What Makeup to Use with a Red Prom Dress

Candace Leigh
Girl in red prom dress

By choosing a red prom dress, you're already on the way to a vibrant and glamorous entrance! Of course, no look is complete without the right makeup. If your dress has gorgeous sparkles and embellishments, then keep your makeup sophisticated, but subtle. If your dress is more classic and clean-lined, then feel free to play up your makeup more dramatically. Either way, cosmetics should enhance and complement your entire look.

Modern Classic Beauty

For the girl who's classic, confident, and wants to look effortlessly pretty, a modern classic look is easy to achieve. By pairing a perfectly-matched red lip to your red prom dress, you bring the whole look together.

Key products are tinted moisturizer, bold matte lip color, and golden cream shadow. Follow these simple steps to create the look:

Get Skin Glowing

  • Start with warm water and a gentle exfoliating scrub, such as invigorating St. Yves Apricot Scrub. The circulation will improve your skin's radiance. and help your makeup go on smoothly.
  • Use a sugar scrub or toothbrush to exfoliate lips. Apply a small bit of balm, so it can soak in while you're applying other makeup.
  • Apply a tinted moisturizer or lightweight foundation with your fingertips. If needed, use a sponge to build coverage around your nose or any blotchy areas.
  • Use a brush-tip concealer to cover any blemishes. Use a small bit of concealer as a highlighter in the inside corners of your eyes and across your brow bone.
  • Apply an understated blush lightly on the apples of your cheekbones, blending well for a subtle glow.

Define Your Eyes

  • Use an eyebrow brush or clean toothbrush to groom brows. Try using a small bit of hairspray on the brush bristles to keep brows in place.
  • Apply one or two coats of lengthening and defining mascara in black, such as L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara, on top and bottom lashes. Use an eyelash comb to separate and remove any clumps. Then, use a Q-Tip to clean up any stray specks of mascara around the lash line.
  • Sweep a golden cream shimmer shadow on your lids, just up to the crease.

  • Skip the eyeliner with this look, or use just a light touch, so that the focus is on the red lips.

Make Lips Bold

  • Use a neutral-color liner to define lips. Using a lip brush, soften the line.
  • Apply a bold matte red lipstick, using the brush to perfect your lip shape. Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss comes in a variety of classic red tones, is super-affordable, and provides high-intensity results. Blot lipstick, reapply, and blot again to ensure staying power. (Be sure to take your lipstick and lip brush in your purse, so you can touch up as needed through the night.)

Complete Your Look

  • If your skin tends to be oily, bush or sponge translucent powder across your forehead, nose, and chin.
  • Looking a little pale? Use a big fluffy brush and lightly sweep on a powder bronzer.
  • Combine a small bit of the golden cream shadow with lotion. Smooth over shoulder blades and collarbone for a golden glow.


Romantic Rose Beauty

For the girl who's dreamy, feminine, and wants to look like a modern princess, a romantic rose makeup is enchanting. By pairing softer hues in the red family with your red prom dress, you create a look that's complete without being match-matchy like a bridesmaid.

Key products are chocolate brown eyeliner, cream blush, and brow gel. Follow these simple steps to create the look:

Perfect Your Complexion

  • Start with a light-to-medium foundation with a dewy finish, such as Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Luminous Foundation. Use a sponge to apply and blend well.
  • Spot-apply concealer where needed.
  • Blend a rosy cream or gel blush, such as Ulta's Cheek Stain in Tickled, on the apples of your cheeks. The chubby stick-style blushes are quick and easy to apply, and the color practically melts in for easy blending. If too bright, dab the foundation sponge lightly over cheeks to diffuse color.

Enhance Your Lashes

  • Use a tinted brow gel to groom brows. A full, natural look is most flattering.
  • Apply a chocolate brown pencil eyeliner, like Cover Girl's Liquiline waterproof pencil in Brown blaze, to the top lash line. Place liner as close to the lash line as possible for a natural look. For even more definition, apply the pencil liner to the lower lash line with a light touch as well. Then, use a wet Q-tip to even the line and clean up any smudges.
  • Apply a taupe or light-colored shadow, like Wet n' Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Single in Brulee, to lids.
  • Apply one or two coats of dark brown or black mascara to top lashes only.

Paint Your Pout

  • Using a lip brush or fingertips, apply a creamy red-toned lipstick, such as Revlon Super Lustrous. Blot to soften color.
  • Apply a clear gloss, balm, or Vaseline over lipstick for a romantic finish.

Color Pop Beauty

For the girl who's fun, fierce, and wants to make a statement, a color pop look adds a punch of a complimentary bright hue to play off the red. By pairing a contrasting bright color with your red prom dress, you tap into right-off-the-runway color-blocking trends and open the possibilities for other bright non-red accessories.

Key products are powder foundation, vivid eye shadow, and liquid liner. Follow these simple steps to create the look:

Make Your Face Flawless

  • Apply a powder or cream-to-powder compact foundation with a sponge. This will provide a flawless matte canvas for your bright colors.
  • Apply blush along the bottom of your cheekbone and blend upward (or skip it entirely), so that your bright eyes stay the focus.
  • Dab concealer or primer on lids to help shadows stay and prevent creasing.

Dramatize Your Eyes

  • Apply black liquid eyeliner to the top lash line. Draw the lid taut with one hand, while applying with the other, to help get the line as close to your lashes as possible.
  • For even more drama, flick the line up at the outside edge of your lash line to create a cat's eye look. This technique is easy with NYX Cosmetics The Curve Liner, an ergonomic, angled felt-tip applicator designed for a precise line.
  • With a regular liquid liner, you can hold a credit card at an angle near the outside corner of your eye to uses as a guide for the line.
  • Choose one color of a highly-pigmented powder shadow in a bright shade: emerald green, turquoise, amethyst, or even dandelion yellow. The Maybelline Color Tattoo line offers vibrant gel formulas that won't crease or fade during the night.
  • Apply shadow to the entire lid, up to the crease or just above. Reapply, if needed, to achieve a solid, bold pop of color.
  • Apply one or two coats of black, lengthening and defining mascara on top and bottom lashes.

Refine Eye Makeup

  • Use a Q-Tip dipped in a couple of drops of baby oil to clean up any smudges.
  • Choose a sharp brow pencil in a natural tone to shape your brows. With light strokes, define your arches, and then lightly brush brows in place.
  • Dust off any errant specks of eye shadow. with a big, fluffy makeup brush. Touch up powder foundation if needed.

Gloss Your Lips

  • Apply lip stain in a red or rosy tones that complement the shade of your dress.
  • Let stain set, then top with a shiny clear gloss, such as cult favorite Smith's Rosebud Salve in a vintage-style tin. (Be sure to being your powder foundation compact and gloss in your bag for late-night touch-ups.)

Choosing Lipstick Colors

You can't go wrong with classic red lips when you're wearing a red prom dress. Just remember to find balance: the bolder the lip, the more subtle the eye makeup. Blue-toned reds look wonderful on girls with cool complexions, while orange-toned reds will bring warm complexions to life.

If you're not sure which red lip color is perfect for you, consult with an expert at your local makeup counter. Bring your dress, or a swatch of fabric, when shopping for lipsticks, if you're looking for a match.

Ready for Prom

Whether you choose classic elegance or total drama, your fashion sense, friends, and enthusiasm for fun are all sure to make your big night special and stylish! Your beautiful face should be the focal point on your prom night. Though it's a formal event, you still want to look like yourself - your best self - and radiate your signature style.

What Makeup to Use with a Red Prom Dress