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Question: What are some fabulous prom makeup ideas?

Answer: Although prom night is a great excuse to go all out with your makeup, the best prom look is one that highlights your features without distracting from them. You don’t want to look back on your photos and not be able to recognize yourself, do you? To keep your selfies and professional portraits recognizable, an important tip to keep in mind is that your makeup will photograph differently than the way it looks in person. This means you should apply your chosen products with a bit of a heavier hand, but do so strategically and thoughtfully.

Primer & foundation

Make sure your foundation base stays on all night by applying a primer with oil-controlling properties to smooth your skin’s texture and also prevent any unwanted shine. Opt for a full coverage foundation to ensure that your skin looks flawless, but stay away from the SPF. Why? Sunscreen reflects in flash photography and will give your face a ghost-like appearance. For the most natural-looking flawless skin, take special care in ensuring that your foundation matches the tone of your chest and neck. Whether you fake-baked or spray tanned for your special night, you might need to spring for a new bottle of foundation in a darker shade than usual.

Bronzer & highlighter

After evening out your complexion to complete and utter perfection, add some depth back into your face so that your skin doesn’t look artificial. Choose a cool toned matte bronzer to contour around your hairline, jaw line, down the sides of your nose, and lightly under your cheekbones to thin and define the face. A shimmery, warm-toned bronzer will not work, as you want to simulate a shadow in these areas rather than a glowing tan. After contouring, add those highlights back to your face very carefully, as a well-placed highlight will brighten—but too much shimmer could leave you looking like a disco ball when the flash goes off. A baked illuminating product like Soft & Gentle by MAC placed at the inner corners of your eyes, the tops of your cheekbones, and down the bridge of your nose will give you that perfect radiant—but not overly glittery—look.

Blush

Blush is essential and will really add life to your photographs, as long as you choose a complementary shade to your outfit and skin tone. A cream consistency light pink blush will work for most skin tones and dresses, it’ll look the most natural, and will also be the easiest to apply and blend. Expert blending is the step that will leave people admiring your beauty rather than just your makeup.

Brown matte smokey eye

Now it’s time to pump it up with some eye makeup. A dark, bold smokey eye always makes a great impact, but can be very tricky to apply. Luckily, neutral bronze and brown smokey eye looks are just as gorgeous as their gothic counterparts, but are much easier to apply. It’s hard to distinguish between different tones of shimmer in photographs, so restrict the shimmery bronze to your lid space below the crease, and contour into your socket and under the bottom lash line with a complementing matte brown. This will make your eyes appear larger and give them depth, and the neutral brown won’t clash with your outfit. Again, blending the eye shadows well into each will give your makeup a professionally applied look. Reserve black for your eyeliner, and apply it to your upper and lower water lines to make your eyes pop and spice things up. Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero will add intensity and promises to stay put all night. False lashes will elongate your eyes and add impact like no other, but if you’re hesitant (or if it’s your first attempt), try snipping them in two and applying just the outer half. This will still fan out and thicken your lashes dramatically, but won’t irritate the skin near your tear duct and will feel less noticeable throughout the night. Frame your hard work with impeccable eyebrows, and fill in any patchy areas with either short strokes of a brow pencil or a matte eyeshadow on an angled brush. Choose a shade that is two tones lighter than your hair color to avoid any Groucho Marx comparisons.

Neutral lip color

Lipstick (or gloss) is just as important as blush, but be sure to balance your dramatic eye makeup with a subtle pink or nude color. Set everything with a translucent powder and a generous spritz of setting spray, and you’re ready to dance the night away!