Prom might only be a one-night affair, but the amount of beauty decisions that go into the evening are aplenty. After you’ve said yes to that prom night dress (or before, if you have a strong beauty inspiration!) you’ve got to decide on the hairstyle, what makeup look you’ll be wearing, the manicure that will decorate your nails, and if you think picture time is even more entertaining than the dance floor, your go-to poses.
To help prep you for the affair, we put together a more than comprehensive list of prom beauty tips, from hair to makeup to skin care.
1. Bring a picture of the back of your dress to the salon so that your hairstylist can help you decide what hairdo looks best.
2. Put in your bobby pins with the rough side down so they don’t slip out of your updo.
3. Wear a button-up shirt to your hair appointment so that you don’t mess up your hairstyle when you go to change.
4. Try out a classic ballerina bun that will never go out of style, a la celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin.
5. Turn to YouTube for easy hair tutorials you can do yourself. It’ll save you some money for the rest of your prom budget!
6. Try a messy, loose prom hairstyle for natural or boho feel. It’s less expected than the typical updo and no one will notice if it falls out a bit on the dance floor.
7. Keep an umbrella in your car or a shower cap in your bag in case of an unexpected shower or bout of humidity.
8. Use a flexible hairspray on your curls so they don’t look crunchy and dry.
9. To keep curls bouncy, hairstylist Edward Tricomi, Master Stylist and Co-Founder of Warren Tricomi Salons, suggests “spot-spraying” as opposed to spraying your entire head. This consists of individually spraying one curl at a time.
10. Braid your hair with a braid paste or work in a light styling serum so that your braid stays put and is more flexible during the braiding process—i.e it doesn’t slip out!
MORE: Messy Prom Hair That’s Actually Easy To Do
11. Speaking of braids, you can totally rock this look on prom night. From fishtails to milkmaid braids, there’s tons of unique and pretty options.
12. If you’re looking to minimize the heat styling portion of getting rippling waves, sleep in a few braids the night before. Undo them about an hour before the event and lightly run a dry oil or a serum through your hair to get rid of any frizz.
13. To battle frizz on the go, invest in frizz sheets (they look kind of like dryer sheets). All you do is run one over the top of your head to battle fly-aways. Redken’s are infused with lavender oil for a calm and pretty scent along with their helpful service.
14. No good with a curling iron? Sleep in rags, velcro rollers, or flexible no-heat rollers to get a tendril-y ‘do.
15. If you’ve curled too much and kind of look like Shirley Temple, there’s a quick fix! Take a spray bottle of water and lightly spritz your curls, gently pulling down on each tendril. This should help drop the tightly wound curls to more of a wave.
16. Be sure to wear a glove when using your curling wand or iron to avoid accidental burns on prom night.
17. Avoid huge hair color changes (think brunette to platinum blonde) the day of or day before prom in case you’re displeased with the result.
18. Color touch-ups are no problem! Hairstylist Edward Tricomi says you can do this from a week before to even the day-of the big event.
19. Don’t forget to follow salon etiquette and tip your hairstylist 20% of the overall cost of the service you received. It’s recommended that you tip the assistant, and you can gauge how much to pay based on how involved they were in the process.
20. If you want shimmery or extra shiny hair in a second, reach for a light-reflecting spray like Oribe’s or Joico’s Gold Dust Shimmer Spray. Hold the product about ten inches away from your head and evenly distribute the spray around your head–you don’t only want sparkle on the crown of your head!
21. Apply a root-boosting spray or a blow-dry spray from your roots to midway down the hair to give your hair extra volume when blow-drying.
22. Go for a vintage look at prom with pinned curls. There are some amazing tutorials that can be found on YouTube—or try a simple bouffant with a teasing technique.
23. Spritz in hair fragrance (yes, they exist!) for a subtle approach to perfume. Your hair will smell amazing and the powerful scent or standard perfume won’t overwhelm you.
24. Opt for hair accessories over clunky jewels for a pretty update to any hairstyle. Between headbands, clips, barrettes, and flowers, there’s plenty of options that will fit your personality.
25. Bring along the hair accessory of your choice to the salon so that your stylist can help place it. They’ll know where to put it and how to secure it so it doesn’t fall out during the night.
26. Leave a section of hair out of your ponytail and wrap it around the base to hide the hair-tie and to make the casual updo more evening appropriate.
27. Embrace your short hair with a hairstyle inspired by some of the celebs in Hollywood working pixies, bobs, and more.
28. If you’re getting an updo, arrive at your appointment with day-old hair so the natural oils can help mold it into place.
29. Bring your extensions to the salon so that your stylist can cut them to fit the layering of your hair.
MORE: Beauty Tips Every Girl Should Know
Makeup, Skin, and Body:
30. Apply lip liner to lessen the chance of your lipstick smearing onto your skin during the night.
31. Further protect your lipstick by applying a primer or setting it with foundation before lining and filling in with pigment.
32. Try a spray deodorant that applies dry and clear to avoid getting marks on your dress.
33. Quickly absorb oils on your face with easy-to-pack blotting pads.
34. Keep a perfume roller ball in your clutch for a quick and discrete perfume touch-up during the night.
35. For a healthy glow before the big night, book yourself a spray-tanning session or invest in a self-tanner.
36. Get extra sleep, reduce stress, and make sure to practice exercise habits to reduce the redness in your face.
37. Store a few floss picks in your clutch in case something gets stuck in your teeth during dinner.
38. Avoid drinking coffee or dark soda—teeth staining culprits—before taking pictures and opt for water instead.
39. Match your nail color to your lip color for a not-so-obvious beauty look coordination.
40. Exfoliate before applying self-tanner so your complexion doesn’t get streaky.
41. Keep your makeup in place with a setting spray.
42. Pick red lipstick shades with blue undertones so your pearly whites pop in pictures.
43. Go for liquid eyeliner as opposed to a pencil to lessen the chance of smudging.
44. Make sure to apply sunscreen so you don’t get burnt outside while taking pictures!
45. Makeup artist Neil Scibelli suggests using shimmer above your cheekbones, down the bridge, and under the eyebrow. If you have oily skin, use a powder but if you have normal skin, he suggests using a creamy highlighter like BECCA cosmetics’ Shimmering Skin Perfectos.
46. Be weary how much shimmer and glitter you’re using in your look. “Shimmer and glitter pick up light, especially in photos—causing the skin to look overly shiny,” explains makeup artist Neil Scibelli. “You don’t want to look like a disco ball.”
47. Apply your false eyelashes underneath your own (instead of on-top) to keep them looking super real and natural.
48. Stay on top of your moisturizing routine to prevent your skin looking dry and flakey underneath your makeup on prom night.
49. Use a Q-tip and the tiniest bit of makeup remover to clean up any mascara smudges on or around your lid when your makeup is done.
50. Opt for a waterproof formulation of your favorite mascara so that any teary-eyed, nostalgic, or picture-perfect moments don’t wreak havoc on your look.