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 flatters you and shows off your personality, find shoes that are photo-worthy but also can hold up to a night full of dancing, and determine a way to arrive in style. And then, of course, comes your prom makeup look. 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 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 give you some prom makeup inspo and offer our advice on how to make sure 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 Can I Make My Prom Makeup Last Longer?
The endurance of your prom makeup look primarily comes down to two things: the products you use and the way you apply them. Pairing expert application tips with long-wearing products from NYX Professional Makeup can help your look last longer. You’ll find both in the makeup tutorials below.
5 Long-Lasting Makeup Ideas For Prom
Natural Prom Makeup
Embrace your own beauty with a natural prom makeup look that lets you—and your outfit—really shine. Watch our video tutorial on how to do this natural makeup look for prom, and follow along with the step-by-step instructions below.
Step 1. Prep Your Skin With Primer
Makeup primer helps smooth the skin and provides grip so your base can stay put. Basically, it’s a cornerstone of any makeup look that’s made to last. Start your routine off right with Plump Right Back Primer + Serum. It plumps the look of tired skin with moisture (perfect after late nights studying for finals) and helps keep makeup in place. For a streak-free application, smooth on a dime-sized amount of primer with the Plump Right Back Silicone Applicator.
Step 2. Apply Long-Wear Foundation and Concealer
A long-lasting foundation is a must on prom night. We recommend going for a full-coverage foundation, like our iconic Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Foundation. The lightweight, waterproof formula provides long-lasting coverage with a matte finish and stays put for up to 24 hours. It’s vegan and cruelty-free and available in a whopping 45 transfer-proof shades to flatter a range of skin tones. Apply it with the Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Foundation Brush for a smooth finish.
For concealer, our pick is none other than Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Contour Concealer. Like the coordinating foundation, it’s long-wear, transfer-proof, and packed with high-intensity pigment. The creamy, blendable formula is available in 24 shades and can be used to conceal, highlight, and contour to your heart’s content.
Pro Tip: If you’re wearing a dress, consider buffing your foundation down your neck for a seamless look. You can also experiment with body makeup to give your decolletage, arms, and legs a glowy finish. Use our Face & Body Brush for an easy application.
Step 3. Add a Flush Of Color With Blush
Blush will help ensure you look fresh-faced and glowy for prom. To keep that going all night, reach for Wonder Stick Blush. The dual-ended cream blush stick colors, shapes, and blends like a wonder. Plus, it’s perfectly portable, meaning you can toss it into your clutch for touch-ups. And it’s available in three color-coordinated shade duos to flatter various skin tones.
4. Use Powder To Mattify Shine
After you’ve finished applying your base makeup—and given it a few minutes to dry (this is a must)—set it all in place with a long-wear setting powder to help prevent smudging, melting, and fading. If you want to minimize shine, try Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Mattifying Pressed Powder, which helps absorb oil, leaving your skin with a smooth, matte finish. The pressed powder is available in 11 shades that coordinate with our classic Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Foundation, as well as a translucent shade suitable for all.
Pro Tip: Make sure to buff off any excess powder for a natural-looking, your-skin-but-better finish.
5. Define Your Brows
Eyebrows frame the face, and well-groomed brows can help pull your entire prom makeup look together. Fill in sparse areas with our Micro Brow Pencil for more defined brows. The pencil’s super skinny tip draws fine lines that allow you to mimic the look of natural brow hairs. Use short strokes to fill in your brows, then brush them with the spoolie (included on the opposite end of the pencil) to blend the product.
6. Give Eyes a Dose Of Sparkle and Shine
For a simple, long-lasting eye look, start by laying down a base of eyeshadow primer. Then, grab a neutral eyeshadow palette (like our Ultimate Color Palette in Warm Neutrals) and define your outer corner with a soft, matte shade. Bring a bit of glitz into the equation by applying a shimmering champagne shadow on the inner two-thirds of your eyelids.
Pro Tip: Take that shimmer to the next level by spritzing your eyeshadow brush with setting spray. Not only does this enhance the intensity of the shadow, but it also helps lock it in place.
7. Layer Lip Liner and Lipstick
Between pre-prom dinner and chatting with friends all night, your prom lip look has to stand up to a lot. The perfect combination for the occasion is a liquid lipstick layered over long-wearing lip liner. Line and perfect the shape of your lips with Suede Matte Lip Liner, then apply our Lip Lingerie XXL Matte Liquid Lipstick. It offers full-bodied color that doesn’t crack, transfer, or fade for up to 16 hours.
