Prom Makeup Tips to Highlight Your Facial Features

Victoria Moorhouse

The influence of the dress on prom night is no joke—it takes the lead on much more than what shoes you decide to go with. It often plays a part on the hairstyle you go with, and often, the makeup look you end up wearing as you pose for pictures, corsage on wrist and all. You get it. But what if instead of letting that gown take control of every other detail, you pick a beauty look that highlights the facial feature of your choice? Whether you’re a lipstick lover for that perfect pout or a brow fanatic with powders, gel, and pencils galore to give all those celebs (you already know which ones we’re talking about) a run for their money, there’s a step-by-step guide that will compliment the area of your choosing. Got a thing for contouring? Why not show off your skills on prom night? It’s definitely more exciting than making sure your silver iridescent shadow goes well with the overlapping sequins on your spaghetti straps.

To give you an idea of how you can highlight your facial features using makeup for prom night, we consulted with celebrity makeup artist Carissa Ferreri, who’s worked with stars like Gina Rodriguez and Bailee Madison. She gave us the lowdown on tips that will help you to create four individual looks that flatter your brows, lips, eyes, and cheekbones. Check out the illustrations, along with more amazing advice, below.

MORE: 25 Ways to Wear Your Hair Down at Prom

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Grooming, filling in, defining—there’s a lot of buzzwords around brows nowadays. These guys may be a testament to the time in terms of beauty, but investing in your brows can transform the simplest of looks. It doesn’t hurt to turn to Cara Delevingne or Lily Collins for inspo on prom night, either. “Eyebrows are what frame your face. I believe no eyebrow is too bold for a look! Embrace the brow,” says makeup artist Carissa Ferreri.
Tips to Remember:

  • You can go with simple makeup or a bolder look—Ferreri says your brows can handle either—but to make sure you’re brushing them through as not to take on a “stencil” look.
  • To create the most natural look, grab two different colors for your brows, whether that’s taupe or brown. On the inside of the brow closest to your face, Ferreri says to apply the lighter brown color. The darker shade should be used to highlight the arch and you should set the entire look with gel to keep it in place.
  • Once you’ve drawn on your brow, you’ll work to highlight underneath on the brow bone. Blend a shimmer in either a champagne tone for those with fair to medium skin tone or a gold tone for those with medium to dark skin tone under the arch of the brow, Ferreri explains. “Use that same color in the inside corners of the eye to finish off the look and bring a cohesiveness to the eye.”
Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

When you’re looking for some versatility and experimentation with makeup, the eyes are where it’s at. It just so happens that there are a few techniques—and tons of colors—that will help you highlight this feature. The first step is to figure out if you wanna go to a clean-cut cat-eye or something a little smokier.
Tips to Remember:

  • “A cat-eye will make eyes appear bigger, and a smokey eye will make eyes look sultry,” says Ferreri “Play around with different colors if you’re looking for something a bit different. A colored wing liner is on trend this season,” she notes.
  • That winged liner, whether it’s colored or a classic black, will help make your eyes appear bigger and longer, explains our expert.
  • Another great way to make sure you’re highlighting your eyes is to pick colors for shadow that help make them really pop. “Blue eyes look amazing with bronze colors, oranges, and warm browns. Green eyes should try plums, greys, and cool browns. Brown eyes can play around with navy, warm colors, and earth tones,” she explains.
  • To make your look really pop in pictures, Ferreri says to use black eyeliner, mascara, and even falsies.
  • Make sure not to overpower your look with a bold lip on top of a brilliant eye makeup creation. “Keep it simple. It’s all about balancing your other features to enhance your eye. My number one tip is to make sure everything is well-blended with zero harsh lines,” she says.
Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

The girl who carries 5+ lip products in her purse and lives for lunchtime to touch-up her look should be pleased with this tip compilation. Remember what we were talking about earlier with the great influence of the prom dress? It does have some say (but not ALL the say) when it comes to highlighting your lips.
Tips to Remember:

  • “Makeup will add the finishing touches to your dress and accessories. If you’re looking to feature the lips, you can’t go wrong with corals, fuchsias, and reds,” says celebrity makeup artist Carissa Ferreri.
  • Make sure your lipstick doesn’t have a frosted finish, as Ferreri says this won’t translate well in pictures and can even make the look seem dated.
  • Go for a matte or gloss finish or a matte color with gloss in the center, which Ferreri tells us is a win for pics. The light will catch the gloss and help draw attention to your lips and even make them look plumper, she explains.
  • To make sure your eye makeup doesn’t overpower your lips, pick neutral shadows. “Keep the eyes subtle. A neutral shadow and brown or grey eyeshadow will make the eyes ‘pop’ but will keep the attention on the lips. Complete the look with some false lashes to add some glamour and your pics will look amazing,” explains Ferreri.
  • Coordinate your cheek color to your lip color. “Choose a blush in the same color family as your lipstick. If you’re wearing a bright pink lipstick, opt for a soft pink blush. If you are wearing a coral lip, choose an apricot flush on the cheeks. Red lips? I like to go neutral on the cheek color with emphasis on the cheek bones,” states our expert.
  • Prep your lips for lipstick before the big event by exfoliating and moisturizing. “It’s very easy to make a homemade lip scrub using sugar and coconut oil,” says Ferreri.
  • Prevent smudging by using a lip liner and filling in the entire lip before adding in the color.

MORE: How to Do Your Own Prom Makeup Like a Pro

Graphic Design by Cadace Napier

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

Grab your contouring palette! You’re going to want to give it a go for this highlighting special. The truth is, when you’re looking to really make your cheekbones stand out, you’re going to need to sharpen your makeup skills. That means start watching some contour videos and get the hang of applying blush, whether it’s a powder formula or something cream-based. And believe it or not, it’s not difficult when you have a blush hue that matches your skin tone, two shades of foundation, and a genius brush set.
Tips to Remember:

  • “The best way to highlight your cheekbones is by shading in the hallows of your cheeks using a matte bronzer or contour palette with a grey undertone,” says Ferreri. She says this works for most light to medium skin tones.
  • The next step is blush, which she says you should buff in, along with shimmer, on the apples of your cheeks. “This will create a ‘glow’ and give the face dimension,” she explains.
  • Contouring and blush help provide a standout base, so Ferreri says that after you’ve completed this, you can pick whether to highlight your lips or your eyes. That part is up to you—and hey, maybe your dress.