Beauty News

The rise and rise of gothcore: A deep dive

Model wears gothic style eye make up with silver earrings

With the likes of Kravis (that’s Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, for the uninitiated), Doja Cat, Olivia Rodrigo and more leading the way, spurred on by the release of Netflix’s Wednesday in 2022 and — let’s not forget — the total grunge-fest that was this year’s Grammy Awards, the gothcore trend has well and truly taken over our TikTok feeds, wardrobes and make up bags, too. 

But the gothcore trend isn’t new. Forming in the mid-seventies off the back of the punk rock movement which dominated the sixties (special mention to Vivienne Westwood, here), the goth scene was born of a musical taste but soon evolved into more of a treat for the eyes than the ears.  

On the catwalk, iconic fashion designers including Alexander McQueen and Rick Owens have owned the gothcore trend, creating masterpieces that truly define the aesthetic. Take Gucci’s A/W 2002 collection, for example, which showcased a plethora of black velvet and satin. Similarly, Maison Margiela’s A/W 2015 catwalk paired head to toe black lace with latex gloves and corsage chokers, while Marc Jacob’s Spring 2014 offering took a more Victorian-esque approach with a buttoned high-neck mesh dress. 

From dark (preferably black) clothing to tattoos and piercings, alternative hair styles and shock-factor make up, the gothcore trend is certainly recognisable — as are the subcultures it has inspired, such as cyber goth, vampire goth and bubble goth. Whatever goth you want to channel (we’re suckers for the timeless trad goth look), the ways in which you can get involved are almost infinite. And the array of famous faces who’ve joined in on it is evidence of that. If Kourtney can do it, so can all of us.  

So, when it comes to gothcore beauty, here’s how you can make the trend your own… 



Gothcore wouldn’t be gothcore without heavy-on-the-shadow eye make up (think: a smokey eye, but smokier). A one palette wonder when it comes to nailing the gothcore trend, Huda Beauty’s aptly named Pretty Grunge selection is brimming with shades — like ‘Renegade’ and ‘Strong AF’ — that were quite simply made for this. Also boasting gothcore-worthy shades is the Mothership V: Seduction Palette from Pat McGrath Labs, while Charlotte Tilbury’s Luxury Palette – The Rock Chick offers a softer entry point for those wanting to test out the trend without fully committing. 



As with your eye make up, to achieve the gothcore look, you need a dark lip too. Try a punchy red pout á la Christian Louboutin Beauty’s Matte Fluid Lip Colour in ‘Aimanta’ (housed in a vessel that couldn’t be more on trend if it tried) or a deep plum courtesy of the Soft Matte Lip Cream in ‘Copenhagen’ from NYX. And don’t forget to line your lips with Natasha Denona’s I Need A Rouge Lip Crayon in ‘Emilia’ for a precisely defined and smudge-proof pout. 



Your gothcore makeover is almost complete… now it’s time to match your eyes and lips to your nails. Quite literally epitomising the gothcore aesthetic, NAILS.INC’s NailPure in ‘Victoria’ is a dark and dreamy blend of deep red and black, but you can also opt for an all-black polish with the ‘Black Taxi’ shade from the brand’s Gel Effect range. 



Complete your look with a bit (or rather, a lot) of backcombing — a signature of the trad goth aesthetic. Promising maximum results, the namesake Maximista Thickening Spray from Oribe  instantly imparts body and lift, as does Color Wow’s Raise the Root Spray, which provides long-lasting oomph without stiffness or stickiness. Alternatively, go for a sleeker ‘do (favoured by more recent sporters of the gothcore trend, Kourtney and Olivia) with a nourishing hair oil like the Naturelab Tokyo Perfect Shine Oil Mist. 


Jade Biggs

Jade Biggs

Senior Copywriter

Having spent much of her career in the world of glossy magazines, Jade is one of Cult Beauty's Senior Copywriters. As well as a passion for all-things-words (she can — and will, if asked — write a dissertation on fake tan), she has heaps of skin care and beauty know-how (including how to achieve the perfect winged eyeliner again and again... and again). When she’s not applying fake tan or admiring her knife-sharp liner, she’s an adoring mum to four feline fur babies, hunting down inspiration for her next set of acrylic nails or watching endless episodes of reality TV.

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