How to Achieve the "Heroin Chic" Makeup Look

As someone who loves applying makeup and learning new techniques, I love finding new looks to try. Recently, I've been trying the grungy look inspired by the 90's that has been called "heroin chic". While some think this look is dirty and uninspired, when done correctly, I think it can give a very edgy, cool look.The makeup I like to use is listed below the instructions!

  1. Foundation: Apply foundation first. To properly apply it, wet a makeup sponge until it is damp (not soaking) and apply foundation all over the face, blending it outward. The best way I have found to do this is to spot the face before rubbing the makeup in so it is more even. There should not be very much foundation, it should be light and should not be seen.
  2. Contouring and Highlighting Cheekbones: The heroin chic look is known partially for the prominent cheekbones and sunken cheeks. You don't want to overdo it, but contouring and highlighting can give the edgy look. Using a deeper colored bronzer or contouring base and a slanted blush brush, apply just below the cheek bone and curve upwards against the nose. Blend the contour makeup so it is not too obvious. To highlight, a light shimmering powder or blush can be used on the cheekbones. Again, it shouldn't be too obvious.
  3. Eyeshadow: The eyes are the most obvious part of this look. While the other makeup should be understated, the eyes should be heavily made up in browns. I like to dip my shadow brush or applicator in a little bit of water or foundation to give it a thicker, wetter look. After applying a foundation base, apply an eyeshadow that is about the same color as your eyelid. Then, using a dark brown (preferably one that is not sparkly or shiny), apply it heavily over your top eyelid, but only on the bottom fold. Then, blend outward to the crease of your eye. You can also use a brown eyeliner and smudge it for a more dramatic look. Then, apply brown eyeliner or more shadow under your eye and smudge it using your fingertip or a Q-tip.
  4. Eyeliner: Depending on your preference, eyeliner can be used but is not necessary. I use a dark black eyeliner in the wet strip of my eye, but others prefer a dark brown.
  5. Mascara: Mascara should also be applied heavily, but shouldn't be too thick or clumpy.
  6. Lipstick/ gloss: Depending on how dramatic you want the look to be, a nude or deep red lipstick can be used. I prefer a nude lipstick, but crimson colors also work well for this look.

NARS NARS Pure Matte Lipstick - Tashkent
NARS NARS Pure Matte Lipstick - Tashkent

This nude lipstick is the best, it goes on matte and can be blended with a gloss or other color for a more natural look.

Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm Gothic by Revlon
Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm Gothic by Revlon

For a more dramatic look, this stain is the best. I prefer it over a lipstick because it requires much less reapplication and has a deeper, less tacky appearance.

L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara, Carbon Black, 0.27 Ounces
L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Mascara, Carbon Black, 0.27 Ounces

I use this mascara. Any brand can work, really, but for short lashes this mascara is great. It makes lashes appear longer and more dramatic without being gaudy.


After you are done applying everything, use a translucent powder to set the makeup. Have fun and leave comments about my technique and what makeup you use!

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