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How To Keep Your Prom Makeup In Place All Night Long

Prom Makeup Looks and Tips for How to Make Them Last All Night

04 May 2022

Prom is the last hurrah of high school before graduation, and planning for the big night takes a bit of work. You’ll need to choose a prom fit that shows off your personality, find shoes that are photo-worthy but also can hold up to a night full of dancing, and find a prom makeup look worthy of the occasion. Figuring out what kind of makeup you want to rock is a challenge in and of itself (natural makeup? A classic smokey eye?), but you also want to make sure that your prom makeup look stays put throughout the night. It can be a bit of a tricky task, considering sweat and makeup don’t typically mesh all that well.

Thankfully, you have us. Here, we’ll share some of our favorite prom makeup looks and offer our advice on how to ensure your look lasts all night. So put on your dancing shoes, blast your fave jams, and read on for our long-lasting prom makeup ideas.

How To Make Prom Makeup Last All Night

The endurance of your prom makeup primarily comes down to two things: the products you use and the way you apply them. Keep reading for five tips to help ensure your look stays put throughout the evening.

1. Prep your skin properly

Generally speaking, you’ll want to cleanse and moisturize your skin before applying makeup (and, of course, apply SPF for daytime). Cleansing helps ensure that your skin is smooth and free of debris, which allows your makeup to apply more evenly. Moisturizing, meanwhile, helps hydrate your skin—which can prevent your makeup from clinging to any dry patches. Just be sure to give your skincare products plenty of time to absorb before getting started on your prom makeup.

2. Use a makeup primer

Once you’re ready to begin your makeup, always start with a makeup primer. They help grip your makeup so it can last longer (and many help give your skin a smoother appearance, too). If you plan to take any prom pics outside before your big night, we recommend priming with Blur Screen SPF 30 Primer. The 3-in-1 formula blurs the skin, grips makeup for up to 18 hours of wear, and provides SPF 30 protection against the sun’s rays.

3. Use long-lasting, waterproof makeup

This one may seem obvious, but if you want your prom makeup to last, make sure you’re using long-lasting makeup—it’s designed to stay put. It’s also a good idea to opt for waterproof formulas when possible, as these will be less likely to budge when you sweat.

4. Set your base with setting powder

After finishing your face makeup, consider setting it all in place with a translucent setting powder. Use a large, fluffy brush to dust the powder onto your face, then let it sit while you do your eye and lip makeup. If any powder remains visible once you’re done, you can use a clean makeup brush to dust off the excess.

5. Lock in your look with setting spray

When your makeup is complete and you’re ready to go, give your face a generous spritz with your favorite setting spray to help lock it all in. For prom night, we recommend opting for a matte-finish setting spray, like our Matte Setting Spray—this will help ensure your skin doesn’t get too shiny throughout the evening.

5 Long-Lasting Prom Makeup Looks We Love

Prom Makeup Look #1: Natural Prom Makeup

Embrace your beauty with a natural makeup look that lets you—and your outfit—really shine. Read our prom makeup tutorial below to see how it’s done.

Step 1. Prep your skin with primer

Makeup primer helps smooth the skin and provides grip so your base makeup can stay put. We love the SPF primer mentioned above—apply a generous amount on your face and neck and let it absorb before proceeding to the next step in your prom makeup routine.

Step 2. Apply foundation and concealer

Next comes foundation and concealer. For a natural makeup look, we suggest opting for a buildable medium-coverage foundation rather than a full-coverage formula. Our pick: Bare With Me Blur Tint Foundation. The lightweight formula blurs imperfections and offers up to 16 hours of comfortable, breathable wear. Then, apply Bare With Me Concealer Serum anywhere you’d like extra coverage, such as beneath your eyes or on any red spots.

Step 3. Add a flush of color with blush

Rosy cheeks are the perfect complement to a natural prom makeup look. To give your skin a natural-looking flush, we recommend opting for a cream blush, like our Wonder Stick Blush. Each dual-ended blush stick includes two shades—one darker, one lighter—so you can customize your flush to your liking. Discover the best blush placement for your face in our article How To Apply Blush and Flatter Your Face Shape.

Step 4. Use powder to mattify shine

Once your base makeup is finished, use a large, fluffy brush to lightly dust our Studio Finishing Powder onto any areas prone to excess shine (usually, this includes the nose, forehead, and chin). The translucent formula helps set your foundation and leaves the skin looking luminous and radiant.

Step 5. Define your brows

Next up: brows. For a natural look, we recommend filling in any sparse areas with our Micro Brow Pencil, then brushing your brows into place with a clear brow gel (The Brow Glue Instant Brow Styler is our pick, as it offers up to 16 hours of non-sticky hold). If your brows are already pretty full, you can skip the brow pencil and jump straight into locking your arches into place with the brow gel.

Step 6. Give eyes a dose of shimmer

If there’s ever a time to break out the shimmer, prom is definitely it. For a simple eye makeup look fit for prom night, we recommend reaching for our Ultimate Glow Shots Liquid Eyeshadow (try a neutral shade, like Highkey Lychee or Mango Moment). Swipe the luminous formula onto your lids and use your finger to blend it out for a soft, diffused wash of shimmer.

