Marilyn Manson Reveals He Still Wears Makeup So He Can ‘Transform Quite Easily’

Rocker Marilyn Manson usually takes the stage in a pallor hue and midnight black covering his eyes. But he shared that he doesn’t turn to this look only for the sake of stage drama. Instead, he truly has a passion for makeup artistry, especially because of its transformative nature.

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson |Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns

“I wear makeup because it’s the way I like to look,” he told Fader in 2015. “More like why a woman wears makeup: not in terms of looking feminine but just to look a specific way. Maybe ‘attractive’ is the right word; maybe it’s not the right word. It’s different every day for me. Makeup gives me the ability to transform quite easily.”

Manson also believes being the only man at a business meeting in makeup provides him with a unique segway to generate conversation. “I can say things other people wouldn’t get away with because I’m wearing lipstick,” he said. “It confuses the sh*t out of people, and I think confusing is just a good way to be.”

Marilyn Manson followed his rock heroes’ lead when it came to makeup 

Manson’s early fascination with makeup began with his admiration of ’70s musicians who trended toward the dramatic, like KISS, David Bowie, and Alice Cooper.

“When I was a kid, I used to do the KISS makeup with watercolor paints,” he told Fader in 2015. “I was into KISS mostly because I was told not to listen to it in Christian school. But Alice Cooper and Bowie were more important to me. KISS wore too much of a mask; it was too much kabuki. I wanted to be seen, I just didn’t want to be seen the same way that I was.” 

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Ziggy Stardust first led me to shave off my eyebrows,” he shared, referring to David Bowie’s glam alter ego. “People look at you trying to figure out what’s missing or wrong, and you can do a lot more with makeup when your eyebrows are out of the way.”

Then came the discovery of a mortician’s kit …

Manson’s makeup techniques became more sophisticated during the discovery of a mortician’s kit.

“Seven or eight years ago, I came across a mortician’s makeup kit that had these wax molds for repairing the damaged faces of soldiers whose faces had been blown off,” he said. “It had a lot of very strange items for blending and reconstructing people’s faces after they were dead, and wax noses and wax half-faces. I was very into asymmetry early on.”

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“Every character in history or cinema or stories has that flawed left side; I identify with that,” Manson observed. “I also had a dog with one white eye that died while I was a kid. Who knows where the unconscious mind will take you when it comes to transforming yourself into some sort of monster.”