Shared Tips for Prom, Graduation Portrait, and Wedding Makeup

As we approach that time of the year when these three milestone events occur, it's good to think about your makeup approach. My biggest piece of advice for all three is to try to avoid a makeup look that will date you: In other words, you don't want to be like my generation and know that our prom occurred in the early 1990s just by looking at our hairstyles and makeup. Same goes for so many wedding and graduation pictures I've seen.

Think that you can't do makeup to reflect your time period? Think about Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn: Their makeup looks are still relevant and copied today.

When approaching your makeup for all three events, go for timeless and classic. For graduation and wedding makeup, think understated. For prom, you can be fun and out there, but it's often more flattering to have a look that doesn't compete with your dress or detract from it.

For prom:

1.) Don't be concerned with matching your makeup colors to your dress. It's too literal. Focus more on the makeup complementing the dress' style and flattering you.

2.) Don't wear anything light-reflecting: i.e. highlighting creams or powders or very shimmery eyeshadow. A lot of flash photography will occur, and those light-reflecting pigments will glare in the photos. Before going out, take a few photos of yourself on your digital in different lighting to test the makeup.

3.) Look your age. You're young once, so enjoy this time period and be recognizable to your classmates at prom. Try to avoid going so overboard with makeup that you age yourself by 10 years. Down the road, you won't recognize yourself in the photos.

4.) Even if you don't have oily skin or problems with makeup smearing, this is the event where application should focus on lasting power. With all the dancing, there is bound to be sweating. Don't waste your time at prom fighting for mirror space to do touch-ups. Apply an oil-free primer to skin before you applying foundation. Use a setting powder to help the makeup stay. Also, use eyeshadow primer on your lids, then apply a light dusting of translucent powder over your shadow. There are many setting sprays on the market now: Urban Decay has created a variety, and people like a brand called Model in a Bottle.

For graduation photos, similar themes apply:

1.) You want to look like yourself in the photos, not like you went to a glamour studio. Keep the makeup as classic and understated as possible. It's more flattering as time goes on and you can't date the photo back to the decade you graduated in.

2.) Similar to prom, avoid anything with light-reflecting properties. Unless your photos will be outdoors, the photographer will most likely use flash.

3.) Go more matte with the makeup. Use additional face powder, as any shine from your nose and forehead will be captured in the pictures. If don't like face powder, you can use a mattifying product to inhibit shine.

4.) The most flattering graduation pictures I've seen utilize what's known as invisible makeup: This style is done to enhance all features while not being apparent to the naked eye. This typically includes tight-lining the eyes (applying eyeliner to the waterline of top and bottom lashes), sticking to one coat of mascara, applying a soft rosy blush with a light hand, and using a lipstick that is one shade deeper than your natural lip color.

5.) If you have problem skin, begin to focus on an anti-acne skincare routine a couple weeks prior to the photography date. This is a lot easier than focusing on concealing blemishes on picture day. Also, talk to your doctor about possible dietary changes, allergies, or antibiotics you can take orally to fight acne.

For weddings:

1.) Avoid the urge to alter your look dramatically. This is the most important event where your makeup should be classic. You simply want to look like your best self. Think of Grace Kelly in her wedding pictures.

2.) Avoid bright or dark lipsticks: Even with sealants, the lipstick will smear and wear off with all the kissing you'll be doing. Keep your lips a natural or light shade. It's more flattering on most of us, and as the lipstick wears off, you won't look dramatically different.

3.) Keep mascara off your bottom lashes, and use waterproof mascara on the top. Do I need to explain why?

4.) This is a good time for long-wearing, transfer resistant foundation. Again, you'll be hugging and kissing a lot of people, and you don't want your makeup rubbing off on them or your dress. The wedding and reception usually last a good six hours. Especially if you're getting married when it's hot out, you want a foundation that will hold up.


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