3 Prom Makeup Looks I Wish I Could Go Back in Time and Try

Why did I have to wait until after college to discover red lipstick?!
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Why did I have to wait until after college to discover red lipstick?!

Although my prom was far from magical (i.e. my original date bailed on me at the last minute), years later, I don’t regret many things about it—save for how I did my makeup. 

For prom, and all throughout high school, I stuck to barely-there makeup because I was deathly afraid of experimenting with color and going heavier with application.

Me and my two friends before heading to prom.

Me and my two friends before heading to prom.

Knowing what I know about my makeup now, and having had all these years to practice and be adventurous, I can’t help but wish I had a time machine to visit my old self and give myself some inspired makeup looks for the big night.

Below are three that I wish 17-year-old me could’ve worn.

Pastel Princess

This is what I think of when I hear “prom.”

This is what I think of when I hear “prom.”

Chalk it up to growing up in the '90s, but I really love the idea of pastel makeup for prom. It sounds cliché, but I refuse to go on with life without knowing how I look with hyper-girly lilac eyeshadow!

For this look, I was inspired by every late-'90s prom beauty editorial I’ve ever seen. I started by putting on three colors: a white cream shadow on my mobile lid, a pale pink matte shadow right above it, and a matte white shadow on my brow bone. 

Pastel Look Steps.jpg

Using a fluffy brush, I swept NYX Hot Singles Eye Shadow in Lolita, a lilac, on the outer third of my lid. Then, with NYX Nude Matte Eye Shadow in Craving, a matte grey, I defined my crease and lower lash line. To make this look really pop, I patted some shimmery white shadow onto my mobile lid and tear ducts. Lastly, I created a thick cat eye, which I extended to my lower lashes, and added a coat of mascara.

I kept up the pastel theme by going light pink on my cheeks and lips. I used Cargo Blush in Catalina and Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Peony.

The Boho It Girl

My Nicole-Richie-inspired prom look.

My Nicole-Richie-inspired prom look.

I was obsessed with Nicole Richie’s boho-chic makeup and style in high school, so teenage me would have happily agreed to try out her signature bronze-y/peach beauty look.

In my interpretation of it, I stuck to gold and bronze on my eyes, and kept the rest of my face very simple and natural. To start, I blended Undiscovered, a gold shadow from the LORAC Unzipped palette, onto my lids and extended it past the crease. Then I added a white shadow on my brow bone. To balance the warmth of the gold, I swept, Unattainable, a bronze shadow from the same palette, on the outer half of my lid. Finally, I added some brown gel liner (since black can be too harsh for this look) and mascara.

Boho Look Steps.jpg

To complete the look, I went with a peachy-pink blush and a swipe of YSL Rouge Volupte in Tender Peach.

The Old Hollywood Siren

I’m ready for my close-up, prom photographer!

I’m ready for my close-up, prom photographer!

Why did I have to wait until after college to discover red lipstick? If I could go back in time, I’d introduce myself to the bold shade—and start reaping the confidence-boosting benefits—during prom in the form of this ultra-glam Old Hollywood look.

The makeup here is all about the cut crease on the eyes and strong lips. To begin, I applied a neutral, flesh-tone colored shadow in the area above my crease and up to my brow bone. Then I traced the outer half of my crease with some medium brown shadow. Using a darker brown shade, I traced a thin line above my natural crease while my eyes were opened and blended it out. I also used the same dark brown shade to trace my lower lash line.

Old Hollywood Steps 1-3.jpg

Finishing up with the shadows, I patted on a white shade on my mobile lid, just below the cut crease. Finally, I drew on some cat eyes using Topshop Magic Liner, put on some falsies, and added some white liner to my waterline.

Old Hollywood Steps 4-6.jpg

To top off the look, I put on Mehron L.I.P. Cream in Big Apple, a bright red.

Even though I’ll never be able to go back in time to redo my prom makeup, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating these looks. Here’s to finding a new occasion to sport them!

  • How did you do your makeup for prom? 
  • Have any of you been digging up your prom photos? I want to see! 
  • Any prom horror stories?