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?!

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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?