Pro Tip: To avoid a visible lip liner faux pas, be sure to blend the edges of your liner toward the center of your lips for a soft, diffused finish.
8. Lock Everything In With Setting Spray
With all that hard work you put into perfecting your prom makeup, you want to make absolutely sure that it lasts throughout the night. So, once you’ve completed your finishing touches, lightly mist your face with Plump Finish Setting Spray. The formula with electrolytes hydrates skin without leaving it feeling oily or greasy, all the while helping reduce makeup transfer and smudging for up to 24 hours.
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 Soft Base
As we mentioned earlier, proper (skin) prep is essential if you want your look to last through the night. First, smooth on your primer (we love Face Freezie Cooling Primer + Moisturizer for a fresh, dewy look), then use the Bare With Me Blur Brush to apply an even layer of our Bare With Me Blur Tint Foundation. The skin-blurring formula offers medium coverage and up to 16 hours of comfortable, breathable wear. Then, use our hydrating Bare With Me Concealer Serum to add additional coverage where needed (like under your eyes or on any blemishes you want hidden).
Step 2: Fill In Your Brows
We can’t overstate the benefit of well-groomed brows—it’s truly transformative. And it doesn’t have to be complicated or over-the-top. For this low-key brow look, all you need is our Fill & Fluff Eyebrow Pomade Pencil. The dual-ended pencil boasts a creamy brow pomade on one side and a miniature paddle brush for blending on the other. Use the pencil’s thin, teardrop-shaped tip to fill in sparse areas and add definition to your arches, then flip the pencil around and blend with the brush for a soft, subtle effect.
Step 3: Apply Blush Sparingly
Next, add some color to your cheeks with our aforementioned Wonder Stick Blush. You can use both shades to contour with color, or, for a more subtle look, simply dab the lighter shade of the duo on the tops of your cheekbones and blend.
Step 4: Brush On Some Mascara
Sweeping on a coat (or two) of On The Rise Volume Liftscara to make your eyes look bigger. The volumizing mascara features an innovative, hourglass-shaped brush design that helps ensure every lash gets some love. It’s a great way to make your eyes pop while still maintaining the low-key vibe that you like with your makeup.
Step 5: Finish With Lip Gloss
Not a lipstick person? No problem. You can give your lips a subtle hint of natural-looking color with our Fat Oil Lip Drip. Available in eight universally-flattering shades, this vegan squalane-infused gloss delivers up to 12 hours of hydration, a touch of color, and lots of ultra-glossy (yet non-sticky) shine.
Sculpted Prom Makeup
Prom night presents the opportunity to be truly glamorous—why not take it? Watch our video tutorial and follow these four steps for a sculpted and glam prom makeup look.
1. Prep Your Skin With Primer
Long-wear makeup looks need to be built from the base up, and that starts with primer. For a gorgeously defined look, we like to begin with our multitasking Marshmellow Smoothing Primer. The 10-in-1 primer smooths, softens, extends makeup wear for up to 16 hours, hydrates, soothes, evens tone, minimizes texture, blurs lines, adds a soft-focus finish, and keeps makeup fresh.
Pro Tip: To create a smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup, apply a dime-sized amount of primer with The Marshmellow Blender Sponge. Its unique shape (it looks like a marshmallow!) helps with precise blending, even in hard-to-reach areas.
2. Apply Foundation To Add Coverage
Our aforementioned Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Foundation is just as well-suited to a glam makeup look as it is a natural one. Apply a layer to your face for even, long-wearing coverage.
3. Sculpt and Highlight Your Face
Sculpted, defined features are what make this prom makeup look stand out. Once you’ve made it to this step, pick up the Wonder Stick Contour and Highlighter Stick. One side houses a highly pigmented contour color, while the other features a coordinating highlighter. The precise applicator makes getting a defined finish easy, as does the blendable formula.
Start with the contour side, drawing lines along your cheekbones, either side of your jaw, and down the sides of your nose. Then add dots to your temples and along your hairline. Before blending, add your highlighter, too. Draw on lines above your cheekbones, at the top of your forehead, between your brows, and on your cupid’s bow. Once you look like a work of art, grab your brush and blend, blend, blend.
