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Festival Makeup: How To Look Good For Days

Updated: Jan 11

You are more likely to come across a lesser spotted dogfish than a powder room at an outdoor music event miles from anywhere. Not cool - if you want to look good in festival makeup while you embrace the experience.

Remember, you are challenging the norm from the moment you arrive.

So, whether you are a culture vulture or party animal, there are a few things you need to know - if you want to stay looking your best.

Matted hair and cosmetics all over the place - or non-existent - equate to the end-of-day-two badge of honour. Unless, of course, you are rocking it in the VIP zone.

We've all seen images of 'festival girls' in trendy wellies, with perfectly applied face paint and not a hair out of place. Wonder how they do it when you look unintentionally grunge?

If they are not there on a day pass, they already know how to navigate the, let's face it, demanding environment.

It's no fun trying to get dolled up in a tent full of party people, devoid of running water and, possibly, mislaid (or forgotten) cosmetics.

But, with a little bit of planning, you can overcome all the obstacles and nail it 24/7.

music festival

First Up - A Festival Horror Story

It was a 'wet one' in 1985. I literally slid through mud and rain to reach the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. I eventually got there, muck halfway up my leg, for the Day Two performance by The Style Council. It was around 9pm and I looked - and felt - like the back end of a bus. My hair hadn't been near a comb for 48 hours and there wasn't a single particle of anything with a pigment in it left on my face. Just grime.

I was there with my first ever boyfriend, who kept bumping into people he knew (most of them drop-dead gorgeous females). I couldn't help feeling, well, rubbish.

Truth be told, I didn't enjoy anything past the first day because I was too busy fretting about my looks. (There wasn't much else to fret about at 19.)

You see, I wasn't organised. I'd thrown a load of loose cosmetics into a huge holdall, which also contained a change of clothes, a sleeping bag and numerous other 'essentials', which turned out not to be essential at all. By the time I realised my face needed a 'touch-up', it was gone midnight on Day One and, try as I might, I couldn't find a thing in the pitch black - not least our torch. I'd walked God knows how far back to the tent for nothing.

At dawn, we were woken by drunks kicking cans against the canvas and deserted the tent like running ants, taking our belongings with us. We found a mutual friend, who was staying in a converted Bedford van, but the back was full of bodies sleeping off the night before. And so it went on. And on...

I didn't enjoy The Style Council; not while I was wet, cold and shivering. Still lugging the holdall around, of course. Truth be told, I just wanted to go home.

With festival tickets now up to ten times the cost of what I paid all those years ago, you would be a fool not to want to make the most of it.

So, if you care about your looks and don't want to wish you weren't there (like me), follow my top tips and have a hassle-free time.

festival makeup

Slay Your Style - Anywhere

The key to great festival makeup is to keep things simple and organised.

You don't want to keep walking back to your tent (trust me, it can be a very l-o-n-g way from the action), so my first tip is to ensure whatever you need is lightweight, portable and always with you.

A great festival accessory is a waterproof cross-body bag with a zip fastener. Harder to lose than other types of bags, it will keep all your essentials safe and dry.

Don't take a shed load of individual makeup items with you. Leave them at home - along with your foundation. Instead, invest in a travel-size all-in-one or multi-purpose makeup set. You'd be surprised how much brands now pack into these little things. And they can cost well under a tenner! They make it super easy to switch your look up or down, wherever you are. Get one that includes eyeshadow, face powder, blusher, bronzer, lip tints/gloss and, if possible, applicators. The only other items you will need are mascara and an eyeliner.

If you can't find a travel kit you like, take a look at some of the smaller book palettes or pack an eyeshadow set with pigments that can be used as a blusher as well as to highlight and contour. If you opt for a book palette, make sure it has a strong magnetic close. Eyeshadow can also be used instead of paint on the face.

Tip: LED light-up compact mirrors have come right down in price - perfect for round-the-clock needs. They are stylish too.

Skincare is going to take a hit whatever you do. Even if the event you attend has good wash facilities, there's bound to be huge queues. If you are fastidious about cleansing, toning and moisturising, take a look at some of the travel and trial kits available. They contain itsy-bitsy products that will take up hardly any space in your bag and see you through the weekend. Try to find one with a cream cleanser and invest in a small pack of face wipes. Use a moisturiser as a primer before applying face powder for half-decent coverage.

When it comes to hair, pack a comb for short styles. If you've got longer hair, have it braided or tie it up. Use pins and clips and, for extra hold, spray it in place. Want to wear your hair long? Good luck! Pack a comb and use it.

festival fashion

Festival Makeup In A Nutshell

You can't take the kitchen sink to a festival but, with a few little compromises, you can take your style.

Choosing products that will make your life easier while keeping you looking and feeling fab is the name of the game.

You will be camera ready while you are making memories and, I bet, the belle of the (festival) ball.

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1 Comment

Lindsay Jane Vine
Lindsay Jane Vine
Jun 02, 2022

You are wayyy braver than me my friend. I never once wore make up to a festival as I would always be dirty, hungover and past the point of caring about my looks. Yet, there would always be those who would look perfect after 3 days of being at a festival. Loved reading this article, so well written :)

Lindsay |

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