Let’s face it:Promis theAcademy Awardsof your high school career. And according toPoshly.com, 29% of you will be booking a makeup application right before the cameras start snapping. But sometimes when we visit the beauty counter, we ask for a subtle smoky eye and end up looking like an extra in aKaty Perry video. In order to help you look your best, we put together this handy guide! Consider it everything you need to know before you sit down in that makeup chair.
Book ahead and be realistic. “At M.A.C we joke that there are four seasons in Los Angeles: spring, summer, fall… and prom!,” says Gregory Arlt, M.A.C’s director of makeup artistry who cautions that makeup appointments begin filling up at least a month in advance at most counters. Tim Quinn, national director of creative artistry for Armani Beauty, says clients often arrive with a red carpet picture that he knows (from experience!) required four hours of prep time. “I advise everyone to be realistic—think about what we can actually accomplish in a half hour,” he advises.
Do your homework. Know up front what the brand’s policy or offerings are and be as specific as possible with what you need. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, call the counter, and ask some questions—it could save you big bucks in the long run. (For instance, false eyelashes might mean an extra $25!) NARS freestanding boutiques offer customized makeup lessons for a cost redeemable in product. Bobbi Brown’s Party Makeup Lesson will guide you through the routine, allowing you to either apply it yourself or have it applied by an artist. For house calls, NARS recommends calling the boutiques to inquire about special requests, while Armani will accommodate the request for an additional charge. (The industry standard is double the price of the application if the artist is traveling.)
Be good to your skin. The pros recommend a ton of hydrating before your makeup appointment. “The key to a long-wearing look is a well-hydrated complexion. A properly moisturized canvas will prevent you from taking moisture from the makeup you are actually wearing,” says Quinn. NARS advises clients to arrive with clean, exfoliated skin prior to any makeup application.
Know your pro. It’s a good idea to know who your artist will be before the day of your appointment (especially if mom organized it for you). “Check out the way they wear their own makeup and it should clue you in,” recommends Quinn. “Trust the artist, but help guide them. Bring a swatch of the dress, or give a full overview of the look,” says Arlt. Kimberly Soane, Bobbi Brown’s director of artistry, suggests visiting the counter one month before your prom for a complementary makeup trial to figure out what works best. Another good idea? If you book your appointment in person, ask the artist for their Instagram handle. That’s a gateway into their aesthetic and skill—for better or worse.
Think about yourself-ie. Tim Quinn takes into consideration the selfie epidemic when deciding on skin finish for clients’ prom needs. “The skin looks better with a glow than with a matte finish,” he says. Bobbi Browns party lesson is a 10-step routine that includes how to make your skin look flawless in pictures. And while this booming age of makeup tutorials and Instagram may have you begging for full coverage, Gregory Alt cautions against overdoing it. “We are in a world where girls are thinking they need to contour and highlight and there is a need for all this makeup to the point where they risk ending up looking like someone else,” he says. Stay true to yourself—prom photos will be around forever.
Think about the big picture. “If you are showing skin, it’s important toconnect the face with the rest of the body,” says James Boehmer, NARS director of global artistry. “If you are using a highlighter to accentuate facial features, add a bit of the same color to the collarbone, décolleté, and tops of the shoulders.” Communicate with your artist if there is anything on your body you want concealed. “I’ll always do a spot check or ask if there are scars or scrapes to be covered,” says Arlt. “We’ll even it out, and use Strobe Cream all over the body to give a nice sheen.”
Not all makeup counters carry lashes. Make sure your counter has them. If they don’t, confirm that you can bring your own. More importantly, “Make sure the artist knows how to apply them,” says Quinn. “It’s shocking how many artists don’t know how!”
Hair and makeup should work together. How much is too much? “Makeup is like any other accessory,” says Boehmer. ” If you are wearing a lot of dress, a lot of hair, jewelry, and makeup, it will undoubtedly be too much. Try not to make too many statements at once.” It’s easy to imagine your full look while you’re sitting down, but what about when you’re dancing or eating? “A really glossy lip paired with hair worn down may not be the best choice when you’re dancing all night,” cautions Arlt. Communicate thefullvision to your artist before getting to work.
Be inspired. When we asked the pros for the most requested celebrity look,Selena Gomezwas the popular name. Which styles do the pros want to see you emulate?Lorde’s edginess,Rihanna’s attitude, andTaylor Swift’s retro glamour. With all of the celebrity looks that can inspire, the pros have one rule: Be a better version of yourself. “It should be fun, but you don’t want to look back in 10 years and wonder what you’re thinking,” says Arlt.