With the dress, the shoes, the bag (and maybe even the date) picked out, prom still wouldn’t be complete without the perfect makeup. Great prom makeup highlights individual features, whether it’s over-the-top glamour or something more simple and refined. It pops in photos and on the dance floor.
Maria Christina Costa, a professional makeup artist on Thumbtack, recently dropped by our office to show us how to achieve trending prom looks for the big night.
One thing to keep in mind, Christina says, is that makeup this year is more glowing and healthy.
“Everyone is rebelling against the contouring and thick makeup and going lighter and fresher,” says Christina. “The looks are more natural and pretty with a big pop of color.”
Still, she says you should do your makeup however you want. After all, the key to looking good is feeling confident. Read on for six trends fit for a queen, as well as Christina’s advice for what to bring in your handbag on prom night.
Dewy Skin That Glows
For girls who want to go for the “pretty and natural” look, Christina recommends using a liquid or cream iridescent illuminizer to get skin that looks dewy. It goes well on the cheeks or mixed in with BB or CC cream for an all over “fairy” glow.
“If you have great skin, don’t put too much foundation on,” she says. “No foundation can ever look as good as amazing natural skin.”
She recommends applying illuminizer first, then pressing a cream blush or lipstick onto cheeks and eyelids, and finally lightly dusting the T-zone with an oil absorbing powder.
Colorful Smoky Cat Eyes
Christina says smoky cat eyes are always popular, but edgy girls are taking it a step further with colorful eyeliners. “Because it’s spring, there’s a pastel vibe,” she says. To get the look, use white gel eyeliner to create a cat eye and then press a pastel eyeshadow on top of it. Any pastel colors will work, but Christina likes powder blues, purples, or even a bright pink. “Then you just add lashes and a nude lip with a little bit of sheen so that the color on the eyes really pops.”
You can get a similar effect by using an intense eyeshadow color. “Instead of a pearlescent shadow, use fuchsia, pink, bright orange, or bright blue right in the center of the lid; it’s intense, but that’s very in for spring and early summer.” Use a transitional color, like a taupe, in the crease, and then “just add lashes.”
Another fun twist on the smoky eye is to add a drop shadow in a brighter color. “For example, if you’re wearing a green dress and doing a smoky shadow, put a green emerald shadow right under your eye.”
Keeping the eyes, lips, cheeks, and dress all within one shade family is very popular right now, Christina says. “You can do a pink dress, pink rosy lip, pink cheeks, and pink shadow, or a glittery dress and eye makeup with gold flecks on the cheek.”
Christina advises asking a professional to help pick out the right shades for each person’s coloring — otherwise the monochromatic look can make them look washed out or, even worse, like they’re not feeling well.
Glossy lids are an alluring look that are popping up everywhere and they work really well for photoshoots, but Christina cautions that they’re a lot of upkeep for an event like prom. Still, if that’s the look you want, she says you just need to remember to keep blending throughout the night.
How to achieve it? Put eye color on and then put Vaseline or a glowing balm over it. “It turns it into an instant eye slick that’s glowing and editorial,” she says. “But 30 minutes to an hour later, you’re going to see a crease.” There are glossy lid makeups out there (Milk has one called Eye Vinyl), but even then Christina says you’re going to have to keep blending it out, so just be sure you’re committed to that before choosing it as your look.
A Bold Lip and Flirty Lashes
A bold red, magenta, or fuschia lip looks great with a wash of champagne shimmer on the lids, Christina says. The key to a great bold lip though is all in the prep. First, do a lip scrub. Create a mixture of coarse ground sugar and honey and rub it all over lips to exfoliate them and make them smooth. After that, moisturize with balm. Then, stain the lips. Christina says she likes Benefit’s Benetint.
“That way if the lipstick starts to drift, your lip is already stained, so you can’t really tell it’s coming off.” Next, apply the lipstick and then make the line crisper by applying concealer around the lip followed by a hit of translucent powder. “It makes a wall, so the lipstick can’t run.”
Lashes … with a Pop of Color
“Lashes aren’t as huge and fake as they were last year,” Christina says, though false lashes are still in high demand. They automatically frame and draw attention to the eyes.
Something different to try for 2017: apply a pink or glitter mascara at the tips of the lashes for a pop of color. “Put the color on your bottom lashes, or just at the tip of the top lashes. It looks very glam.”
Checklist: 5 Prom Essentials to Carry in Your Clutch
Whatever the prom look, it’s important to pack a few essentials. If there’s room in your bag, you can’t go wrong with adding in a few extras, just in case of a hair or makeup emergency.
Most prom-goers cover their bases by bringing touch-ups (lip gloss, lash glue, eyeliner, perfume rollerball). That’s a good start, but some items might be even more important in a beauty emergency.
Here are five essentials to carry, care of makeup artist and Thumbtack pro Maria Christina Costa:
- Rose water spray: Refreshes and re-seals your makeup if it gets too powdery.
- Colgate Wisps (travel toothbrush): Scrubs lipstick off front teeth and great for after nibbling on food.
- Travel hairspray: Tames those flyaways!
- Lash glue (for false lashes): Critical when eyelid oils loosen up glue on the lash line.
- Extra earring backings: A lifesaver when dancing, posing for photos, and greeting friends jostles your earrings.
See more inspiration on hair to match the makeup on Facebook.