Makeup Ideas and Tips For Prom!

Can you believe it’s already the time to start thinking about prom? At this time of year, excited high school juniors and seniors are trying to get everything together for that special night of fun and dancing with friends. But before the fun begins, there is the stress of finding the right dress, the right shoes, the right jewelry, the right boutonnière…. uggghhhhhh!

To lend you a hand during this crazy time, I have compiled some different makeup “looks” for you to choose from to look extra, super good on prom night! Keep in mind that your unique features, personality, preferences, and dress color will most likely dictate the different hues of eye shadow and lipstick you’ll apply. Have fun creating an elegant prom guise with some of these stunning glam looks!

Please keep in mind that my advice comes from my experience as a fashion model. I tend to believe that the “runway” looks are better for evening events (like prom) than the “print” looks you find in magazines. Runway looks are more bold and eye-catching, whereas print looks are move subtle and natural. If these makeup looks are too bold for you, feel free to tone down the color or lighten up on the eyeliner 😉

Read: Best Makeup Kits for Professional, Beginners & Teens

Match the Colors

What color is your prom dress? Your answer will determine which cosmetic hues to apply. Here are some basic guidelines…

White Dress

I personally recommend staying away from a white prom dress. Number one, you’ll look too much like a bride, and number two, it’ll get dirty super fast.

But if you just have to wear a white prom dress, it’s probably best to stick to light eye shadow colors (neutral tans, light pink, light blue, light green, etc.). If you wear dark colors, you’ll end up looking like a “snow beast” (remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding!).

Brown Dress

If you have chosen a brown dress, you should probably choose to apply warm colors like yellow, orange, gold, bronze, peach, or even light pink.

Blue Dress

Besides the obvious matching blue eye shadow, you can also try wearing gold, tawny, grey, or even black.

Green Dress

Yellow and bronze eye shadow is great for green dresses. You can also stick to natural tan and brown tones. Steer clear of red/pink!

Red Dress

Matching pink and red tones will work, but I recommend trying black, silver, or natural beige tones.

Yellow Dress

Yellow is a fun one! Some shimmering yellow cosmetics can do the trick, but you can also feel free to wear orange, peach, tawny, neutral brown, and even light green tones.

Purple Dress

Gold cosmetics really set a purple dress apart! You can also try pink, dark blue, grey, and black.

Pink Dress

Is your dress light pink, or dark fuchsia-pink? Lighter pink will allow you to get away with peach, gold, and yellow tones. Fuchsia wearers should try light pink or even purple.

Orange Dress

If your dress is orange, you’ll probably want to stick to the neutral brown tones, gold, bronze, tawny, and maybe even rust.

Make a Statement

Now that you have an idea about the colors of cosmetics to choose from, you’ll have to make a few decisions before applying your makeup. First, do you want to make a dramatic statement or do you want to go for a more natural beauty?

Also, you are going to have to decide if you want to dress up the eyes or the lips. You can only choose one! That’s a major fashion rule. If you want holy-cow-look-at-how-bright-red-they-are lips, you’re gonna have to take it easy on the eye makeup. Conversely, if you want smoking, sultry, dark-rimmed eyes, your lips are gonna have to be pretty neutral.

Keep in mind that it is a good idea to practice your prom makeup before the big night. That way, if you don’t like the route you have chosen, you will be able to start over and personalize your own glam look 😉

Before Putting On Your Prom Makeup

Okay, let’s just say that you have practiced your makeup and have already decided on a “look”. As you are getting ready on the big day, be sure to wash your face with a mild cleanser. Then….now this is huge….apply a moisturizing face cream all over your face! Avoid your eyes, but be sure to apply it pretty thick.

There are many different kinds at the store, but I have a tub of Jergens All-Purpose Face Cream that does the trick. Apply it right after washing your face and leave it on for awhile (30 minutes). After is soaks into your skin, tissue-off the remaining cream before applying your cosmetics.

This step is very important because it provides the right base for your makeup and you won’t have to use as much foundation. You see, then your skin will look more natural! I usually jump out of the shower, wrap my hair in a towel on top of my head, apply my face cream, finish getting dressed, comb out my hair, then remove the remaining cream.


With your skin still moist from the cream, apply concealer where needed (under-eye circles, blemishes, discolorations). Make sure that your concealer is a shade lighter than your foundation color. Blend the concealer with your ring finger on your dominant hand (modeling trick- your ring finger isn’t as ‘heavy’ on delicate skin) or with a makeup sponge.


Pick a liquid foundation matching your skin tone and also use a makeup sponge to apply slightly-goopy dots of foundation to your cheeks, chin, forehead, and even eye lids. Use the sponge or fingertips to feather the foundation out and blend it into your skin.

Tip: If you have decent skin, try using only a small amount of liquid foundation on your forehead and cheeks. This will make you look less “fake”.


Trying using a loose or packed powder to ensure that your concealer and foundation stays in place longer. I like to use loose mineral powder when I’m getting ready at home and packed powder to touch up my makeup while I’m at the event.


Be sure to apply powder to your eyelids. This will help keep your eye shadow from “melting” into the crease of your eye later on. Those little lines of eye shadow are annoying!


