Makeup Tips for Evening, Formal and Nighttime Events

3 Rules for Going From Day Makeup to Night Makeup

Evening makeup tips
Evening makeup tips. Iconica / Getty Images

Evening makeup calls for a bit of drama. This is not the time to go au naturel. This is time for a bit of shimmer, eyes that "pop," and lips that seduce.

I have friends who've gotten ready for New York City balls in their office bathrooms and managed to look as if they showered and spent an hour on their makeup in the comfort of their own homes.

Here's how to go from day to night and look as fabulous as possible.

Choose to Play Up the Eyes or the Mouth, Never Both

If you're going out and you want to look fabulous, just remember this simple tip: Either play up your eyes or your mouth, never both. If you accentuate both features, you risk looking dated (remember the 80s?), harsh, and artificial.

If you choose to play up your eyes, you can be as dramatic as you want with eyeliner, shadow, and mascara. But stick to gloss or a light lipstick shade for your lips. You want your eyes to pop, but you don't want them competing with your lips.

If it's your lips you want to accentuate, paint on a strong shade and line just your upper lashes with a couple strokes of mascara to finish your eyes. If your eyelids have bluish lines, you can mask that with face powder or concealer, but stay away from colored shadows — the lighter, the better.

Start With a Clean Palette

When I go from daytime makeup to evening, I like to start with a clean palette.

This means removing all makeup and starting over fresh. If you are prepping at work, a travel-sized facial cleanser and makeup remover are all you'll need to get rid of your daytime look.

5 Minutes to a Flawless Face

To get a perfect face, you really only need five minutes and you have to start with good skin.

I recommend cleansing your face with lukewarm water and then quickly exfoliating with a washcloth to get off any flakes before you apply makeup. Make sure you exfoliate your lips, too, with the washcloth.

I always apply a thick coat of moisturizer on immediately afterward. If you have oily skin, you can use foundation primer to fill in your pores.

I apply tinted moisturizer (you might prefer foundation), with a foam sponge. I follow this with concealer. I love using a concealer brush dipped in my concealer pot and I apply under the eye and along the inside part of my eye where my skin tends to be blueish.

The above steps literally take 5 minutes and I look ready to go out on the town.

Add Drama to Your Flawless Face

Here are my favorite tips for a dramatic face:

  • Bronzer gives definition to the angles on your face. Run a big fluffy brush dipped in bronzer along your jawbone and on your temples. Follow with a sweep just under your cheekbones. This is called "contouring."
  • Illuminators play down shadows and your facial flaws. Tuck your head down as you look into the mirror and swipe an illuminator where the dark shadows lie. Bring your head back up and blend in the color. You'll notice instant brightness to your face. You can also play down a big nose by running a tiny line straight down your nose. Dot the bright color in. Follow with a line of bronzer along each side of the nose.
  • Add a pop of blush to each cheek. Blend well.
  • Set everything with powder.

How to Achieve Dramatic Eyes in Mere Minutes

You don't have to spend an hour on your eye makeup to look dramatic. For nighttime, I recommend the following drama enhancers:

  • Shimmery eyeshadows. Nothing says sexy like shimmer. Apply a sweep to your lids with a deeper color pressed into your eyelid crease.
  • Smudged eyeliner pencil can give your eyes instant smokiness. Smudge the line with your finger. Or for a more kitten-ish look, apply a thin coat of liquid eyeliner.
  • Make eyes look wider with a hint of super light, almost white eyeshadow pressed into the inside corner of your eyes.
  • Always curl lashes with an eyelash curler to open up the eyes and make them appear more awake.
  • If you love drama, apply false eyelashes.
  • Always apply several thick coats of mascara. 

    The Lips, the Lips, Don't Forget the Lips

    If you've played up your eyes or really made up your face, you'll want to go a little lighter on the lips.

    Choose a lip liner that's a shade or two darker than your natural lips and fill in lips with it. Follow this with a dab of lip gloss just in the middle of the bottom lips, then press them together.

    If you stayed light on the eyes, then you can go with a bold lip. First, line the lips with your chosen color, then fill in with lipstick. Gloss can be a bit much if you have a super bold lip, but if it's not too over-the-top, add a dab of gloss to your bottom lip and smack your lips together.