Coachella beauty and beyond: How to do your hair and makeup for a music festival

Music Festival Hair and Makeup Beauty Panel
Music Festival Hair and Makeup Beauty Panel

Music festivals should be all about the music, but given the popularity of our Coachella fashion slideshow, it’s safe to say that festival style is the unofficial headliner of the season. And the season has just begun: Coachella’s second weekend is a day away and after it ends all other music festivals will quickly follow. We’ve shared our tips for festival style and now it’s time to talk about how to do your hair and makeup for a music festival. To get the best advice, we turned to the Beauty Panel, our team of beauty blogging experts. Even if you’re not headed to Bonnaroo, Osheaga, Lollapalooza or another music festival this summer, their answers are ideal for any day you’ll be out and about under the hot, hot sun.

Challenge 7: With Coachella in full swing, it’s officially music festival season. How do you do your hair and makeup for a festival? See the answers now! »

While this challenge was all about hair and makeup, our panelists were quick to point out that skincare is just as important. (There’s a reason it’s one of our top beauty trends for spring!) Because music festivals generally involve being at the mercy of the elements—that is, the heat and humidity of summer—it’s important to make sure your makeup has staying power and that you’re fully protected from sun. So instead of using your usual foundation and pressed powders, when doing your makeup for a music festival it’s best to use a good primer and a BB cream instead. As for the sunscreen, you’ll want to load up on all and any products that have SPF. Many BB creams contain SPF and if your lipstick contains it too—much like the one Spiced Beauty’s Jennifer Francis used—then all the better.

For music festival hair, it was all about the braids and brightly-coloured highlights. Dee Thomson, from Liner and Glitter and Gloss, Oh My!, added purple and blue to her hair with hair chalk before twisting strands into a halo braid updo. Sandra D. Sobon of Moms Makeup Stash also added colour with hair chalk, but opted for the trendy cascading curls of a waterfall braid instead. And because it’s not music festival hair without the addition of a flower crown, you’ll be pleased to see that many panelists included flowers in their final looks.

Have a beauty question you want to see the panel answer? Send it our way at Read on for the answers to this week’s challenge and for more goodness, get to know all contributors on our Beauty Panel hub page.


Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Dee

Dee Thomson
Toronto | Liner and Glitter and Gloss, Oh My!

To me, Coachella and festival beauty is all about having fun with your look. I feel that you can really get away with anything, and it’s the perfect time to play with colour, so I wanted that to show.

There’s no way you can think of Coachella without braids coming into play in some way. I decided to go with a braided updo—it gets your hair up and off your face and isn’t going to go anywhere throughout the day, which means no frizz! First off, I added in some bright hair chalk to a few strands so that a little colour would be added into the weave of my braid. Next up, I divided my hair into two sections, and French braided both from my temples back. When the two braids met at the back of my head, I joined them together into one braid that went to the ends of my hair. From there, I just wrapped it up along the back of my head, securing it in place with a few bobby pins and gave a quick spritz of hairspray to lock the style in.

For makeup, I decided to keep my eyes light and added a pop of colour to my lips. I applied light blue and purple eyeshadow to my lids and some mascara to brighten my eyes. For my lips, I applied a fuchsia shade which is sure to draw attention. I used Stila’s After Glow Lip Colour, which I think is really fun and sure to keep the party going all night long. It actually contains fluorescent pigments so the colour glows under a black light.

Products used: Splat Hair Chalk in “Violet Sky” and “Midnight Blue,” L’Oréal Elnett Hair Spray, Stila Countless Colour Pigments in “Tie Dye,” Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara, Stila After Glow Lip Color in “Party Pink”

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Alison

Alison Leong
Vancouver | Alison*Elle

While I’m nowhere near Coachella this week, I thought a pastel colour palette would be perfect for the subtle but glowy look I picture faring well at a music festival. After all, you don’t want to spend too much time slapping on products and worrying about your makeup when you should be enjoying yourself.

