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How To Do Your Makeup Like Miss USA

When it comes to pageantry, each system has something that is unique and specific to its judging criteria. For example, in National American Miss, contestants are trained more specifically in how to hold a conversation well, as opposed to Miss USA, where points are determined more so by your on stage presentation than the interview. Just like in each phase of competition, we adjust our makeup to suit the look of the occasion; the same applies for each pageant system. I will break down how to prepare your makeup for each phase of competition in the Miss USA Pageant.

Know Your System! No two systems are the same. In Miss America, contests have to have a talent to perform whereas in Miss USA, talent is not a part of the competition. If you understand your system and where they emphasize key point advantages, you will save yourself a lot of trouble.

BEWARE OF THE GLAM! Miss USA is a pageant that emphasizes glamour. This pageant is not as conservative in regards to the amount of makeup a queen should have on during certain portions of the competition. If you are not in the Miss USA system, do not be overly glam. This will not fare well for you in the competition.

Ensure the stage lights do not wash out your makeup! This goes for any system. At dress rehearsals, I advise you to apply the makeup you intend to wear during competition. The stage lights are far more intense than natural light. Ask your coordinator questions in regards to how your makeup appears on stage.

Miss USA Headshot and Interview Makeup: For the interview portion of the Miss USA competition, I recommend looking similar to your headshot. Because if your headshots looks significantly different than your actual self, the judges will feel as though they were hoodwinked. I have personally heard audience members say, “I wish the girl in the picture was like that on stage.”

Headshot makeup should be similar to this:


Miss Texas USA 2013- Ali Nugent

This look should also be used in interview as well. Here is a term that I use to describe makeup in this phase. The term is “Glam Natural.” Glam Natural means to be effortlessly glamorous without the excessive application of eye shadow, blush, and lipstick. Often, makeup gives the false sense of extrapolated beauty. Glam natural emphasizes the idea that makeup is meant to ENHANCE your look, not create it. In this photo, Ali has on a nude lip, subtle smoky eyes, and light pink blush. This photo does not make me question what this young lady will look like in person; in fact, it makes me revel at the thought that someone walking around in Texas can be that beautiful.

To recreate this look, I recommend having these products handy:

  • Mac Studio Fix Liquid Foundation
  • Bobbi Brown “Brown” Smoky Eye Collection
  • Revlon Matter Super Lustrous Lipstick
  • Philosophy Kiss Me Color Pink Lip Gloss
  • CoverGirl TruCheeks Blush

Miss USA Swimsuit Makeup: For the swimsuit portion of competition, the makeup opportunities are endless! Depending on your preference, you can be fun, festive, and colorful with your makeup, or sexy and sultry. I have two examples below:

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Miss USA 2013, Erin Brady with a colorful look.

This is a great example of playing with colors in your eye shadow. Miss Connecticut 2013 intertwined a bit of blue into her look, which brought out her eyes, and streamlined well into the colors of her swimsuit. In the USA system, it is great to know when to include color into your makeup. It shows that you know when to have a little fun and how to fashionably play up any look. For the lipstick, I would go with a coral pink. The coral pink is fun, with just enough pop of color to add pizzazz to the overall look.

Queen of Makeup Recommendations:

  • Almay Intense I-Color Eye Shadow Kit
  • Laura Mercier Tangerine Lipstick

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Miss Utah 2013, Marissa Powell rocks a smoky eye.

Queen of Makeup Recommendation:

  • The Dior 3 Color Palette.
  • The color palette is shimmery, so the smoky eye is not as deep and daunting; it is smoky, dark, yet fun.

Miss USA Evening Gown Makeup: When I think about evening gown makeup, I instantly think sexy, sultry, cat eyes.

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Miss Alabama 2013- Mary Margaret McCord

This is glamour at its finest. The sultry cat eyes make you look sexy, classy, and desirable. Deep smoky eyes, when done right, can make your eye color pop and make your eyes stand out. In the evening gown portion of this system, smoky eyes are a must.

Queen of Makeup Recommendation:

  • Bobbi Brown: The Smoky Eye Collection.

This set has everything you need to create the perfect smoky eye, time and time again. Even if you are not vying to be Miss USA, you can look fabulous going to the beach, or going out on a late night outing.

Let’s open the floor for makeup chatter! Which pageant queen rocks her makeup the best? Let me know below!

Stay BeYOUtiful.

Which dress do you like better?

6 thoughts on “How To Do Your Makeup Like Miss USA

  1. This is a great article! I love having suggestions on certified makeup brands that have been tested by pageant girls!

  2. I advise anyone to reconsider using MAC makeup. I used the foundation and blush
    For my last pageant and broke out horribly a few days later. Mostly in the area i applied the blush. It was so bad that now 3 months later I can finally see improvement and the dark spots left by the blemishes are faded. I had to use mederma to help lighten them. I lost one modeling job because my skin broke out so badly. Also, my face was very shiny for the pageant and since learned MAC makeup has something called Titanium Dioxide in it which makes you shine. Never use MAC on stage or for anything! I threw away over a hundred dollars of makeup after one use.

  3. I am honored to have stumbled upon this website! After having competed at Miss USA, I would say that your breakdown for competition makeup is spot on 🙂 In case anyone wants to replicate the smokey eye look that I have in the third picture down, check out the website of the make up artist who painted my face at Miss USA! Her name is Danielle Doyle and she used ‘The Perfect Face’ costemic products to create the look. Her website is http://www.tpfcosmetics.com, check it out to find the exact colors listed below that she used on my face.

    For my eyes Danielle used-
    Moon gold shimmer pigment, sweet dreams eyeshadow, satin sheets shimmer pigment, chocolate cake eyeshadow, espresso eyeshadow, Raevan eyeshadow, blackout gel eyeliner

    Lips – savior faire lipstick, cameo liner

    Face – picture perfect foundation y5 (used as concealer),blushing bride blush, medium contour

    Danielle also used from raincosmetics.com-
    Presley Pink lip gloss, mascara in black, and false lashes

    Lastly, she used airbrush makeup in dark golden beige and soft brownbfrom dinair.com

  4. Wow, what a huge honor to see this. 3 out of the 4 photos are my makeup work. This was so cool to see. Being the official makeup artist for miss texas usa I did the makeup for Ali in her headshot shot by selectstudios.com with hair by Eric Vaughn. I also was blessed to do the beautiful faces above of marissa Powell (Utah) and Mary Margaret McCord (Alabama) as they competed for miss usa in these photos. I take it as a huge compliment that you chose my work for the majority of your examples. None of the products mentioned above were what I used but if you’d like I could give you the exact colors and products use on each girl.
    Danielle Doyle

    1. What are your go to products with these pageant looks and favorite foundation?

  5. would love to know the products and colors used by Miss Alabama in the Miss USA pageant.

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