Gothic hairstyles guide: Backcombing, Victorian, hair falls and more. Which gothic hairstyle are you? Choose the gothic hairstyle that best suits you from the list below and see how to attain it…
Gothic hairstyles in the 80s were huge, and achieved mucho volume through backcombing – Robert Smith of the Cure and Siouxsie Sioux were vanguards of backcombed goth hair. Goths loved their black (and indeed blue-black) hair dye but won’t afraid to embrace the hair dye, particularly red and purple.
Gothic hairstyles have striking shapes and a touch of romanticism, much like a well-cut jet-black damask frock coat. Most gothic hairstyles need a fair bit of maintenance (crimping, straightening, backcombing) but the good news is that most goth hair is very flexible – you can have one natural look and change it on a daily basis to achieve a myriad of goth styles.
Gothic hairstyles are fairly timeless since they always aimed to be both from the future and from a romanticised, fang-marked past. Basically, goth hairstyles aim for height (think explosions of hair falls or backcombing), or they aim for sleekness (think virginal maiden running through vampire-infested woods), or they aim for a punk crossover…
Backcombing works on both fine and thick hair, but needs a lot of product to keep its height and volume. Crimping can be used on select areas of your hair to get the witchy / early Lolita-cute Strawberry Switchblade look. If you’re brave enough to shave, you can start by shaving your hair underneath so that your shaved areas are revealed when you wear your hair high, but hidden when you want your tresses back and wear your existing hair down. Hair falls are wonderful for women with short hair and/or cybergoths – you can go for a few hair falls, perfect for accentuating a gothic hairstyle or wearing up, or a full head of hair falls for.
If you have long, heavy hair, you can add a textured, layered cut to your hair – this will help backcombing and other elements of gothic hairstyles stay in longer as there’ll be less weight to pull your hairstyle down.
Gothic hairstyles for girls…
The Dark Rapunzel
Long, straight, glossy raven gothic locks. The heavier and blacker, the better (although blue-black is also popular).
Goth’s answer to the punk Mohawk. The deathhawk can be dyed various colours.
The Uncle Fester
That’s right – shave the whole lot off. Usually seen on guys, but some girls are brave enough to bare all. (No, not like that, you perv.) If you leave a tuft at the front and dye it (preferably green), you’ve got the goth’s answer to Tank Girl.
The Plastic Fantastic
Hair falls and various gothic hair extensions are beloved of cybergoths. Nobody will know what your real hair looks like – it’s buried under a mass of extensions or falls. Looks best with goggles.
Similar to the Dark Rapunzel, except usually red, blue, purple, green, orange or pink. Also a bit more laid-back than the Dark Rapunzel – this is one of the few gothic hairstyles that can be wavy instead of poker-straight. Pictured here is The Amazing Race’s pink-haired gothic beauty Vyxsin (and partner Kynt).
Pink or orange Victorian Industrial ringlets, as inspired by the singer, violinist and pianist Emilie Autumn.
What you get when you cross the Dark Rapunzel with the Vivid – a long and dark gothic hairstyle with brightly-coloured streaks.
The famous ‘pineapple-head’ barnet of Cruxshadows frontman Rogue – shaven at the sides then exploding into backcombing and dreads.
The Gothic Lolita
Ringlets with a blunt fringe. Blonde, black and blue-black are popular colours for goths, but colour-addicts and cute Lolitas may choose to explore the rainbow.
Named for the bizarrely-shaped fringe – either short and straight across (hence ‘Spock’) or forming a point between the eyebrows. Sleek bobs can be quite popular with goths – they have a touch of 1920s flapper to them, and also a touch of dom unless the cute bob is aimed for. As goth hairstyles go, the Spock is easy to maintain, whether the fringe adorns long hair or a bob. For a traditionally Goth look, you can straighten your locks with a hair straightener, then add shine with a hair polish gel or back comb to get plenty of volume. You can also use hair wax to build constructs into your hair – horns, spikes and whatnot.
Very rare amongst diehard goths is the natural look – non-dyed, non weirdly-styled hair. However, goth is as much about the clothes you wear, the colour you wear them in, the poetry you read, the drink you drink and the love you have for Autumn. In our own way we’re aiming to say that the Gothic outlook outweighs the need for a particular gothic hairstyle, and most goths start with the Natural.
Works well with dark or natural hair. Use hair rollers to pin loose curls around your head and let some loose curls hang gently round the nape of your neck. Or use rags and sugar-water (or the modern equivalent) for tight ringlets. Or form two long plaits and secure them at the crown of your head in a plaited halo. A formal look, speaking either of widow or Victorian slightly loli-based schoolgirl. Carry your french grammar book around to make the look complete.
The Cure’s Robert Smith Back combing is a huge look for gothic hairstyles and produces huge results. Enough said.