Step 7. Layer lip liner and lipstick

To tie your natural prom makeup look together, we recommend opting for a nude (or nude-adjacent) lip color. Start by using a Slim Lip Pencil to line and fill in your lips, then top the liner with the Lip Lingerie XXL Matte Liquid Lipstick shade of your choice. The combination of liner and lipstick will give you a defined lip look—and help ensure your color lasts.

Step 8. Lock everything in with setting spray

When you’re happy with your look, generously mist your face with setting spray to help keep your makeup from smudging, fading, or transferring throughout the night.

Prom Makeup Look #2: Simple Prom Makeup

If you’re someone who usually prefers no-makeup makeup, our simple prom makeup look will be right up your alley. It features a medium-coverage base, filled-in but natural-looking brows, a hint of dewy blush, and just enough mascara to make your eyes pop.

Step 1: Start with a sheer base

After priming your skin, apply a pea-sized amount of our Bare With Me Blur Tint Foundation to your face and blend it out with your fingers. Using your fingers rather than a sponge will help create a sheerer, more skin-like finish, which is perfect for a barely-there makeup look. For areas that need additional coverage, we recommend using the coordinating Bare With Me Concealer Serum.

Step 2: Tame your brows

Next, reach for a tinted brow gel, such as Thick It. Stick It! Brow Gel. Using the attached spoolie brush, work the buildable formula through your brows to tame, thicken, and set into place. If you’re not sure which shade to use, we suggest opting for one slightly lighter than your natural brow color to ensure a soft, natural-looking finish.

Step 3: Apply blush sparingly

Grab your favorite rosy blush and lightly apply it to the tops of your cheekbones, blending the pigment toward your temples. This should create a soft flush of color that looks natural—not overdone.

Step 4: Brush on mascara

For this soft, understated prom makeup look, you can skip the eyeliner and shadow—you don’t need it. We do, however, recommend defining your lashes with mascara to make your eyes pop. Try our On The Rise Volumizing Mascara. The unique formula lifts, curls, and lengthens your lashes to help make your eyes appear bigger—perfect for prom photos.

Step 5: Finish with lip balm

Last but not least are the lips. Because this look is meant to be more natural, we recommend skipping lipstick and instead opting for a tinted lip balm, such as Fat Oil Slick Click. The lightweight formula provides up to 12 hours of hydration with a hint of buildable color. Try the shade No Filter Needed—it’s a perfect, wear-anywhere rosy pink. (If you prefer gloss, try our Fat Oil Lip Drip).

Prom Makeup Look #3: Sculpted Prom Makeup

If you want more glam makeup for prom, follow this easy tutorial for a special occasion-worthy look.

Step 1: Prep your skin

When you’re going for a more sculpted, glam look, you really want to spend time perfecting your base—which means primer is a must. Use our aforementioned SPF primer to help blur your skin and extend your makeup wear.

Step 2: Apply full-coverage foundation

The best foundation for prom depends on what you’re after—and if that’s a full glam look, you’ll want to reach for a full-coverage formula. Try our Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation. It wears for up to 24 hours and helps mattify unwanted shine. Pair it with our medium-coverage Pro Fix Stick Correcting Concealer for a flawless-looking base.

Step 3: Sculpt and highlight your face

For this next step, you’ll need two products: our dual-ended Wonder Stick Contour and Highlighter Stick as well as our Buttermelt Bronzer. Use the former to sculpt your face, using the dark shade in the duo to carve out your cheekbones and nose, and define the perimeter of your face. Then, flip the stick over and swipe the highlighter shade onto the high points of your face (specifically, your brow bone, the tops of your cheekbones, and the bridge of your nose). Blend it all well—you don’t want any harsh or obvious lines here.

Then, using our Buttermelt Bronzer Brush, sweep the powder bronzer onto your cheekbones to create a natural-looking sunkissed glow. If there’s any extra powder on the brush when you’re done, lightly dust the excess along your hairline to help tie the sculpted, bronzy look together.

Step 4: Add eyeliner and mascara

As far as we’re concerned, no glam look is complete without a bit of eyeliner. We favor a wing for this look as it’ll mirror the “snatched” effect you created with your contour. To nail your wing, snag our Epic Ink Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner and draw a thin line extending from the inner corner of your eye to the outer corner. Then, flick the line upward (angling it toward the tail of your brow) to create a wing. Once the shape is set, you can trace over your wing to thicken the line or leave it as-is for a more subtle finish. Then, give your lashes a coat of mascara (or two) to further define your eyes.

Step 4: Lock everything in with setting spray

Once you’re satisfied with your makeup, go ahead and lock it all in with your favorite setting spray. If you’re prone to shine, consider stashing some blotting papers in your prom bag so you can mattify your skin throughout the night without disrupting your makeup.

Prom Makeup Look #4: Colorful Prom Makeup

This colorful and cute makeup look for prom features brightly-colored lids, bold liner, and out-to-there lashes—plus a hint of sparkle (because why not?). Keep reading for the how-to.

