Prom Do-Over: How I'd Wear My Hair And Makeup If I Could Go Back In Time

Prom was the first time I tried really hard, beauty-wise, but my admirable effort was undermined by faulty execution.
Publish date:
September 27, 2013
nars, Urban Decay, hair, makeup, Stila, Tarte, highlighters, lip stains, events, cheek stains, prom, high school

It seems like no matter how old you get, September is synonymous with “back to school.” Weather getting cooler always has me drooling for new sweaters, fresh notebooks, and a not-yet-over-it class schedule. This year, though, is the first year school has started and I haven’t started with it. Boo, hiss. I’m buying new notebooks anyway.

The season that has everyone heading back to classes but me has me all nostalgic for my school days. Mostly, the college ones though; high school was pretty awful. And middle school--please, let’s just not. My emo kid high school days were punctuated by scowling behind my side-bangs and writing Fall Out Boy lyrics on the edges of my assignment planner--I colored the front cover black, with a big broken heart on it, seriously though--so obviously all the memories are pretty cringe-inducing.

My beauty choices? Equally embarrassing, and all preserved via Myspace pics.

But I can’t possibly talk about bad high school styling choices without bringing prom into the mix. I got to go as a sophomore when a junior boy asked me out. He was in a pop-punk band, so duh, I said yes. And that became what was most likely the first time I tried really hard, beauty-wise.

I started scouring the internet for how to look *~pretty~* and stood in the makeup aisle at Walgreens for, like, a solid two hours trying to pick out the right eyeshadow palette. My mom, seeing me floundering, took me to Macy's for my first ever high-end beauty purchase: a lip and cheek stain.

I pouted about dresses until mama bear found me a blue glittery one at David’s Bridal. Finally, the day rolled around and I started getting ready at, like, noon, 'cause I was so excited. And this was the final result:

My makeup is hard to see in this photo, but the look goes something like this: eyeliner on top and bottom lash lines, frosty white eyeshadow to highlight the brow bone and inner corners, sperm brows, and blue-red lips and cheeks. Admirable effort, but faulty execution.

Here’s how I would do it differently if I were going to prom today.


I was so excited to learn about highlighting that I got a little overzealous and picked the highlightiest highlighter there is: white shadow with silver shimmer. Just no, unless you are super-porcelain-pale and cool-toned, which I am very much not.

These days, I prefer to highlight with a gold-toned champagne shadow like Urban Decay’s Sin. I would also ditch the harsh line all the way around my eyes and instead line just my upper lash line with Tarte’s Skinny SmolderEyes pencil in Onyx, which I love because it is super-black, wears well all day and night without fading, and has a little blendy sponge at the end of the pencil for smudging the line out to soften it.

Finally, I would leave my freaking brows the hell alone, except for filling them in with NARS eyeshadow in Bali.


I was on the right track back in '07 when my mom bought me Benetint. I would still choose a lip and cheek stain, for its ability to last all night and withstand first kisses without getting your boy’s lips all sticky because, trust me, it is already gonna be awkward enough.

Benetint is pretty awesome, but it’s a bit too blue-toned for me. Instead, I’d go for a warmer red stain, like Stila’s Lip and Cheek Stain in Passion Fruit Crush. The pen style packaging means you can throw it in your clutch for touch-ups, but it lasts so well that you probably wont need them.


In high school, I was rocking an intense Pob (before Pob was even a thing, mind you) that I flat-ironed every day. Now, I would go back and tell my high school self to embrace my natural texture, because curls are in, and they look way better on me anyways.

But I haven’t straightened my hair since about 2009, so why the hell not?

Pulled all together, and how high school do I look right now?

It seems that one thing I still haven’t learned after all these years is to apply makeup heavily enough for photography. Still, I think I’d be quite the QT if I could do it all over.

What was your prom makeup look like? (Post pictures!) What would you change if you could go back ? (But godddd, none off us want to go back amirite?)