As prom season is coming up in a couple of months and a few teenagers I know have talked about nothing else for months (just a little excited lol), I thought I'd approach the subject of prom and special occasion makeup. These tips also apply to wedding makeup and it will be wedding season before you know it! Personally I look back at pictures of my 1st prom when I was 16 and cringe, I really do. By my 2nd prom at the end of 6th form, my makeup skills and dress sense had definitely improved and by the time I was going to university balls, I had it sorted. So, here's my advice....
1) Don't go overboard. Personally I don't think you should go too extreme with prom makeup. You may well be looking back at these photos in years to come so in that sense it's similar to wedding make up. You want it to be enhancing and to give definition to your features without anything being too dark or extreme. There's nothing wrong with a little bit of shimmer but not all over the place....you are not a disco ball. If it's your first school prom and you're only 16 then you also don't want to look overdone....too much makeup can really age people and you should be appreciating your young face while you've got it :-) The same applies for fake lashes-as much as I love them for giving extra definition and a bit of flutter to the eyes, the thick, heavy kind can actually make your eyes look droopy and tired. My favourites are the Eylure exaggerate 141 lashes, which are very long and quite dramatic but still have a natural looking texture, or the Ardell Demi Wispies, which are slightly shorter but wing out slightly at the outer corner, giving an elongated look to the eye.
2) Practise, practise, practise. A lot of girls these days are having their makeup done for prom but honestly I have never been one to like getting anything beauty related done, preferring to do things myself (I actually did my own wedding makeup because the idea of someone else possibly not getting it quite right is quite stressful to me...possibly more on that in a future post?). All you need to do is decide the look you're going for and practise it a few times until you're happy with it.
3) Think about your outfit. You want your makeup to compliment it. Not necessarily match it, but compliment it. Wearing a pink dress or a print with pink in it? A pink lip in a similar tone might look nice. Sometimes I like to match in my makeup by thinking about whether I'm wearing a cool or warm toned shade...wearing a blue dress? Then cool toned makeup such a greys on the eyes and pink on the lips would go well. Wearing a coral dress? Then warmer browns/ golds on the eyes and a coral or peachy lip would work nicely. There are, of course, no rules, but it's something to think about.
4) Use SPF products with (a lot of) caution, or avoid them all together. There is likely to be flash photography and as many beauty enthusiasts will know, the ingredients in SPF bounce back when the light hits it and causes the dreaded ghost face. No-one wants to see their face looking miles paler than their body. Some primers/foundations with a low SPF still photograph well but make sure you try photographs wearing it first. Before doing my wedding makeup I did a trial run and got someone to photograph me with a flash-that way I could tell if I needed to switch products.
5) Choose your foundation shade carefully. This is important anyway, but especially so if your outfit exposes your decolletage. Either go and get matched at a counter or test foundations on your jawline, NOT on the back of your hand. Your hand and your face/neck can be totally different shades. Another tip would be to take a little pot with you when you want to try a foundation. If it's drugstore, in the UK you should be free to put a little bit from the tester into your pot to enable you to test it properly. If it's high end then the ladies on the counter will often not mind you having a little sample if you take your own pot and ask nicely, even if they don't have one. This way, you can try it properly at home to see how it applies and wears on your skin before going back for the full size. If you're going to fake tan for the event you're going to then this is obviously something to consider too.
6)Use long lasting products. Personally, when I'm on a night out or at a special occasion/ event, I don't want to be worrying about touching up all the time, I want to be getting on with enjoying myself. To help my make up last, I like to start with a face primer. The Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer (£10.99) is excellent for helping to keep your foundation on. It does contain SPF20 but strangely doesn't seem to cause flashback for me when layered under foundation. However, this is something you should test out for yourself with any SPF containing product to make sure, as mentioned in tip 4. For foundation, I love Revlon Colorstay (£12.49). It does have a very low SPF (SPF 6), but again I find that it photographs really well. I use the formula for oily skin but they have a version for drier skins, too. It really does last well, especially when set with a powder (I like the Rimmel Stay Matte, which is a bargainous £3.99). I would recommend using an eye primer as it's especially important to keep your eye makeup in place when you're going to be photographed. I love Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion, (£16). or for a budget option, MUA eye primer (£2.50) is great, too. I like using the Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray when I've finished my make up. A few sprays really does help ,your make up last even longer. It comes in a 118ml size for £20 or a smaller 30ml for £9, which is great if it's something you want to try out before committing to the larger size.
7) Use tried and tested products. If you buy something new, make sure you test it out several times so you know it works well for you. You don't want to end up wearing a mascara that smudges on you or a foundation that doesn't last on your skin. Personally I like to use products I've used for a long time and I know won't let me down when I know I'm going to be photographed.
Do you have any more tips for prom and special occasion make up?