Weddings, reunions, work parties, birthdays: These are NOT events to show up at looking like a “full-on Monet,” in the immortal words of Cher Horowitz from “Clueless.” For Instagram-worthy pics — without the filters — you need to have your makeup routine down to a science.
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Day Vs. Night
First things first: There should be a big difference in your daytime and nighttime beauty routines. Day events are usually more casual than night events, so that means less is more — less makeup, lower heels, "undone" hair. Day events don’t require flash photography, so it’s a great time to play up your natural beauty.
At night events, the aforementioned flash photography can make it look like you’re wearing a mask, so wear a foundation that doesn’t have SPF in it. Bright flashes also blanket your face in unnatural light, which can blur the definition in your bone structure. That's when heavy contouring is your friend.
Essential Tips for Daytime Events
Give your cheeks a little lift by dusting a matte bronzing powder just under your cheekbones. Anastasia Beverly Hills makes a fantastic powder contour kit. A little dab of a warm-toned blush on the apples of your cheeks gives you a fresh, flushed look. Benefit Cosmetics Box o’ Powder Blush in Dallas is a great option.
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Don’t forget to lightly fill in your eyebrows if necessary, and apply a coat or two of mascara to finish the look. My new fave is Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Effect Drama. This $9 drugstore formula stands up to the $30 department-store mascaras any day. If you like to wear eyeliner, opt for dark brown instead of black for a more casual look.
Essential Tips for Nighttime Events
Nighttime events are when you go big or go home: full face contouring, false eyelashes — the works. There are a lot of great foundation options without SPF, such as MAC Cosmetics Pro Longwear Foundation, which offers full coverage and lasts for up to 15 hours.
Contouring to highlight your features makes a big impact. Anastasia Beverly Hills has a great cream contour kit with six colors. If you want to keep it simple with just one contour color and one highlight color, choose concealers that are two shades lighter and two shades darker than your skin color.
You can even contour your eyes using a darker eyeshadow in the crease and a lighter color below the brow to highlight your brow bone. And nothing creates a more dramatic look than black eyeliner. MAC Cosmetics makes a fantastic gel version that's easy to apply and stays on forever!
Finally, fake eyelashes are the perfect way to complete a nighttime look. Ardell is the go-to for all celebrity makeup artists and they make great individual and strip lashes, and Duo Adhesive Glue helps keep them in place for marathon events like weddings. Here are a couple of sample event looks, so get your brushes and try them out!
Daytime weddings tend to be more casual affairs, so keep your makeup light. Use gold and champagne-colored matte or shimmery eye shadow and a couple of individual eye lashes on the corners of your eyes to open them up. Nude and pink lip tones are better for afternoon events and much less maintenance.
This can be tricky: For your look, you need to take into consideration the location of the wedding. Is it a black-tie wedding at a fancy hotel? Then turn up the drama with kohl-rimmed eyes and false lashes or smoky eyes in silver grays or bronze tones. At the beach at sunset? You can lighten up on your eyes and wear a fun, bright lip color to dress up your look.
For a work event, you’ll have to walk the line between sexy and professional. Keeping your look more classic will turn heads while also impressing your boss. Winged eyeliner with a red lip makes a bold statement in this case. Skip the false lashes for this function. You don’t want to run the risk of looking fake or superficial.
When reuniting with old friends/enemies, you’ll want to look like you’ve turned back time with fresh, dewy makeup. One word: moisturize. And don’t forget to use a primer so your makeup doesn’t settle into any of the fine lines that come with the wisdom and life experience you’ve amassed since graduation.
Jenna Gruttadauria is co-owner of The Oxford Trunk, an online and Santa Monica-based women's lifestyle boutique. Connect with Jenna and follow The Oxford Trunk on Instagram and Pinterest for daily fashion and beauty tips.