Skip to main content

F is for Formal: 7 Makeup Looks for Fancy Occasions like Prom 'n' Other Stuff

Gorgeous examples of red-carpet makeup you can do yourself for weddings, parties, anything -- including prom. Emma Stone, Leighton Meester, Ashley Greene, Brooklyn Decker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna
  • Author:
  • Updated:
Emma Stone in Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Carthage

Yes, I'm in love with Ginnifer Goodwin's bright-blue-eye-shadow at the Met Ball. But I'm also swoony over Emma Stone's stunning bright pink lip with her black-white-and-grey Lanvin dress. Surprise. (Well, I love Emma Stone -- I've seen Easy A about 83 times.) This makeup, like Ginnifer's, is aces for prom -- for every age, actually. Here's what celebrity artist Rachel Goodwin used:

On skin: Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF 15 in Beige Rosé-Pastel, a sheer foundation.

On eyes: pale pink shimmer from Chanel Quadra Eyeshadow in Lilium as a wash all over the lid; Chanel Intense Eye Pencil in Clair along the inner rims to brighten; lash clusters by Ardell at the outer corners of the upper lid; and two coats of Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara in Noir.

On cheeks: well that's a bit of a mystery, but a peachy blush will do the trick; try M.A.C Sheertone Powder Blush in Pinch o' Peach.

On lips: NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Carthage.

Emma Stone_hot pink lips_black & white Lanvin dress

I wish Taylor Swift had done this instead of that contoured eye with major fake lashes and shiny red lips -- that's old. This is so much fresher -- more youthful without being teenager-y.)

My other favourite beauty look from this week's Met Ball? Leighton Meester's don't-hate-me-for-my-insanely-gorgeous-skin makeup and put-all-the-focus-on-my-face pulled back hair. Love, love how Leighton changes things up.

Leighton Meester at the Met Ball

All beautiful skin, natural-yet-groomed full brows and low-sheen nude lips, this works for almost all ages, depending on how your eyes are built. I'd like to see this as a prom look too -- it's so not cupcake. For that sculpted bone structure finish at temples, cheeks and jawline, head for M.A.C Mineralize Skin Finish Natural powder in a shade darker than your skintone. For the eyes, keep the lid and crease simple in nude shadows, and go for waterproof liner, such as easy-to-handle Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner. Try a coloured version if you're feeling playful; Leighton walked the edgy side this night.

Ashley Green at the Met Ball

Other noteables include Ashley Greene's more conventional red-carpet makeup -- it's the warm bronze shimmer along the lower lashes in contrast to the cooler shadow on her lids that caught my attention. A little bit of unexpected is always lovely. Lighten up on the foundation if you're thinking prom; otherwise this is an all-ages look. Get the mark. makeup details here.

Michelle Williams at the Met Ball

Michelle Williams in warm gold is gorgeous. Might be a bit much for prom -- this skews older in my opinion. Maybe with a titch less colour on the cheeks it would look more youth-appropriate. But for anyone over the age of 25, love. This is makeup artist Jeanine Lobell's work again, with Chanel Quadra Eye Shadow in Mystic Eyes, Precision Brow Definer in Soft Brown, Powder Blush in Tempting Beige, and Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine in Canotier on lips. Click here for the detailed how-to.

Brooklyn Decker at the Met Ball

On its own, Brooklyn Decker's makeup is all-ages nice, but not heart-stopping. What I love is that she wears such restrained makeup with that I-am-not-an-ingenue haircut and neon-pink Michael Kors dress. No trace of matchy-pepto-pink on her face. Plus, with that hair and the way that dress fits, Brooklyn looks insanely athletic. Please can I be Brooklyn Decker? Please??

Gwyneth Paltrow at the Met Ball

And Gwynnie. She's just so very pretty with that golden hair, glowing skin with flushed cheeks and lips, and lotsa fake lashes. Classic Gwyneth Paltrow, done and done. All ages. And all Chanel -- get the beauty details here.

Madonna at the Met Ball

One more? One word: Madonna. Yes, she's had oodles of cosmetic work, but the woman looks phenomenal. She's hugely into to Intraceuticals facials -- has her own machine or two -- so her skin is unreal. I'm a fan of them as well, but don't have the space for an in-house set-up. *sigh*

With a nod to classic 1930s glamour, which anyone can swing, makeup artist Gina Brooke went for lashes and bright lips against dewy skin. She used Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, followed by Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer, a mix of Shell and Ivory. On Madge's cheeks she used the Temptu Air pod blush in Pale Pink. She didn't specify re: eye makeup (what, no endorsement?), but it looks like a pale copper shimmer along upper and lower lashlines, plus a few false-lash flares at the outer edges and lots of black mascara. I love the lip shade -- it's cherry brightness is fresh and youthful. The base is Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Nude; the topper is Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Crème lipstick in Icon.

Does any of these looks speak to you? Do you agree with the Brooklyn Decker inclusion? Disagree with any of the others?

Thanks of course to