Prom is your chance to express your style like never before. There’s the dress, the shoes, the hairstyle, and (of course) your prom makeup. Thankfully, there’s no need to break the bank on getting your makeup done professionally, because you can give yourself the a stunning look right at home. Not only does DIY prom makeup let you test things out ahead of time, it also gives you full control over your final look, so you know you’ll end up with something you love.
Plus, it can be a lot of fun to experiment with prom makeup looks, especially if your entire squad commits to doing it together. And the best part? You probably already have everything you need sitting in your bathroom cabinet.
Here, we’ve gathered makeup-artist approved 15 tips to help you create a stunning look for prom without having to leave your bathroom (cue much more time for step-by-step mirror selfies to commemorate the evening). After the tips, we’ll dive into specific prom makeup ideas and give you looks to recreate. Consider this your go-to guide for all things prom makeup — we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!
15 Prom Makeup Tips
1. Use Your Prom Dress As Makeup Inspiration
“Once you figure out what you’re wearing, you can start planning” says celebrity makeup artist Spencer Barnes. “This will inform the overall vibe and help you decide if the cut of your dress will work better with your hair up or down. When you know the color and style of your outfit, you can begin formulating a solid idea.”
2. Mood Board It
“Start saving pictures of styles you like,” says celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg, who works with Rashida Jones, Kaley Cuoco, and Alicia Silvertsone. “You can make literal collages from magazines or do it electronically.”
3. Do A Makeup Test
“Before any big event, I recommend doing makeup tests, like makeup artists would before a shoot,” says makeup artist Tonya Crooks. “A day before the event, do your entire makeup routine as you would for prom to make sure everything works together.”
4. Do A Photo Check
“Try testing your look with a flash photo before leaving to be sure that your makeup will look the way you hope it does in photos,” says Spencer. “Make sure your body matches the tone of your face. Sometimes a little bronzer is necessary to warm the face and neck to match the body.” Tonya agrees: “Take a picture with flash after you apply to make sure you don’t get any flashback. Nothing is worse than looking fab in person, and realizing you’re Casper on Instagram the next day.”
5. Moisturize Properly
“Nothing too groundbreaking, but a little tip people often forget is to let the moisturizer sit on your skin for at least 15 minutes before applying any makeup,” says Tonya. “This will ensure the product is fully absorbed, and once your skin is hydrated, makeup will apply much more evenly and soak into the skin, creating an airbrushed effect!”
6. Use A Face Mask
“A face mask is a great idea a couple days before the big day,” says celebrity makeup artist Daniel Chinchilla. “You could even go get samples if you don’t have the money to buy a mask. Try the Origins Charcoal Mask. It will help clean out your pores and give you soft skin. Healthy skin makes makeup look so much better!”
7. Don’t Leave Any Beauty Treatments To The Last Minute
“Don’t wait until the night of your event to do a major beauty treatment — like waxing, tweezing, peels, facials, self-tanning, or extractions — but do plan to do any treatments 3-5 days beforehand to ensure that your skin has calmed down and adjusted,” says Spencer. “It’s also a good idea to handle manis and pedis the day before, so you get to enjoy as much of your big night as possible.”
8. Test Fake Lashes Out Beforehand
“If you are thinking of trying out false lashes, I don’t recommend waiting until the night of to attempt this for the first time,” says Spencer. “It’s a good idea to shop and try a few styles so that you are comfortable with the application, the finished look, and feel.”
9. Use The Right Tools
“Great makeup starts with the right tools,” says celebrity makeup artist Jill Powell. “Every teen should invest in a quality set of brushes that vary in size, density and shape — each tailored for a specific purpose. I love Sigma brushes because they are high quality, come in a huge range of options, and are available both individually and in sets. Must-haves to create a perfect look include a foundation brush, blush brush, contour brush, fluffy powder brush, angled brow and liner brush, flat eyeshadow brush, fluffy blending brush, and a small detail and smudge brush.”
10. Apply Foundation The Right Way
“The key to long-lasting makeup is making sure you set your foundation properly,” says Daniel. “Use a tapered brush, like the Sigma F25 Tapered Face Brush, to press a translucent powder onto the face. Press the powder on so that you don’t move the foundation; it will create a subtle, matte finish. When you properly set your makeup, sweat will sit on top of the powder and you can simply dab it off with tissue!”
11. Layer Your Blush
“A trick to make your blush last is to layer cream and powder blushes,” says celebrity makeup artist Vanessa Scali, whose clients include Christina Hendricks and Anna Kendrick. “This can add extra dimension and give the color more staying power. Remember to always use a translucent powder before applying powder blush. Otherwise, any dry or oily areas are going to grab the pigment of the colored powder resulting in uneven, blotchy application.”
12. Opt For Long-Lasting Lipstick
“Avoid using lipsticks that aren’t long wearing,” says Daniel. “You don’t want your lip color to run, and you don’t want to have to worry about touching up all the time.” He suggests Merle Norman’s Kiss & Hug Gloss for all-night wear.
