How to Do Makeup for a Semi-Formal

By Celeigh O'Neil

On a calendar full of tests and deadlines, your semi-formal stands out as a much-needed break. It's a chance to trade in your hoodie for a party dress and up your makeup game to match. Whether you choose to go fresh-faced or dramatic for your next semi-formal, choose products that will make you feel your best while lasting through the night.

Premiere Of Lionsgate's
credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Peyton List's defined eyes and natural lips are semi-formal ready.

Foundation and Powder

Your makeup base needs to be long-lasting in order to survive hours of dancing and look flawless in photos. Massage a mattifying primer into your skin to help your foundation glide over pores and last longer. Pour a quarter-sized amount of cream foundation onto the back of your hand and use a damp wedge sponge to pat it onto your skin for a natural finish. Dust a matte translucent powder over your foundation, including your eyelids, to keep shine at bay. Avoid products containing SPF or shimmer, as they will make your skin appear washed out in flash photography.

Blush and Bronzer

Use blush and bronzer to add light and shape to your face. Choose a berry-toned powder blush if you prefer a dramatic look or a rose-toned blush for a romantic effect. Use a blush with shimmer to lift your cheekbones. Using a large blush brush, sweep the product from the top of your cheekbone into your hairline. Dip a pointed contour brush into a bronzer that is two shades darker than your skin tone; buff it underneath your cheekbones, along your temples and beneath your chin with a circular motion. This will give your face definition, which is flattering in flash photography.

Eye Makeup

Go darker with your eye makeup than you usually would so that it shows up under dim lighting and in photos. Use your fingertip to pat a cream gold shadow over your eyelids. Use a fluffy shadow brush to sweep a matte-brown toned shadow through the crease of your eye. Pat a mauve or lavender shadow next to the inner corner of your eye if your dress is cool toned or go with a bronze shadow to complement a warm-toned dress. Drag a kohl liner from the outer corner of your eye, to the center of your lower lash line. Use brown if your outfit is girly, and black if you're going more dramatic. Apply a generous coating of mascara to your upper and lower lashes.

Lush Lips

Make a statement with your lip color or softly define them to keep your eyes the central focus. Bold lips add a vintage feeling to floor length gowns. Opt for a matte pink or red, patting it onto the lips for a long-lasting effect. If your dress is short or in the pastel family, choose a light pink or peach for a subtle pop of color. Use a lipstick with a sheen to make your lips look plump. Keep tinted balm on hand throughout the night to touch up your lips without drying them out.