PROM 101 Your how-to guide for all things prom

Lesson 5: Prom-etology

Who doesn't love thinking about hair, makeup, nails, and tanning? Prom is YOUR time to shine! This year, be prepared for what's to come! Don't wait until the last minute and scramble to get everything together!


Every girl would love to have that natural sun-kissed skin! One popular way to get a tan is the tanning bed. As many of you know, this route takes both time and dedication. Tanning is a gradual thing. To properly tan, you will want to allow at least 2 months ahead of prom to achieve a good tan. The fair-skinned may need to start off tanning for as few as 3 minutes at a time to work on a base tan. Getting started early is key for fair skin types, you need plenty of time to build up those minutes.

Trust me, you do not want to be the red, crispy prom queen. Stay away from forcing yourself to endure the burning just to be should tan a reduced number of minutes over an extended period of time. Don't tan on the day of prom, give your skin a day or two to lose the redness. Not only will you look like a lobster, it may affect the appearance of your makeup. Most tanning salons range in price, you can expect to pay $3-$8 per visit, depending on the strength of the bed bulbs. The price may even be higher in metropolitan areas.

Another source of a sun-kissed tan is spray tanning. Spray tanning is a sunless tanning procedure that is actually much safer and quicker than the tanning bed. On average a single session costs around $50 and can be as quick as 60 seconds. There are some drawbacks...Will I be splotchy? Will I turn orange? Every spray tanning experience is different; here are some tips for every situation.

Splotchy: Usually a spray tan begins to lose its color after the second day and continues to get paler. The tan can flake off in patches, so it's a good idea to use moisturizer lotion daily to keep your skin tone evened out. It is also a good idea to exfoliate before spray tanning. Not only does this help even out the tan, it makes it last much longer.

Orange: You have to match the tan solution to your skin. If you are very pale you should only use a very light tan solution to ensure that you do not come out looking like Tigger (or like Lindsay Lohan). A good spray tanning salon will have a variety of solutions that should be able to match your individual skin tone. I would suggest going for a trial run before prom. This way you can find theperfect salon and solution ahead of time so that you are not in danger of ruining your big day.

There are also self bronzers that are in lotion form. This way is extremely easy and can be done in the comfort of your own home. If you are looking for a way to take the white glow off of your legs or chest with your adorable cocktail dress, this may be perfect for you. The procedure requires you to apply the lotion on the areas in which you wish to darken everyday, for a few days. You won't have that fresh-from-an-island look, but the look will be as close to natural as possible.

Not interested in a tan? Natural beauty is always pretty too. Not all gowns require a tanned tone, most shades of pink and turquoise work great for all skin types. Also great choices for you would be to match your dress to your eye color and make your natural color pop.

Doing your 'do

A prom hairstyle is a vital element in your overall prom look. Hairstyles usually take a great deal of planning and special thought. You should consider your hair type, and you should select a style that will work for the gown you have chosen.

You can achieve just about any look by coordinating your dress and hairstyle. You can rock a fairy tale princess look, with a sweet and romantic style. Or pull off a sexy diva look with sultry swept back curls. Leave some soft, sweet curls dangling around your face to soften your look a bit. For an elegant and romantic look, you can wear your hair up, a simple bun or twist is perfect. If your gown is elaborate and filled with bead work, choose a hairstyle that is subtle. You want to be sure to showcase the gown. For a short cocktail, go for a fun, side pony tail (like Carrie Underwood). For high slits and low backs, go for a funky, spiky style. Your should always get your dress and jewelry selections taken care of first then decide on which hairstyle will work best with what you have chosen so far. Choose a hair style that pulls together your entire look and sets the tone for your prom style.

A fun accessory trend is headpieces! For years, lots of girls have loved the idea of adding a tiara to their princess look. Now, all styles can rock a headpiece, not just prom royalty. You want to be sure that you choose a headpiece that fits comfortably. Be sure that you can still dance and function the way you want without worrying that the headpiece will fall out or mess up your hair. It would be awful to move like a robot all night just to keep your head band from falling out.

Make an appointment with your hairstylist at least eight weeks ahead of time. Salons are super busy at prom time, and you want to be sure to allow enough time. Scheduling in advance reduces the chances of your stylist being overbooked.

Also, be sure to choose a stylist that you have confidence in. When you arrive at your hair appointment on prom day, there should be no doubt that you will leave the shop looking radiant!

If you have some extra time and money to spend, a practice appointment with your stylist is a good idea. A trial run before the big day gives you the opportunity to make changes to your 'do. If you are talented enough to do your own hair, more power to you! You should still practice with a friend once or twice before the big day.

Having trouble finding a hairstyle? Swing by the supermarket and pick up a magazine. This will help you to gather ideas and find your likes and dislikes. Use the internet! Just Google some of the hottest celebs and copy their red carpet styles!


