When it comes to dating, everything can feel like a question. What should I wear? Where should we go? Will they know I was looking through their LinkedIn account for two hours last night?
While I’ve yet to overcome the heady mix of anxiety and nausea that arrives just before heading on a first date, I have come to enjoy the process of getting ready, especially when it comes to doing my makeup.
Not only can sitting down and concentrating on your makeup help to take your mind off the pre-date nerves, but choosing a makeup look that you identify with can help you to feel your most confident.
Below, you’ll find inspiration for every kind of date, whether you’re heading to the museum, pub, or on a romantic walk.
I’ve suggested which looks I think match up with each kind of date, but as mentioned, this is about what makes you feel comfortable so try whichever you fancy most, no matter where you’re off to!
Date night makeup look for drinks: Nineties bombshell
If you find a full-on smoky eye too intense for date night but still want to add some definition to your eyes, this Nineties supermodel-inspired look is a great alternative.
Instead of wearing black shadow all over the lid, swap it for a black eyeliner, such as NYX Professional Makeup’s Epic Smoke Liner, £11, Beauty Bay, and work it along the top and bottom lash line.
Use an angled brush to wing out the liner and slightly smudge it for that sultry, smoky effect. In the true Nineties spirit, emphasise your cheekbones with a dash of contour and pair it with a nude glossy lip and a natural brown lip liner.
Date night makeup look for a late lunch: Polished in pink
This is a timelessly beautiful look that lends itself perfectly to date night (or day); it’s not overly complicated, but enhances all your features and requires minimal maintenance throughout the night (because hopefully you’ll be focusing on your date).
RHW is the queen of the pinky nude lip, and for this look has paired a satin-finish lipstick with a bronzed base and eyes.
To achieve this, keep your base fresh and warm with a glowy foundation and cream bronzer; use the same bronzer as an eyeshadow to pull the look together.
For a little extra definition around the eyes, add some fluttery corner lashes and a slight smudge of eyeliner on the upper lid.
Date night makeup look for a fancy dinner: Paint the town red
You really can’t underestimate the kind of confidence the simple act of wearing a red lip will bring you. What can stymie that is worrying whether or not you’ve left half of your lipstick on your wine glass or your date, so finding a red lip that won’t flake or fade is imperative: I highly recommend Maybelline’s SuperStay Vinyl Ink, £11.99, Sephora, and Pat McGrath’s MatteTrance Lipstick, £36, Selfridges.
Keep the rest of your makeup minimal and let your lips lead the way; define your top and bottom lashes with a black mascara and slick down your brows for a soft, laminated effect.
The best eyebrow product I’ve found for this look is a spoolie, some Mac Mini Fix+, £14, Beauty Bay, and Pears Amber Soap, £1.30, Boots. Spritz the spoolie with the setting spray, rub into the soap and brush your brows into place; it’ll hold all night long.
Date night makeup look for a night out dancing: Gloss up
The eye gloss has become a breakthrough makeup product this year, with celebrities such as Leigh Anne Pinnock and Hailey Bieber opting for a slick of gloss on the eyelids. Why? It’s a simple addition that gives your makeup look a sleek, put-together finish, adding dimension to the eye without the need for glitter.
To get this look, swipe a few coats of lengthening mascara on the lashes and a thickening gel through your brows. Add a romantic deep berry shade on the lips and a touch of bronzer and highlight on the cheeks to add a stunning contrast to the glossy lids.
Date night makeup look for a night in: Softly Lit
This look is allll about luminous, natural skin, so a good skincare routine must come first. After cleansing, swipe over an exfoliator such as Ren Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, £28, Space NK, which leaves you with a baby-like glow. Pat in a hyaluronic serum for added hydration and plumpness, and seal it all in with a moisturiser – Sunday Riley’s CEO Cream, £60, Cult Beauty, instantly transforms my tired skin into looking like I’ve just had a facial, so it’s a pre-date favourite of mine.
For the makeup, a tinted moisturiser with concealer only where needed will allow your natural skin and luminosity to shine through. Add a touch of bronzer and buff a subtle neutral brown shade in the outer half of the eyelid. Finish with a liquid highlighter on the high points of the face and your favourite nude lipstick shade.
Date night makeup look for an evening walk & picnic: A touch of romance
I’m absolutely in love with how subtle yet stunning this look is. A pair of fluttery, lightweight lashes are key to creating this doe-eye effect; if you’re adept at applying them, individual lashes such as Ardell’s Individual Eyelashes Knotted Flare Trios, £3.95, Sephora, are ideal, or opt for a pair of Sosu By Suzanne Sara Premium Lashes, £4.95, Beauty Bay, which have a wispy design.
Add a little highlight in the inner corner of the eyes before moving on to the base. Here, you should keep it glowy and fresh, with a bit of contour and bronzer, but most importantly, you want to match your blusher to your lip.
For this look, swap a classic lipstick for a lip stain, which gives a romantic, just-kissed look. A warm rose or subtle berry is a perfect hue for matching with your blusher.
Date night makeup look for a gig: Lilac lover
For a look that’s a little more playful, look no further than the beauty muse of the moment: Hailey Bieber. This holographic purple eyeshadow has a glitter flip finish that looks completely mesmerising, and the glowy, fresh skin gives it an ethereal look.
For the lid, swipe across Glossier’s Lidstar in Lily, £15, Glossier, or Danessa Myricks Beauty Twin Flames in Angel Heart, £28, Sephora, and blend out with your finger. Keep the lashes natural with a slick of mascara on the top, and amp up the glow with your base: a luminous tinted moisturiser, concealer where needed, a cream blush and dab of liquid highlighter on the high points.
Finish with a nude lip liner and top with a lip gloss to tie in this uber-glowy look.
Date night makeup for a formal event: All about the eyes
If winged eyeliner is your go-to everyday look, you might fancy amping up the drama for date night — especially if you’re heading somewhere with a strict ‘dress and heels’ dress code.
Italian movie star Sophia Loren’s iconic eyeliner look is as alluring as it gets. Back in the day, the actress used a clever eyeliner hack to make her eyes appear bigger and longer, and it’s exactly the look you want on a first date. All you need is a white eyeliner pencil, black liquid eyeliner and mascara or fake eyelashes.
Start drawing a regular wing on your upper eyelid, but drag it out further towards your temple and extend the line all the way across your entire upper lid until you reach your inner corner. Then, draw another line from the top of the wing down across your lower lash line — so you’ve got two lines that are joined with a triangular gap between them. Use the white liner to fill in the negative space to make it look like that’s your natural eye shape. Follow up with lashings of mascara on your upper and lower lashes (or go for falsies), and finish the look with bronzer, blusher, and a pale nude lip.
Date night makeup for an activity date: Coloured liner
Activity dates like playing mini golf, going to the zoo or strolling around an art gallery or museum, are a great way to take the pressure off meeting someone new. Why not lean into the fun vibe and play around with some bright makeup, à la Hailey Bieber?
I love how she’s tied in her simple baby pink liner look with soft pink lips, blusher and fluffy brows. If you haven’t already got freckles, this is the perfect excuse to add some faux ones.
If you’re not a fan of pink, you can buy liquid liner in literally any colour. Brown eyes pop the most with electric blue liner, blue eyes stun with golds and pinks, and green and hazel eyes look incredible with purple liner. Or, if you’re not a seasoned pro at applying eyeliner, you could opt for a coloured mascara instead.