A new 'Corpse Paint' makeup palette is facing novel criticism: goth cultural appropriation

A new 'Corpse Paint' makeup palette is facing novel criticism: goth cultural appropriation
  • E.l.f. Cosmetics partnered with Liquid Death to create a "Corpse Paint" palette of makeup.

  • The coffin-shaped palette is intended to "create drop-dead gore-geous looks" often worn by goths.

  • The release, featuring mainstream beauty influencers, has drawn ire from lifestyle goths online.

The normies are coming for corpse paint, and the goths are pissed about it.

E.l.f. Cosmetics and Liquid Death canned water on Tuesday announced the launch of Corpse Paint, a new, coffin-shaped makeup palette intended to create "drop-dead gore-geous looks" a dramatic black and white look often sported by goths.

The $34 kit includes a "Wispy Cloud" colored cream eyeshadow to apply all over the face, with black lipstick and eyeliner to complete the bold look.

The ad campaign for the palette features two typical teen girls decked out in pastels, ogling a picture in a magazine of a celebrity dressed similarly to a member of the rock band Kiss. He magically springs from the page to offer them the cosmetic kit, and voilà, they immediately transform into pale-faced, black-eyed corpse paint pros.

And the lifestyle goths on social media aren't having it.

In comments on the ad posted to YouTube, a corpse paint purist complained the trendy palette would divorce the look from its black-metal roots. On TikTok, a creator draped in all black and dark eye makeup lamented the creation by e.l.f., writing on a video of herself wagging her finger at the camera that "the normies are gonna buy it now." Others called the ad "lazy" and slammed it for relying on "every single possible alternative metalhead stereotype" to sell the product.

Brittany Ludwig, a creator who makes videos under the TikTok handle @tasteofblud, ranted about how the cosmetic brand should have been marketed by "a real corpse paint girlie" such as herself.

"My gripe is: why wasn't this sent to someone who does corpse paint?" Ludwig said in her video, suggesting that the product launch could have amplified the reach of indie creators and working makeup artists like herself instead of featuring mainstream beauty influencers like Trisha Paytas. "Why was it sent to just the random girlies, all the beauty influencers? Is corpse paint about beauty influencing? I don't think so."

No shade to Paytas, Ludwig said, but "I think we should have real corpse paint girls involved with this."

Ludwig, who works as a makeup artist specializing in looks like corpse paint, told Business Insider she didn't necessarily think it should be exclusively indie creators who should have marketed this campaign but that e.l.f. should have included alternative creators like Reby Hardy for an authentic touch.

Hardy and Paytas did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

"I feel like as working makeup artists, we don't get credit for the work we do because the influencers get all of the products and promotion," Ludwig told Business Insider. "I work Halloween events and I work with black metal bands. I also do this on myself quite often and I was just saying that I should get a chance to promote this type of product. Logically, I know this would never happen, but it would be nice for working makeup artists and the goth community to get some recognition."

But as much as the real goths may mourn the exclusivity of their extreme cosmetics, the normies are loving it: The kit sold out in less than an hour, and most of the limited-run palettes almost certainly ended up in the hands of mainstream MUAs.

Representatives for e.l.f. Cosmetics and Liquid Death did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

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