Up-dos work better on slightly dirty, but not greasy, hair. To attain the perfect balance between the two, wash your hair the day before instead of the day of prom. Clean hair is harder to work with and doesn't hold body or curl as well.


Be sure to wear a button-down shirt while getting your hair done. This way, you avoid the risk of pulling a shirt over your head and messing up that new do.

Makeup Work

That face has to be picture perfect for prom night! To make things easier, plan ahead! Yes, plan ahead, even for your makeup! Once that gown is purchased, choose shadow and lip colors that best coordinate with it. Also be sure that the colors you choose work well with your skin tone and eye color. Check out Kim Kardashian's look, it is the perfect blend of clean and bold. The first step to a picture perfect face is cleansing. You should clean and moisturize your skin before applying any makeup. Foundation blends best with moisturized skin.

You should highlight either your eyes or mouth, but not both. So how do you choose? What do you get compliments on most? What feature do you want to focus on?

Deep red lips should be accompanied with soft eyes. Bold eye shadows should be paired with nude lipstick or even just a gloss.

Picking a color that best suits your eyes can be tricky, so we have included an eye shadow guide to help you!

Baby Blue

Wear gray or taupe, violet or purple, or deep blue shadows. Using a darker shade than your eye color makes your eyes stand out and appear exceptionally blue. Mixing bright blue and black shadows will result in the ever-popular smoky eye effect. Adding a hint of silver, turquoise or even fuchsia is a fun factor and can brighten up any shade!

Gorgeous Green & Hot Hazel

Wear brown, apricot, plum or forest green. These colors are sure to make green eyes glimmer. Add some gold, lime or even a sparkly purple to spice things up a bit!

Beautiful Brown

Wear copper, bronze, champagne, soft pinks or a touch of apricot. Neutrals will lighten brown eyes. Some funky favs for brown eyes are royal blue, hot pink and lime green! The contrast against a dark brown eye is a bold, yet beautiful statement!

Shadows for every eye

Classic looks like navy or charcoal define the eye. Add a streak of powder blue or silver sparkly shadow to highlight the brow bone, allowing the base color to pop!

Unfortunate prom-night pimples? It happens, even to the best skin. Lucky for you, makeup concealer works wonders. Applying just a small amount to the problem areas will cover them up!

Nail It!

Your prom look isn't complete yet! We've worked on everything except the fingertips.

French manicure (white tips) is and has always been an easy and popular choice for prom night nails. This look is sure to match any style or color dress. It is a classic that is perfect for prom day or any day!

No time to schedule a mani/pedi? You can easily do your own nails at home, but be sure to practice the week before, you don't want to wait until prom day to try your hand at nail art.

If the classic French manicure isn't bold enough for you, there are other options. A bold, solid color or even a design on your nails! You can look online for inspiration or leave that to your nail technician, he/she may have a cool idea.

Solid nails in silver or gold can give you a funky look that coordinates with your other prom accessories.

So how soon should you get these nails done? Nail salons, like hair salons, get booked quickly. You should make your appointment early, two months in advance to be sure you have a spot! You shouldn't wait until the day of prom to get your nails done., there will be enough to worry about that day! A day or two before is best.


Be sure to apply an additional coat of clear nail polish to your mani and pedi on prom day. Some extra protection will ensure that you don't chip the polish or break a nail on prom night.

Extracurricular Activities: Dress Test
From the hallway to prom day
What does your style say about you?

Preppy.  This look lets simplicity reign with soft neutral tones in classic silhouettes.  Celebrity influence: Blake Lively
Rocker Chic. This look lets you add an edge to a clean and chic look while remaining feminine. Celebrity influence: Avril Levine
Romantic.  This look is an ode to the elegant and is super-girly.  Celebrity influence: Miley Cyrus
Glam Girl.  This look is about fearless fashion, enough said.  Celebrity influence: Rihanna
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Trust me, you don't want to be the burnt crispy prom queen

Spray tan? Be sure to do a trial run

"Not all gowns require a tanned tone, natural beauty is always in style."

"Join the band. Frame your face with a luxe headband. Tease your hair at the crown and sweep your bangs across your forehead. Pin them just behind your ear."

Make an appointment with your hairstylist at least eight weeks ahead of time.

Your hair should pull together your entire look, be sure to coordinate with your gown!

Wear a button-down shirt to your hair appointment to avoid messing up that new 'do

Swing by the supermarket to pick up a magazine for inspiration

"Spice up either your eyes, lips or hair. One single element needs to take charge, or you will look overdone."

"Apply an additional coat of clear nail polish the day of prom for extra protection."

Classics like navy & charcoal define the eye

Lucky for you, makeup concealer works wonders.