After you pick out your dresses, while you and your pals are still at the mall, hit up a makeup counter to test out a look to go with your ensemble. A makeup artist can show you tips and tricks that you can use at home later, but don’t feel pressured to buy anything more than you’re comfortable with.
A good tip? Foundation and concealer are usually worth the splurge if it matches your skin perfectly and don’t break you out–ask if you can snag a sample to try for a week or so to be sure your skin doesn’t react to it badly, then come back and buy a full bottle if you dig it. Alternatively, some stores like Sephora have good return policies and will let you refund or exchange something that doesn’t work well for you–just make sure to keep the receipt!
As for lipstick, lip gloss, blush, mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow, most drugstore brands are just as good as the fancy department store products. If you don’t want to blow your cash at the makeup counter, you can likely find similar shades for a lot cheaper at a discount store!