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How to Apply Emo Makeup

Rave Uno
There is a technique to be followed, when applying makeup to sport a particular look. Too much or too little of one component, be it foundation or eyeshadow, and you end up looking the exact opposite of what you imagined. Scroll below to learn the technique and style involved in wearing makeup for the emo look.
Subcultures are a way of living that are slightly deviant from religious or social cultures. For example, cosplay is a subculture where its members dress up like famous sci-fi or animation characters. The Goth subculture listens to Gothic and deathrock music, has an extreme amount of body piercings and tattoos, and the most outrageous hairstyles ever.
One facet of being in a subculture is looking the part, through attire, hair, and makeup. While most subcultures have their own distinct physical look, attire and style, followers of the emo culture have a very unique look that is not depressive or mainstream at the same time. In this article, learn how to make your face up emo style.

How to Apply Emo Makeup - Girls

Whichever part of your face, be it skin, eyes or lips, the key step on wearing emo makeup, is to keep it simple and understated. There is a fine line between and looking like a wannabe or poser, so don't cross it.


  • The most important part of the emo look are the eyes. They should be smoky and shadowed with a contrast in color tones.
  • First draw a dark border around the eye, both bottom and top parts, should be created. Black is the standard color used but for a unique look, try out different dark shades of blue and brown. Even dark brownish red or raven purple gives a different look.
  • Start with the bottom of your eye. Using eyeliner (for beginners) or an eyepaint brush, paint a thin/medium thick, even line, starting from the inside corner of your eye.
  • Paint as close to your eyelashes as possible and finish the line on the outer side of your eye.
  • Now for the eyelid. Start drawing from the inside corner of your eye, stick close to the lash and end at the outside corner, in a rounded off edge.
  • To provide the shadowy effect, pick an eyeshadow color that either gently complements or contrasts the eyeliner color.
  • For example, pair dove gray or bluish gray eyeshadow with black eyeliner. The brave and the bold can experiment with red or blue eyeshadow or even turquoise.
  • For a cute emo look, use pink eyeshadow. If you are the dark emo type, on the verge of Goth, use purple eyeshadow.
  • Once the eyeliner has dried completely, you can now apply a coat of eye shadow.
  • Do not brush on a thick layer, rather apply a thin but distinct coat of eye shadow on your eyelid.
  • To give off a shadowy shaded look, brush on a thin layer of eye shadow all around your eyes. Try not to apply the eye shadow like a ring around your eye.
  • Once done with the eye shadow, apply 1 coat of mascara for long, rich lashes, as the final touch.


  • Your skin tone should be pale but not white or ghostly. You shouldn't look diseased and emaciated.
  • Try to use a foundation tone that matches your skin tone or is one shade lighter.
  • Lightly powder the face to get a good even skin tone.
  • You can use thicker concealer around the eyes and if you have any skin blemishes like pimples.
  • If your emo skin tone is very pale, apply a little blush to your cheeks but don't overdo it.


  • A very common mistake with applying emo makeup, is to use a lot of heavy dark-colored lipstick. You may feel a rich black colored lipstick will suit your shadowy made-up eyes but you might end up looking like Marilyn Manson!
Your lipstick should be light enough, just to bring a hint of color to your lips. So choose light, natural lip colors, that adds a gloss or tint to your look, depending on your skin tone.Use lip balm or lip gloss instead of lipstick, if you feel like it. If you have a darker skin tone, use a darker shade of lipstick, so your lips are outlined.

How to Apply Emo Makeup - Boys

Before going any further, if you are not comfortable applying makeup as a guy, don't. The key to the male emo look is subtlety. Think Gerald Way of My Chemical Romance or Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. Both celebs sport a classic but subtle emo look.
The steps are:
  • There is no need to use foundation or a powdery base. You can use a skin lightening foundation if you have a tan.
  • Use a dark brown or black eyeliner. Apply a thin line of eyeliner very close to the lash, both above and below the eye.
  • The line should be thin, just to show it is there. Do not apply the liner in a ring-like fashion. You can even just apply the eyeliner above your eyelid and skip the bottom.
  • Do not use contrasting eyeshadow colors, no neon tints or bright colors. A light coat of plain black eyeshadow will do. Use mascara to enhance your eyelashes.
  • Lipstick is completely optional. Use nude or very light shades and just very little of it.
Complete the emo look with black or alternative nail polish and unique accessories like rings, necklaces and bracelets. A piercing is another part of the emo look, either on the nose or the lip. Guys can sport a single eyebrow or ear piercing. Remember that in the end, no matter what you wear on your body or face, it is your attitude that matters and can make or break your look.