What is Emo Make up?

Henry Gaudet

As a style, emo draws inspiration from punk and goth culture, and emo make up may appear similar to the classic goth look, especially to people not belonging to either of these subcultures. Heavy mascara, eyeliner, and pale foundation are commonly used to achieve the emo look. Although the goth and emo styles share some elements, the emo look is more colorful and not so dark, either in pallet or mood, often including playful touches like glitter or hearts.

Heavy mascara and pale foundation are commonly used to achieve the emo look.
Heavy mascara and pale foundation are commonly used to achieve the emo look.

For the uninitiated, emo is a style of music which has grown into a subculture. Emo, short for emotional, is similar to punk, but instead of punk’s angry intensity, emo is more introspective. Like other music inspired styles, emo has developed its own dress code and fashion, including emo make up.

The emo look begins with foundation. Either a powder or liquid foundation is fine. The object is to make the face appear even and pale, and hiding those blemishes is crucial for achieving that emo look. Blusher is not generally used.

Emo make up focuses primarily on the eyes. Heavy mascara is commonly used, with pencil or liquid eyeliners to make the eyes stand out. Eyeliner is applied above and below the eye, and may be applied more than once to draw a thicker line around the eye. Usually, black eyeliner is used, but other dark colors may be used.

Eyeshadow is another important element. Dark colors are commonly used, but bright neon tones may be used as well, and colors may be paired up for contrast. Black and red are commonly used together.

Shadow may be used below the eye as well for a theatrical look. Brighter tones are often used here to contrast dark colors used on the upper lid, although dark shadow used on the lower lid can also achieve a dramatic look. Depending on the shade selected, emo make up can look exotic, brooding, or even red rimmed for a angst-ridden appearance.

Dark lipsticks are often selected for the emo look. Deep reds or purples are commonly used. Emo is all about the eyes though, and pale or sheer lipstick will give lips a more subtle look that won’t distract attention from the eyes. Similar strategy applies to the nails, either dark dramatic colors or subtle clear varnish may be chosen.

Make up can be used by both genders for an emo look, and there are only slight variations in the way boys and girls apply their emo make up. Boys generally require less to achieve an emo look, and can focus almost entirely on the eyes. Extras like lipstick and nail varnish can be used if desired, but are entirely optional.

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