Step 1: Apply your base makeup

Your eyes are the focus of this colorful look, but you’ll still want to start with a solid base. Prime your skin as usual and apply your go-to foundation, blush, and bronzer, taking care to use a light hand so your eyes remain the star of the show.

Step 2: Brush up your brows

Once you’ve completed your base, use our Zero to Brow Longwear Brow Gel to fill in your brows and set them into shape. This long-wearing brow gel is perfect for prom night because it’s fade-, smudge-, and transfer-resistant and offers up to two days (!) of wear.

Step 3: Liven up your lids

Here comes the fun part: adding color. What color you choose for your eye look is up to you, but right now, we’re partial to peach (and the pastel-adjacent color is perfect for spring). Buff the matte coral shade from our Ultimate Shadow Palette in Paradise Shock onto the outer half of your eyelid, blending the color just beyond the outer corner of your eye for a soft, diffused effect. Then, blend the lighter peach shade onto the inner half of your lid to create a soft gradient of color. Use your finger to pat one of the shimmery peach or gold shades onto your inner corner, then line your upper and lower waterlines. You can use a warm neutral hue, like our Vivid Rich Mechanical Pencil in Smokin Topaz, for a more subtle finish, or opt for a contrasting color like Aquamarine Dream for added color—the choice is yours.

Step 4: Add falsies

Last but not least come the lashes. Snag our Jumbo Lash! Longwear False Lash System and use the adhesive liner to draw a thin line onto your upper lid where you want to place your lashes. Give the formula two to three seconds to dry, then gently secure the lashes into place. If the lash strip is too long, you can also trim it down to size—just be sure to do so before applying the adhesive liner.

Prom Makeup Look #5: Glitter Prom Makeup

Prom is, at its core, a party—and what better way to celebrate than with a bit (or a lot) of sparkle? Below, find a glitter prom makeup tutorial sure to help you shine.

Step 1: Lay down your base

As with the rest of our tutorials on makeup looks for prom, this glitter prom makeup look starts with a strong base. Because you’ll have so much shimmer on your lids, we recommend using matte face makeup. Start by prepping your skin with a blurring primer, then use a brush or sponge to even out your base with your favorite medium or full-coverage foundation.

Step 2: Apply your shimmery eyeshadow

The centerpiece of this prom makeup look is an unapologetically glam, shimmery eye. And for that, you’ll need our Ultimate Glow Shots Liquid Eyeshadow. Choose your favorite shade from the lineup and apply it all over your lids, using a clean blending brush to soften any harsh edges. Then, use an eyeliner brush to apply the same hue to your lower lash line for added shimmer. You can stop here—or you can use your finger to tap the silver glittery shadow from our Ultimate Shadow Palette in Blue Jean Baby onto the center of your lid for extra sparkle.

Step 3: Add liquid liner

Next, define your upper lash line with a long-wearing liquid eyeliner, such as Vivid Matte Liquid Liner. Use the liner’s precision tip to simply line your upper lash line, create a soft cat eye, or add some oomph to your glitter makeup look with a dramatic, out-to-there wing.

Step 4: Finish with glitter gloss

Round out your glam, glitter-packed look with an equally sparkly lip gloss. Try Butter Gloss Bling in Bring the Bling for a hint of color (but tons of non-sticky shimmer and shine).

Makeup Mistakes To Avoid on Prom Night

If you find that your makeup doesn’t stay on your face, there’s probably a reason why. Or reasons, plural—there are a lot of things that can interfere with how well your makeup sticks to your skin. Some habits that can make your prom makeup wear off quickly include:

1. Applying makeup too soon after skincare

Products need time to absorb—if you get started on your makeup right after moisturizing, you run the risk of getting a patchy or uneven finish. To help your prom makeup last longer, wait a few minutes between completing your skincare routine and starting to apply makeup. It’s also best to let each layer of makeup settle before getting to work on the next.

2. Skipping makeup primer

As we said, primer is important! It helps the skin grip makeup, allowing it to last longer and stay fresh-looking.

3. Not setting your base

Powder, particularly setting powder, can help lock in liquid makeup (like foundation) so it’s even-looking and budge-proof.

4. Forgoing setting spray

For last-all-night makeup, long-wear setting spray is a must. You can even spritz a bit of setting spray onto your face in between each step for extra insurance.

5. Touching your face

The combination of the warmth from your fingers and your skin’s natural oils can interfere with your makeup and cause it to melt or smudge. Hands off!

6. Not blotting your skin

Oil is one of the main reasons why makeup breaks down. If you have oily skin, stash some blotting papers in your bag so you can absorb oil throughout the night without disturbing your makeup.

7. Forgetting touch-ups

If you want your prom makeup to look picture-perfect all night long, touch-ups are a must. Make sure to use a makeup sponge, rather than a brush, for touch-ups—they can help absorb oil and keep your skin looking fresh for photos.

Next: 12 Trending Eye Makeup Looks to Try This Year.

Prom night only happens once (or twice, if you’re lucky). We want to see how you glam up for the big night! Share a pic of your prom makeup look on social and tag us @nyxcosmetics.

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