Everything Marilyn Manson Has Said About His Makeup

Growing up in Canton, OH, Brian Hugh Warner looked to rock gods like KISS and David Bowie as a way to escape his mundane suburban surroundings. Even before he started a band, and long before he took the nom de rock Marilyn Manson, he was putting on makeup in an attempt to transform into someone new. Although pictures of Manson without makeup are out there (you don’t have to look too hard), it’s rare to see him sans foundation and eyeliner unless he’s working on a project that requires him to be fresh-faced. If he doesn't have to be makeup-free, Manson’s usually powdering up and getting into character. 

While the rocker has had plenty of outlandish looks over the years, his makeup hasn’t changed significantly since the mid-90s - though his budget has undoubtedly upgraded. He might seem mysterious, but Manson loves to talk about his makeup. And if you think this sounds boring, you’ve never read an interview with the mayor of Holy Wood, himself. 

Photo: Patrick Whitaker / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

  • His Mother Used To Dress Him In Wigs And Lipstick

    Before he was the Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn Manson was simply Brian Warner, a kid from Canton, OH. From an early age, Manson's mother encouraged him to try on her wigs and makeup. Manson explained to The Fader

    My mom used to put her wigs and lipstick on me when I was little. I have one weird picture of me as a toddler with an unlit cigarette in my mouth, wearing her blonde wig and a diaper, sitting on the couch. Wonder how I ended up here.

  • He Pocketed Maybelline Eyeliner From Grocery Stores At The Start Of His Career

    Before perfecting the makeup style that would define his look, Manson went through a heavy experimental phase that involved swiping eyeliner and foundation from stores in his free time. In an interview with The Faderhe talked about being a rebel on stage long before he was a well-known public renegade: 

    The early performances I did, I wore Maybelline eyeliner that I would [take] from grocery stores late at night. I had a mild bout of kleptomania in Florida. I [swiped] Max Factor Pan-Cake foundation, which was all-in-one: you just wet a sponge, and you put it on, and done. So when people say, 'Marilyn Manson wears pancake makeup,' technically that was true, though only back in the day. 

  • He Uses Makeup To Express His 'Great Imagination'

    Marilyn Manson is best known as a musician and enemy of polite society, but he also acts and paints. Manson began his creative ventures by decorating his face. He says he's been practicing with makeup since he was young, but before Manson used facial products, he tried watercolors on his skin.  

    Manson told The Fader his interest in painting his face came from a desire to be seen - but not necessarily as the Brian Hugh Warner people knew: 

    I suppose my fascination with makeup comes from me having a great imagination and not being able to contain it just to a piece of paper or a piece of music. When I was a kid, I used to do the KISS makeup with watercolor paints... I wanted to be seen; I just didn't want to be seen the same way that I was.

  • He Wore Blood On Stage Before Switching To Lipstick

    When Brian Warner's alter ego Marilyn Manson was born, the performer was using pancake makeup and eyeliner, but that all changed when a fan pelted him with a bottle in the middle of a show. The glass pierced his chest, and he used it as makeshift lipstick. He liked the look so much that it stuck.

    Manson told The Fader: "Lipstick came a little bit later. Someone threw a bottle at me on stage once. I just cracked my chest with it and rubbed the blood across my mouth."

  • Dennis Hopper's Character In ‘Blue Velvet’ Inspired Him To Wear Lipstick

    When it comes to applying makeup for his stage show, Manson draws inspiration from several eccentric personalities. Notably, he's a fan of one of David Lynch's most terrifying villains. He told Interview that Frank Booth, Dennis Hopper's character in Blue Velvet, showed him how to put on makeup.

    Manson said, "I think it could have been Dennis Hopper portraying Frank Booth in Blue Velvet, and him smearing the lipstick on his face, that inspired me. I was also inspired by Lee Bowery, and, of course, Bowie."

  • He's Been Using The Same Products Since The Mid-'90s
    Photo: Nothing

    He's Been Using The Same Products Since The Mid-'90s

    If you've been following Manson's career since the Antichrist Superstar days, then you've been watching him perform in the same products for well two decade. He told The Fader about the origins of his makeup product selection and how little his arsenal has changed: 

    I think the first makeup I ever paid for was in '95 or '96, before recording Antichrist Superstar. I was in New York for seven months, and I remember going into the MAC store and being very excited. I bought this foundation that they don't make anymore, and lipliner and lipstick. I've been using MAC's Diva lipstick since they invented the color. I haven't really varied since. My makeup kit now is pretty small, about five items. I think limitations make creativity.