want to throw them out. Ideas?

Hi Alex! Neutral colors aren't the most exciting for your Goth look, but they can be useful in and of themselves. Lighter colors like cream and ivory can be used to high light under your brows or along your tear duct in a more natural way than just using stark white, and many people use eyeshadow to fill in their brows. Matte browns can be used with a fluffy brush to contour your face, and lighter colors with or without shimmer make good high-lighters.


Another option is to use neutral colors alongside other colors in one look. For example, a light brown eyeshadow over the lid that then blends into a deep purple will make the purple pop. A cream eyeshadow on the lid with red eyeshadow lined along the lash line and blending out into black in the crease would also create a spooky look. So, don't feel pressured that just because you have a quad of colors you need to use only those. Mixing it up and playing with combinations will help you create wonderful looks. And, hey, neutrals match everything, right?


As for full-fledged Goth looks with all brown-ish colors, you definitely have some options. As I've said before on this blog, the more Goth aspects you remove from a look the more the other aspects of your look have to hold up the Goth aesthetic. So, amp up other aspects of your look to balance the un-Goth colors out.


In this look, the eyes are done in neutral colors but the exaggerated shapes of the eyebrows and corners of the eyes keep the look Gothic. Of course, it helps if you have other Goth-associated elements like piercings, exagerated V-bangs, and an awesome black outfit.

Or you could also add tons of black and make a dramatic smoky eye look.


While most Goths that I've seen don't necessarily obey this rule, some people hold that you should emphasize either your eyes or your lips in a look (so you wouldn't do a dramatic smokey eye and a bright red lip.) While I'm not one for "beauty rules" in particular, I do think using a neutral eye look would be a great excuse to wear  a red, purple, or black lip. Personally I think purples and browns look good together.

If you want to use the neutral colors as a basis, adding winged eyeliner or interesting lipstick will work to add Goth elements to the look.

So, readers, how do you use neutral colors in your makeup?

ETA December 2015: The amazing Drac Makens over on youtube now has an entire series of Gothic makeup looks centered around neutral eye makeup. Check them out here!


  1. This is a great topic (and your response was very well thought-out)! Personally I steer away from brown neutrals as I'm too pale and they look quite a bit like poop on me. However a good matte taupe transition shade helps almost all eye looks appear more..professionally/skillfully applied I guess. And a light champagne/taupe colour on the main lid combined with a deep burgundy/navy in the crease is a great way to wear colour.

  2. Very interesting! Actually the last look, the 'exaggerated smoky eyes' is exactily how I usually do my eyes for special occasions. Glittery white in the tearduct, half the eyelid and some under my eyes blended with dark brown in half the eyelid and the crease. Over that I put on winged eyeliner to do dramatic cat eyes and also some eyeliner under my eyes

  3. This looks inspiring, I am sure I'll make use of the photos you have posted! I also think the core of success is to choose brown/neutral shades that match your skin colour and don't make you look tired

  4. This was a very helpful post as I often feel a little less true to the goth aesthetic when wearing brown/natural shadows. I have found my favourite way to wear them would be just as you described. Brown shadow to contour the eyes, blacked wing eyeliner, dark brows and a perfect blood red lipstick. Any less common colour like blue, purple and black also look great but red always is nice to feel like Morticia.

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