Choosing Makeup To Go With Your Prom Dress

Look your best on prom night by choosing makeup that complements your dress and flatters your skin. These tips will help show you how.

You've picked out everything for a magical prom night: the perfect date, shoes, and dress. All you need now is the right makeup to finish your look. Whether you're going for a fun or a sophisticated image, you want your makeup to complement your dress, not overpower it. Here are some tips about choosing and applying makeup on this special night.

EYESHADOW. Don't think that you have to match your eyeshadow to your dress, especially if you're wearing deep blue or purple. Nor should you wear bright blue eyeshadow if your eyes are blue. With eyeshadow, less is always more, unless you're trying for a retro-1980s look (and even then, think twice!) Right now, the thing to do is choose eyeshadows that are the complement (opposite on the color wheel) of your eye color. If you have blue eyes, choose browns and tans. If your eyes are green, try pale lavender or pinkish tones. This will make the color of your eyes "pop" without overpowering them.

If you're really set on wearing blue or green eyeshadow, okay: you're young enough to get away with it. Choose a pale shade, preferably one that's shimmery. Sweep it across your eyelid or, very lightly, all the way up to your eyebrow. This is an especially attractive look for girls with olive complexions or darker skin tones. Avoid eyeshadows that contain large flecks of glitter: not only is it a bit "much," but by the end of the night, the glitter will have fallen all over your cheeks.

LIP COLOR. Lips can be tricky. Here you need to consider the color of your dress. If you're wearing a peach or orange-toned gown, your lip color should have similar undertones. Girls wearing reds and pinks should choose lipstick in those color families. Gloss is more popular right now than color, so for a trendy look you can go with a simple beige-toned lip gloss.

When choosing lip color, consider your eye makeup. One or the other should be dramatic, not both. If you're going glam with eyeshadow, choose a subdued lip color, and vice versa. This will make you look sophisticated, not overly made-up.

FOUNDATION. Foundation is key to smoothing out skin tone and providing a base for the rest of your makeup. The best thing to do is to choose a base that matches your own skin tone as closely as possible, and to apply it lightly with a cosmetic sponge, not your fingers.

Girls wearing pale or white dresses may be tempted to go for a tanned look with bronzing makeup. Be careful: it's difficult to pull off. A better, more natural-looking idea is to use bronze-toned eyeshadows, lip colors, and blush instead of a dark foundation.

BLUSH. Blush is easy: choose a shade that looks just like your cheeks when you're flushed! Apply it lightly to the apples of your cheeks, and blend towards the sides of your face. There's no need to "contour" your cheekbones; outside of a photography studio, this rarely looks natural. (Note: be sure your blush doesn't clash with your lipstick. Don't mix corals and reds or plums; stick with one color family.)

FINISHING TOUCHES. Don't overdo the eyeliner. A firm, dark line is fine, but don't draw all the way around the eye. Definitely don't line the inner rims; it makes your eyes look smaller, and it's so 7th grade.

Tweeze your eyebrows. If you're not adept at this, have them done. A well-shaped brow frames the face and opens up your eye area. Don't overpluck; ultra-thin brows are "out." Fill in any sparse areas with pencil or powder that matches your brows as exactly as possible.

Use concealer on blemishes and pimples. Don't go more than a shade lighter than your foundation. Keep it in your purse and apply extra right before you have your photo taken. Prom is only one night, but prom pictures are forever (or at least in your mom's house.)

Still not sure about your look? Give it a "test run" before prom night. Make up your face, try on your dress, do your hair, and take a look in a full-length mirror. Get a second opinion. Neither your dress nor your makeup should stand out in an overpowering way. If your dress is sequined or shimmery, complement it with a toned-down makeup job. If your dress is plain in color and/or style, you have a bit more freedom to use bright, glittery cosmetics. Experiment with your makeup, and don't forget to have fun creating the look that's right for you!

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