I started with a BB cream, which is a multi-tasking base that acts as a moisturizer and provides fairly good coverage. Some BB creams are also formulated with SPF to save you that additional application step. (Bonus!) Next, I swept on some blush to add a bit of colour to my cheeks and a highlighting powder to give my skin a glistening effect under the sun. I kept my eyes simple with a single wash of colour on the lids and a few coats of mascara before finishing with a neutral lip colour that doubles as a lip balm.

As for my hair, I curled it with a 1.5″ curling iron and sprayed with a salt spray to add some texture. A fun accessory like this DIY flower crown completed the look!

Products used: Garnier BB Cream Oil-Free Miracle Skin Perfector in “Light,” Nars Blush in “Orgasm,” M.A.C Pearlmatte Face Powder in “In For A Treat,” M.A.C Pro Longwear Paint Pot in “Éclair,” Lise Watier Dramatique Intense 3D Volume Mascara, Rimmel Airy Fairy Lipstick, M.A.C Mineralize Tinted Lip Balm in “Sweet Tooth,” M.A.C Nail Lacquer in “Confectionary,” Lush Sea Spray

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Rema

Rema Benallal
Toronto | The Burgundy Book

Festival beauty means three main things to me. Dry shampoo, SPF and a kick-ass coral lipstick.

SPF is the most important part of any beauty routine, especially as the sun gets stronger or, if you’re spending more time outside! I am insanely obsessed with Shu Uemura’s UV Under Base Mousse. This ultra-light primer (I have the POREraser version) has the super strength of SPF 35 PA+++. It’s the ultimate way to fight the wrath of wrinkles for as long as you can and I won’t leave the house without it this summer.

For this look I kept it all about matte, fresh skin using Givenchy’s Photo Perfexion foundation with the focus being on this super hot, bright coral lip, courtesy Smashbox’s Be Legendary Lipstick in “Tempt Me.” I lightly dusted M.A.C “Melba” blush on my cheeks for a subtle, matte, coral flush to complement the lipstick.

A few years ago, whilst listening to the sounds of John Mayer at the Hard Rock Festival in London, I realized that my go-to festival hairstyle involved amping up the volume. I love Batiste’s XXL Volume Dry Shampoo for the scent and the way it plumps up hair. I also adopted the simple style of twisting strands on each side and clipping them back for a bit of a hippie-look. It’s cliched I know.

My nails are going to be lacquered up in this insanely gorgeous summer shade by YSL. “Taupe Mauresque” is the perfect muddy-brown with a high-gloss finish. It almost looks gel-like and is totally long-lasting which is just what you need while you’re rocking away at a festival, right?

With a bit of contouring on the face using Benefit’s Hoola bronzer and a little more contouring of my eyes using YSL’s new Marrakesh Sunset Eye Collector Palette my look is complete! The Lumineers, here I come!

Products used: OB for Shu Uemura POREraser UV Under Base Mousse, M.A.C Blush in “Melba,” Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Waterproof Mascara, Givenchy Photo’Perfection Fluid Foundation SPF 20 PA+++, Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Box O’ Powder, Yves Saint Laurent Marrakesh Sunset Sunset Eye Collector Palette, Smashbox Be Legendary in “Tempt Me,” Batiste XXL Volume Dry Shampoo

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Emily

Emily Chan

When I think of a music festival like Coachella, three things instantly comes to mind: Large crowds, sweating bodies and partying all day long. This means that my makeup needs to be comfortable and lasts even after the sun has set. I can’t stand being in the hot sun and the feeling when my makeup literally melts off of my face. So my aim for this look is to not only keep it natural but to make it foolproof for the entire event.

The first thing is sun-protection! If you opt out on wearing sun screen, this can result in really nasty burns in the end. It’s called the most important rule of all for a reason! Wear your sunscreen! I personally prefer something that has a higher SPF so this sunscreen by Neutrogena with SPF 60 is perfect for me. Not to mention that it’s really suitable for the face because it’s not oily at all.