Do your eyebrows next. I like to lick my index finger and run it over my eyebrows to tame the hairs and remove excess powdered foundation. Then I use eyebrow gel that matches my haircolor to set the shape of my eyebrows. Then I use a matching brow pencil to touch up the thin hairs at the top of my eyebrows.

Tip: You might prefer to use an eyebrow powder that matches your haircolor instead of a pencil. Pencils can look too fake!

I will recolor this closed eye for each example so you know where to apply the hues!


Depending on your dress and which “look” you go for, you’ll probably need 3 or 4 shades of your chosen eye shadow hue…lightest to darkest. Eye shadow should be applied before mascara and eyeliner. It is best to apply eye shadow with a cosmetic brush rather than a sponge (the Q-tip looking thing that comes with your eye shadow). You get better distribution and even coverage with a brush.


Apply some loose powder foundation under your eye before applying eye shadow. The loose powder will pick up any excess eye shadow and you can wipe it all away gently with a tissue after you’re done with your eye makeup.

Please note that these are just a few eye makeup ideas that have worked for me. To learn lots of other fabulous looks and techniques CLICK HERE.

Dark Outter Corner

This eye shadow technique is great if you are going for a more natural look. I chose to use neutral brown tones for this example, but remember that you can substitute the hues for your own colors. Here’s how to do it…

  1. Using a small brush, apply the lightest shade to the inside corner of your eye and just below your eyebrow (this makes gives the brow bone more definition)
  2. Apply the medium hue to the middle and outside of your eyelid
  3. Apply the darkest tone to the very outside corner of your eyelid
  4. Finish with eyeliner if you like, but only line the top lid, and only apply it from the middle of your lid (just above your pupil) out to the corner

Dramatic Look

As with any of these looks, you can substitute the colors for your own, but this look calls for 3 shades of your chosen color (and eyeliner too if you like).

  1. With an eye shadow cosmetic brush, cover the inner eyelid, corner of your eye, and area just below your eyebrow with the lightest shade of your chosen color
  2. Apply the medium hue to the lid, crease, and the area underneath the light eye shaodw you put just below your eyebrow; make sure to take the medium hue all of the way out to the corner of your eye
  3. Apply the darkest hue to the corner fo your eye over the medium hue (by putting it on over the medium hue, it blends better)
  4. Finish with eyeliner by applying it from the middle of your eyelid out to the corner
  5. This look also works well when you take your darkest hue of eye shadow and use it to line your bottom lashes from the outter corner to the middle (the center of your pupil when you are looking straight ahead)

Center Stage Look

This knock-out look is great for really accentuating your eyes and making them stand out. You’ll need 4 shades of your chosen color for this one.

  1. Apply the lightest shade to the area below your eyebrow with a small cosmetic brush
  2. Apply the next-darkest shade to your eyelid; be sure to extend the color from the inner corner of your eye out to the outter corner (you are essentially covering the whole area with this shade for now)
  3. Apply the next-darkest shade to the outter 1/3 of your eyelid and extend this color into the crease of your eye (just over half-way….meaning just above your pupil)
  4. Apply the darkest shade to the very outter corner of your eye and blend it in; then use the same shade to line your bottom lashes and give your eye a smoky look

Limelight Look

This eye look really help give depth to the face by making the eyes look a little deeper than they really are. To achieve this look, you’ll need 3 shades of your chosen color and some pencil or liquid eyeliner.

  1. Apply the medium hue to your entire eyelid…cover the whole thing with that color
  2. Apply the darkest shade to the inner and outter corners of your eye, blending it in toward the middle and extending the color into the crease of the eye
  3. Apply the lightest shade to the very middle of the eyelid to give it more of a 3-D appearance
  4. Feel free to apply the lightest shade to the area just below your eyebrow too if you would like your browbone accentuated
  5. Use the eyeliner to line the entire length of the eyelash base line on the top eyelid


Depending on your facial features, the positioning of blush or bronze colors may vary. If you aren’t going for a more “corrective” application, the blush should be applied to the apples of your cheeks (the part that pouches out when you smile). Be careful when choosing your blush color. If you have to blend it in, it’s probably way too bright. You don’t want to look like you’re trying to hard, do you?

Examples of matching lipstick to eye makeup


Your lipstick shade should be neutral if you are playing-up your eyes. The lipstick can be bolder and brighter if your eyes are neutral. The “long-lasting” lipsticks work well, but they dry your lips out really bad and you have to keep applying the gloss all night. I think it’s best to just apply a comfortable, moisturizing lipstick or colored gloss instead.

Tip: Apply a darker toned base lipstick first. Then apply some shimmering gloss in a lighter hue where your bottom lip is the fullest. The color contrast will make your lips look fuller.

Tip: Apply a coat of lip plumper (Sally Hansen Lip Infusion is what I use) before you apply your foundation. This will give it time to work. Use the clear kind.

Lip Liner

This is optional. I don’t really recommend it because when the lipstick wears off, you are stuck looking like a clown with your mouth outlined in red. To keep that from happening, be sure to apply the lip liner after you apply your lipstick. That way they’ll wear off at the same time.

Well, I hope you found these tips to be helpful in creating your stellar prom look! So, go out there and have fun…and look great doing it 🙂