Gothic Drag by Layla McKay

Drag makeup isn’t just a “guy thing”. As makeup artist Layla McKay shows us, the kingdom of drag, at its heart, is totally gender-neutral. Yes — it’s much bigger than dudes trying to look glam — its a universal form of self-expression, one that lets us all basically say, “hey world, here I am!” . Yet, unlike standard drag makeup, Layla gives us something different: she adds a touch of goth! By dipping drag into a naughty bit of darkness, we get a mysterious new way of seeing beauty.

Sharp lines and raw, uninhibited color is the name of the goth game for Layla. When playing up her eyes, she tends to shadow her lower eyelids, along with the top ones, creating an emo-inspired panda eye technique. Usually she’ll make it very deep and dusky, while other times, she’ll use a statement color like lime or sky blue. Yet sometimes she’ll even change that up and mismatch the lower and upper lid colors -- the impact is striking!

Refusing to play by the makeup rules is Layla’s thing—especially when it comes to brows! She teaches brow-fanatics a thing or two about design, showing us that brows don’t always have to be perfectly polished to be WOW. Occasionally, she ditches the brow makeup completely, and instead, fades them out to create a doll-like gothic look. In other creations, she may only lightly accent her brows for a barely-there effect, focusing the drama on other features, like eyes and lips.

And yes, then there’s her famous lips! And boy, she knows exactly what to do with them. She’ll do matte, contoured, nude, black — there’s never a dull lip moment. Her most common choices are a pale beige or liquid black, which work well with her gothic-themed drag. She even integrates punk accessories to push this image further with hoop earrings, chokers, nose rings and ear stretchers. Or when she’s feeling extra committed, she uses zombie-ish contact lenses for an extra dose of freak -- now that’s what we call gothic drag!

You can follow Layla’s transformation tutorials on her YouTube channel. Even if goth or drag aren’t your “things”, you can still learn a lot about alternative makeup techniques. As any true makeup connoisseur knows, it’s better to be well-rounded — and besides, who knows when being able to create a jet black lip will come in handy?