Next step is to prime! Here I’m using my favourite primer by Givenchy. It mattifies my skin and ensures that my makeup will stay put. I don’t want to be sweating and have heavy face makeup, so I decide to skip out on foundation and opt for this Hydreane BB cream by La Roche Posay—it’s much more lightweight than a foundation. Now, if you are like me and need the extra coverage, I suggest using your favourite concealer to dot over any imperfections.

My eyes are very simple. I combine an Essence 3D Duo Eyeshadow and a brown pencil for lining my eyes. The false lashes in this look are very short, thus, making them not as heavy and more natural. I added a natural coloured blush on my cheeks just for an extra glow. I choose to use a tinted lip-balm with SPF instead of a lipstick because not only will it keeps my lips from drying out but I also need something that will not be as noticeable when it fades. (I’ll probably be eating and drinking throughout the day.) Finally to finish the look off, I use some shimmering body powder to “shine bright like a diamond.”

Products used: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Sunscreen, Givenchy Mister Mat Mattifying Foundation Primer, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, La Roche Posay Hydreane BB Creme in “Medium,” Almay Smart Shade Anti-aging Concealer in “Light Medium,” Cherry Lash in “#747XS,” Essence 3D Duo Eyeshadow in “Irresistible Mermaid Kiss,” Essence Stays No Matter What Waterproof Pencil, M.A.C Blush in “Well Dressed,” L’Oréal Colour Riche Balm in “Pink Satin,” Essence Cherry Blossom Girl Shimmering Body Powder

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Christa

Christa Potter
Kawartha Lakes| Perilously Pale

I am not one to attend music festivals, yet if the opportunity arose I would have these things in mind when it came to my look: Natural, effortless, waterproof and sunscreen! While I won’t go au natural, a music festival isn’t really the place to look like your ready for a night club either. I want to subtly enhance my features and bring some colour to my face without looking like I’ve tried too hard. I find this type of look best accomplished with cream products.

I applied high SPF containing BB Cream with a glowy natural finish, a bright flush of cream blush, two cream eyeshadows applied and blended with my finger, a touch of eyeliner and mascara and a lip shade that offers the fresh, glossy pop of colour of a lip gloss without the need to frequently reapply.

Hair is kept simple, as if I’m to be outdoors any length of time, I’ll be donning a hat!

Products used: Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream in “Fair,” Benefit Fake Up Concealer in “Light,” Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in “Diffused,” Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in “Hot Tamale,” Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in “Bikini-tini,” Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in “15 Taupe,” Urban Decay 24/7 Liners in “Zero” and “Corrupt,” Benefit They’re Real Mascara in “Black,” Anastasia Lash Genius, Anastasia Brow Wiz Pencil in “Ash Blonde,” Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis A Levres Glossy Stain in “7 Corail Aquatique”

Fiona Man
Toronto | Product Wars

Products used: Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50, Nars Oil-free Pore Refining Primer, Marcelle BB Cream in “Light To Medium,” Real Techniques Buffing Brush, Cheeky Monkey The Balm, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Custard,” Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, Royal & Langnickel Silk Greenline Blush Brush, Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57, Royal & Langnickel Silk Greenline Brow/lash Brush, Shu Uemura Hard 9 Brow Pencil in “Seal Brown 02,” Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, Essence 3D Eyeshadow in “Irresistible Caramel Cream 04,” Bdellium Tools Duet Fiber Shader #775, Bdellium Tools Blending Brush #776, Chanel Eyelash Curler, Essence Stays No Matter What 24h Volume Mascara, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, Essence Silky Touch Blush in “Adorable 10,” L’Oréal Color Riche Lipstick in “Neonic Orange 406,” M.A.C 224 Tapered Blending Brush, Real Techniques Detailer Brush

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Sandra

Sandra D. Sobon
Toronto | Moms Makeup Stash

Music festivals are always a great time to experiment with style and colour. For this fun yet simple look, I opted to do a quick side waterfall braid and chose to highlight a few random strands of hair using blue and pink hair chalk. I kept my makeup pretty neutral, only adding a splash of pink to my lips.