13. Play Around With Body Makeup
“Apply lotion to your arms, decolletage, and legs — and dust on some subtle shimmer or bronzing powder for added definition, strobing, and dimension,” says Spencer. “This can also help keep your skin looking even and fresh.”
14. Choose a Prom Look that Makes You Happy
“Have fun and do what makes you comfortable,” says Tonya. “This is YOUR prom night, so if you’re scared by a lot of makeup, keep it simple! Conversely, if you want to be a disco ball of glitter that night, then go for it! Makeup always looks best when it looks authentic. Do what makes you happy, and you’ll look great and have a fabulous time!”
17 Prom Makeup Ideas and Inspo
There’s no better time to get glammed up, buy a few new products, and try out a daring new look than prom night. Even if no-makeup makeup reigns supreme in your day to day, prom is the time to turn things up. Here, we’ve gathered inspiration from 17 looks that are totally prom-worthy. Check out all the looks — from flawless bronzed skin to bold dark lips — and get tips on how to recreate them yourself.
1. Up In Smoke
Who doesn’t love a good smoky eye? For a look like Kendall Jenner’s, apply the blackest black from your eyeshadow palette in the creases and outer corners of your eye, smudge black liner under the bottom lashes, and finish things off with a clean coat of black mascara. Keep the face super simple with a clean wash of concealer, a little bronzer, and a pinky-nude lip. Pair with a collar for extra Kendall-approved edge.
2. Bold in Blue
Lupita Nyong’o’s shimmering lipstick was all anyone could talk about after the Star Wars: The Force Awakens London premiere. Take a page from her book with MAC Lipmix in Blue and stick to classic black liner and subtly rosy cheeks to let your pretty pout shine.
3. Bronze Medal
If your dress shimmers, consider going full flapper glam. Lily Collins’s brown lip gives her look an old-school vibe, while her smoky eye and messy brows keep things super modern and cool.
4. All That Glitters
If you’re into bold beauty, this is your look. Capture the rock ’n’ roll spirit à la Elle Fanning with black MAC glitter smudged onto lids and undereyes, paint lips pink with a grungy stain, and, finally, polish things off with a sleek blowout.
5. Bond Girl Bombshell
Leave it to Selena Gomez to put a super-modern spin on one of the most iconic retro looks of all. Mimic Bond girls and ‘60s icons like Brigitte Bardot with a black and grey smoky eye, then seal the deal with a creamy lipstick close to the color of your skin.
6. Red Hot
Amandla Stenberg’s matte red lip is perfect for prom: It’s simple, it’s chic, and, best of all, it’s not sticky, so you can avoid the old hair-stuck-to-your-lips look. Apply a long-wear formula like Nudestix Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil and dance the night away!
7. Lash Out
False eyelashes are the epitome of over-the-top glam. Pick a full pair for an Ariana Grande effect and use black lash glue for a more natural look.
8. Earth Angel
It’s always fun to play with big lashes at prom, but if you really want to stand out, consider paring down. With mascara on top lashes only, white eyeliner in her lower water line, brown lipstick, and glowing skin, Gigi Hadid shows us exactly how it’s done.
9. Bright Eyes
Contrast is key for making a beauty scene — as Justine Skye proves in this powdery light blue shadow. For lighter shadows, apply them to your entire lid as well as in the inner corners to make your eyes look bigger and brighter. Finish things off with a glossy nude lip and you’re good to go.
10. Golden Girl
You can never go wrong with a smoky eye and nude lip. Ashley Benson puts a SoCal spin on the classic with a bronze eyeshadow that complements her ombre hair, and tons of black mascara to define her eyes.
11. Berry Cool
Whoever said you couldn’t do a bold eye and lip at the same time has obviously never met Lucy Hale. The key to making this combo cohesive is keeping brows groomed, lashes fanned out (comb through them with a clean mascara brush to eliminate clumps), and a highlighter on cheeks to brighten things up. Oh, and a winning smile definitely doesn’t hurt.
12. Red Carpet Ready
Be ready for professional photographers and selfie cams alike with lightly contoured cheeks, penciled in brows, and long lashes like Shay Mitchell’s! This is the ultimate movie star look — but don’t forget to practice, it’s harder than it looks.
13. Nice and Easy
If you never wear makeup, don’t feel pressured. A little blush and a simple swipe of eyeliner (like Rowan Blanchard sports here) can help you feel festive enough. Practice at home until you figure out what you feel most comfortable with. Come prom night, you’ll be an old pro!
14. Color Club
Trust us on this one, purple lipstick is way easier to wear than it looks. It flatters every skin tone and always turns heads. Copy Keke Palmer’s pretty pout with Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick — and thank us later for the tip.
15. Cat’s Meow
The cat eye will always be cool, but Kristen Stewart’s exaggerated version is a fresh take perfect for prom. Get the look with NYX Epic Wear Eye & Body Liquid Liner in black across your entire lid in a dramatic wing and smudge on the lower lash line for a softer touch. Pull hair back in a messy low bun and finish off with a subtle bronzer.
Related: Ready, Set, Stay! How to Make Your Makeup Last for Prom
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue