5 Expert Tips for Prom Makeup

By Dustin Hunter, Makeup Artist

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Dustin Hunter has been designing various media since his early teen years. Studying several different art forms, Hunter’s creative background ranges from illustration and photography to fashion and interior design to music production and makeup artistry. He has worked for over a decade as a professional illustrator and his retail interior design concepts have been featured in nation-wide publications, receiving recognition for their uniqueness and creativity.  Check out his blog and YouTube channel!

5 Expert Tips for Prom Makeup

While I don’t do prom looks much anymore, in high school it wasn’t uncommon for me to have an hour or two set aside before each dance for doing my friends’ makeup.  Here are some of the earliest lessons that I learned on my own… all those many, many, many, many, many years ago.

PROM TIP #1: Pick one, lips or eyes?

The simplest way to start your makeup look is to choose an area to focus on: lips or eyes. In beauty makeup, you typically focus on one and downplay the other to create a natural balance. Want to wear a bold and dramatic eye look? Pair it with a muted lip instead of a bold one. Just remember that “muted” doesn’t mean concealer-mouth, land of the dead lips either! Über pale lips can be just as “bold” as bright red ones.

PROM TIP #2: Play up your best features.

If you can’t decide on an area to focus on, think about your favorite features. Every girl I’ve ever known has had a part of their face they love best. Usually, it’s lips or eyes (often we will draw attention to these areas when talking to someone we’re attracted to by placing a pen near the mouth or resting fingertips at the temples, “pointing” at the eyes). If you have an area of your mug that you love most, then choose that as the focal point for your makeup.

PROM TIP #3: Match the frame with the painting, not with the furniture.

Nothing is stopping you from matching your eyeshadow to your dress (lots of women do), but if you find yourself struggling, choose colors that complement your natural coloring (hair, eyes, and skin) instead. It will look more effortlessly flattering. One of MY favorite beauty books is “Color Me Beautiful” by Carole Jackson. It’s an oldie, but believe it or not, still has some solid tips for matching your makeup to your coloring (it’s also a really fun read, especially if you can get your hands on one of the original editions from the 70s)!

PROM TIP #4: What to bring in your purse.

Blot papers instead of powder help keep the shine under control without adding layer upon layer of powder, which will build up and look cakey.  But do bring powder, though, because it is a good idea to use it right before photos are taken, along with lipstick and/or gloss, cream concealer for emergencies, travel-size can of hairspray, breath mints, and make sure something you have has a mirror in it!

PROM TIP #5: Photo time!

Avoid MSF-style, high-shine powders when you’re doing your makeup. A natural glow is good (I LOVE shine on the skin), but if you’re going to have photos taken, you run the risk of looking greasy or sweaty instead of glowing. Matte is always a safer bet for photos (especially conveyor-belt style photography like you’ll find at a dance). Pick your foundation and powder carefully. Products with a SPF rating often use ingredients like titanium dioxide in them that will bounce light back in flash photography, making you appear several shades lighter than you are.

Most of all, remember that being comfortable is one of the most important parts of looking good. If you feel uneasy in bright red lipstick, it will show, and you won’t have a good time. It doesn’t matter what anyone else things as long as you like it! Oh… but also… Don’t dress like a baby hooker! You know who you are. I’ve seen you at the mall on prom night looking like the first 15 minutes of Pretty Woman. It’s not grown-up looking and the rest of us talk about you behind your back. Yes… yes, we do. Have fun!