To achieve the waterfall braid hairstyle, start by brushing your hair. You want to make sure it’s straight and free of any tangles. Next grab a small chunk of hair on one side and bring it towards the back of your head. Divide the hair into three pieces. Bring the bottom piece over the middle piece and the top piece over the middle piece, just as though you are starting a regular braid. Next, grab another piece of hair from the top and add it to the top piece of your braid, bringing the top piece (the one you added to) over the middle piece. With your pinky finger, get a hold of the bottom piece, drop it and replace it with another piece from the bottom. Now, bring the new piece over the middle piece. This will start to give you the waterfall effect. Repeat these steps until you get halfway across your head and secure the braid in place with a few bobby pins.

To colour strands of hair, spray each piece lightly with hairspray. Wait for it to dry and apply the chalk. Reapply hairspray to set the pigment and you’ve got colourful highlights for the day. If things don’t go according to plan, don’t worry, just wing it! Unkempt hair is what music festivals is all about so don’t be scared to experiment.

Products used: L’Oréal Elnett Ultra Hold Satin Hairspray, Splat Hair Chalk in “Midnight Blue” and “Dusty Rose”

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Ellie

Ellie Somfelean
Montreal | My Beauty Box

When faced with a day of dancing, concerts, sun and walking around I need my make-up to be as resistant as possible, require minimal touch-ups and, of course, I want to make sure I stand out in a crowd.

Since I’ll probably be out all day, I’ve chosen a moisturizer with SPF. For the base I used M.A.C Face and Body water based foundation, as it looks natural and it is very resistant. I like to apply this product with my fingers and work into skin in layers, building coverage where needed. Then I contoured with bronzer for a sun kissed glow, dust highlighter on cheekbones and finish with a touch of blush.

My makeup was inspired by the lovely Lana del Rey, who’s the beauty and music icon of the moment. I decided to make my lips the focus of this look and used a gorgeous bright neon-pink lipstick for a great pop of colour! It’s guaranteed to make you stand out in a crowd, with or without shades on. My favourite is M A C Pro Longwear Lipstick in “Love Forever.” It lasts forever! On the eyes, I kept it simple. Waterproof eyeliner on top and mascara to define my eyes. It’s a classy look that won’t require any touch-ups during the day—for a more intense effect, I would make the top line thicker.

I blow-dried my hair and used a blob of Bumble & Bumble Styling Crème to help keep it bouncy and voluminous and keep frizz at bay. Natural, flowy hair is easy to do and also ideal as it won’t require any touch-ups during the day.

Products used: M.A.C Face and Body Foundation, It Cosmetics Undereye Concealer and Brow Pencil, Annabelle Bronzer in “Biggy,” The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, Nars Blush in “Orgasm,” Benefit They’re Real Mascara, M.A.C Pro Longwear Lipstick in “Love Forever,” Essence Nail Polish in “Ultimate Pink,” Bumble & Bumble Styling Crème

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Gerry

Gerry Xun
Vancouver | The Bunnie Hole

It still might be a bit early for us Canadians, but with Coachella underway, music festival season is creeping its way into our monthly plans. As such, here’s a simple and pretty makeup look that’s also photo-ready.

Start off your base with a good sunscreen, as you’re likely to spend much of your time outside (some SPF products also act as a great primer) then layer BB cream on top, adding a bit of concealer to areas as needed. Apply a light shimmery champagne eye shadow to the lids all the way up to the brow bone for subtle interest and define the top lash line with a stroke of deep brown matte shadow used as liner (bottom liner is optional). To further deepen the look without adding heaviness, tightline between the lashes with a black pencil. Apply mascara top and bottom lashes heavily. A long lasting lip stain with a glossy finish is the key to this look so take your time to paint the edges carefully and make sure you coat the lips evenly. Perk up your complexion with a dusting of coral-pink blush, but make sure not to overtake that lip colour. Easy, happy, pretty.