Pro Tip: You can contour your lips with makeup, too. Use a lip liner a few shades darker than your natural lip color to outline your lips, then layer a lighter lip gloss on top to create a fuller lip look.
4. Lock Everything In With Setting Spray
You’re almost ready to head out for prom (or start on your hair), but first, setting spray. Simply spritz our Matte Setting Spray over your face for long-lasting hold with a matte finish. This easy-to-use pro pick extends makeup wear for up to 16 hours.
Colorful Prom Makeup
Here at NYX Professional Makeup, we’re huge fans of big, bold color. If you are too, this colorful and cute prom makeup look, which features richly-colored lids and out-to-there lashes, is a must-try.
Step 1: Apply Your Base Makeup
Prep as usual with the primer of your choice, then apply your foundation. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation is ideal if you’re after a full-coverage matte finish, while our Bare With Me Blur Tint Foundation is great for those who like medium coverage. Choose whichever best suits your needs and apply as usual, blending well to help ensure a seamless finish.
Step 2: Brush Up Your Brows
It’s prom, which means you’re going to be dancing—and, most likely, sweating. Give your brows the waterproof treatment with The Brow Glue Instant Brow Styler. This long-wearing, waterproof brow gel comes in four tinted shades as well as one transparent option suitable for all hair colors. Use the glue’s included spoolie to groom your brows to your liking, then let it set for up to 16 hours of non-sticky hold.
Step 3: Liven Up Your Lids
Here comes the color! For your standout eye look, you’ll need two products: our Ultimate Color Palette in Brights and our Vivid Brights Liquid Liner. Pick three complementary shades in the palette—ideally, one light, one medium, and one dark shade. Use an eyeshadow brush to apply the middle shade to your lids, then darken your crease with the deepest shade (blend well for a seamless gradient from light to dark). Then, use the lightest shade to accent your inner corners and lower lash line. Finish your look by lining your upper lash line with the liquid liner. Use a shade that coordinates with your eyeshadow for a cool, monochrome look, or opt for a contrasting hue to make your eyes pop.
Step 4: Add Falsies
No bold makeup look is complete without some serious lashes. Instead of piling on several coats of mascara to get your desired length, opt for a high-impact fake fringe with our Jumbo Lash! Vegan False Lashes. They apply easily without glue or magnets—all you need is the coordinating adhesive liner (which you can apply on top of the liquid liner you applied in step three). The lashes come in four styles, wear for up to 12 hours, and can be reused up to 15 times. Plus, the flexible strips are stackable, allowing you to customize your lash look to your liking. Apply the liner along your lash line, then pop on your lashes for jumbo length and serious impact.
Glitter Prom Makeup
Prom is, at its core, a party—and what better way to celebrate than with a bit 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. Prime your skin with The Marshmellow Smoothing Primer, then use your makeup brush or sponge to apply Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation. If you have any areas that need additional coverage, conceal them with Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealer.
Step 2: Apply Your Eyeshadow
The centerpiece of this look is an unapologetically glam, glittery eye. And for that, you’ll need our Ultimate Color Palette in Ultimate Utopia. The pro-level palette features 16 bold eyeshadows in matte, shimmer, and glitter finishes. Use one of the matte shades to color in your lid, then darken your crease with a slightly darker hue and blend. Once that’s set, use your finger to press one of the glitter eyeshadows all over your lid for lasting sparkle and shine. Lastly, using a small eyeshadow brush (such as our Micro Packing Brush) apply the same glitter shadow on your lower lash line to pull the glittery look together.
Step 3: Add Liquid Liner
Next, define your upper lash line with a long-wearing liquid eyeliner, such as Vivid Matte Liquid Liner. Boasting an ultra-fine precision tip, this liquid liner gives you total control over your liner’s thickness and definition. Use it 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.
Asked and Answered: Why Does Makeup Not Stay On My Face?
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 makeup wear off quickly include:
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 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.
Skipping makeup primer
Like we said, primer is important! It helps the skin grip makeup, allowing it to last longer and stay fresh-looking.
Not setting your base
Powder, particularly setting powder, can help lock in liquid makeup (like foundation) so it’s even-looking and budge-proof.
Forgoing setting spray
For last-all-night makeup, long-wear setting spray is a must.
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!
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.
If you want your 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.