The only formal beauty look-book you’ll need

With formal season approaching, your makeup look is the last thing you want to worry about

Ahhh, formal season is upon us. The perfect excuse to pay for a super expensive dress and heels that we’ll wear once and one of the only times you can rock a full out glam makeup look and actually get away with it.

Although the parties themselves can be a ton of fun, I would rather sit in front of my mirror for hours, drowning in makeup brushes and products until I’ve perfected my makeup look.

To me, makeup is fun and can allow you to express yourself in many unique ways. Since there are endless amounts of lip colors, eyeshadow looks and highlighters to try and pair with your formal outfit, I’ve narrowed down my favorites. Time to get it girl!

Look One:

The “I promise my skin is naturally this glowy on its own but in reality, I’m wearing four different highlighters” look

I would pair this look with a white dress and nude heels to feel put together without feeling over the top

This first look is more focused on your skin than anything else which is great if your dress is simple and you want your makeup to reflect that. I love to apply multiple highlighters on top of each other to achieve a really, really glowy look. When the light hits your cheekbones on the dance floor or when you’re taking a picture, you’ll look so good and maybe even blind some people!

Try applying highlight to your cheekbones, under and above the eyebrow, and  nose (pro tip: this is how you fake a nose job) and basically everywhere else. To make sure your glow is the main focus, you really want to make sure you’re applying face products you KNOW work with YOUR skin and you know will be a great base for your other products. That being said, don’t choose the night of formal to try out a new setting powder or you could end up looking a little something like this…

Believe it or not, I took this picture after I finished my makeup. Let this serve as a warning to check if your new setting powder has flashback BEFORE you start posting too many pics on Snapchat & Instagram

Look Two:

The “Yes, I know the glitter on eyes matches my choker I planned it that way” look

I would pair this look with a simple LBD (little black dress) and glittery heels to keep the sparkly glam theme consistent

This next look is a little bolder and will definitely help you stand out in a crowd. Again, to steer clear of a boring smokey eye, kick it up a notch and add a shimmer eyeshadow or even glitter all over your lid. This way, whenever you bat your eyes at your date (or to the cutie across the room who you actually wish you were dancing with) your eyes will shimmer. To top everything off, I think really sparkly jewelry like the glam choker I’m wearing (pictured above) or some killer cubic zirconia studs you tell everyone are real diamonds would only add to your look.

To keep your eyes the main focus for this makeup look, stick to simple makeup everywhere else. For me, I like to apply maybe one or two soft brown eyeshadows colors in my eye crease just to add definition and then finish everything off with either a matte or glossy lip in a nude shade.

Look Three:

The “I spent an hour on this winged eyeliner and missed half the party” look

I would pair this look with a really fun colored dress or one with a unique pattern or print because the black eyeliner will basically match anything

All jokes aside, winged eyeliner is an art form. It takes so much talent to perfect your wing not only so it looks fierce and sharp but more importantly, to make sure it matches on BOTH eyes. After multiple practice tries, winged liner does get easier and since it makes such a statement on its own, you can keep all the other makeup on your face simple. Opt for black liner instead of brown or anything colored so you try wearing a bright colored or patterned dress!

For this look, I added a little sparkle to my inner corner to brighten up my eyes and I popped on really fluffy false eyelashes to make the look at little more glam. When buying false eyelashes for this look, try to find a pair that tapers out towards the outer corner to further emphasize the cat eye shape you created with your liner.

Look Four:

The “My eyeshadow looks so blended and sharp and you’ll never know I used tape to do that” look

I would pair this makeup look with any dress and heel combination you want! The flexibility with this look stems from the fact you can choose any eyeshadows colors you want to coordinate with any outfit choice

Now, if you love a really blended and dramatic smokey effect on your eyes, this last look is for you. For this look, I focused on using more matte dark brown and black shades to create a layered, smokey effect. For you, make sure the eyeshadow colors you choose complement the outfit you’re wearing. When trying to build up color in your eye crease and outer edge, apply a little bit of eyeshadow at a time because through experience, I have found that it is easier to add more color to deepen your look then to take color away.

To get a super crispy edge to your eyeshadow (creating a faux eyeliner effect) I love placing tape on my outer corner, that way you can blend your eyeshadow past the tape and once you peel it off, your eyeshadow will be blended and looking really clean on the outer edge.

After priming my eyelids, I like to apply tape to my outer corner to make my eyeshadow have a sharp, clean edge

In an attempt to help you navigate the ever stressful choices you are probably facing: choosing a dress, shoes, accessories, date… I decided to take one choice out of the equation and give you these four looks, each different in their own way to help you see and compare which one will work for you and the vibe you’re going for in any formal situation.

Although some may look tricky, don’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone and try a makeup look that may be new to you. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it after all!

If you’re looking for more tips, tricks and makeup inspiration, head on over to my YouTube channel where I love to talk about all things beauty & fashion! 

Syracuse University