Products used: L’Oréal Youth Code BB Cream, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Spot Eraser, Benefit Blush in “Sugarbomb,” Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal in “70 Barely Branded,” Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara, Too Faced Eyeshadow in “Sexpresso,” L’Oréal Caress Shine Stain in “187 Infinite Fuchsia”

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Gaby

Gaby Fauchon
Montreal | Gaby’s Beauty Blog

When attending a music festival, you do not want to show up super polished since after a few hours of dancing and heavy head banging, your pretty makeup will most likely be running down your sweaty face and your elaborate hairstyle will probably resemble a bird nest. To keep it simple, I rely on a few key makeup products.

I hide my flaws with The Balm Time Balm Concealer, I lightly powder my face with Annabelle Cosmetics Colour Control Pressed Powder (to keep my forehead oil-free until the end of the day) and I add a touch of Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Powder Bronzer since it multitasks as a bronzer and blush. I also keep the eyes simple with neutral eyeshadows from Urban Decay Naked Basics palette and I finish up with a single swipe of Pupa Milano VAMP! Mascara.

For the hair, I lightly spray Batiste XXL Volume Dry Shampoo to infuse some volume and texture, and then simply loosely tied it in a messy bun.

If you follow these steps, you should be ready to party in under 10 minutes, and best of all, you will not end up looking like a total hot mess after half an hour!

Products used: The Balm Time Balm Concealer in “Light,” Annabelle Cosmetics Colour Control Pressed Powder in “Light/Medium,” Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Powder in “Bronzer,” Urban Decay Naked Basics palette, Pupa Milano VAMP! Mascara in “Extra Black,” Batiste XXL Volume Dry Shampoo

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Jennifer

Jennifer Francis
Durham | Spiced Beauty

When I think of Coachella a few things come to mind: Dewy skin that glows, fun lip colours and effortless eyes. I had a lot a fun with this challenge because it got me really excited for spring.

Let’s start with skin: I would recommend wearing a BB cream. It has SPF to shield your skin from the harmful UV rays. No matter what foundation you wear, it’s always good to have blotting paper on you for your extra oily moments. For rosy cheeks, try a cream blush. For the lips I tried out a new Mark lipgloss called “Glossworks” and it contains SPF15.

For the eyes I decided to use mostly waterproof products: I highlighted my inner eyes with Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in “Gold 9L.” It’s smudge-proof and waterproof to withstand the outdoor elements. For long voluminous lashes I used Annabelle Cosmetics Expandable Mascara. I like using the brush expanded for maximum length.

Products used: Mark Lipgloss in “Glossworks,” Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in “Gold 9L,” Annabelle Cosmetics Expandable Mascara

Music Festival Hair and Makeup - Gen

Genevieve Peeke
Montreal | Gen In The City

First, use your favourite BB cream to create a flawless complexion. I like ones with SPF like this one from Clarins so that your skin is protected from the sun’s harmful rays!
Next, take a matte bronzer and, using a kabuki or bronzer brush, apply it in a “3” motion starting at your temples, then under your cheekbones and then down to your jawlines. I also like to apply it to my neck, chin, and nose. This will give you a bit of a tan!

Now for your eyes. Take a peachy eyeshadow shade and apply it all over your eyelid—sunny eye looks are very popular this season and I find they really make you look more tan and ready for the outdoor festivals! Then take a sable brown colour and apply that to your crease using a fluffy brush in a windshield washer motion. You’ll also want to apply a pretty highlight colour to your brow bone right under the eyebrow!
Next, use your favourite mascara to really bring out those eyes. Although the eye look is very natural, you still want your lashes to stand out.

And now for my favourite part of the look: the lips! Neon lip colours are so popular for the spring and summer season and I am loving it. Play up your lips by using a bright tangerine colour that is perfect for those fun summer days.

Products used: Clarins BB Cream in “Light,”, Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Bronzer in “Medium,” Maybelline Vivids Lipstick in “Vibrant Mandarin,” Maybelline Eyestudio Eyeshadow Quad in “Cozy Cashmere,” Wet N Wild Eyeshadow in “Greed,” NYC Big Bold Curl mascara, ELF Kabuki Brush, M.A.C 222 Brush, Quo Flat Shadow Brush