Baffled by how to get the perfect holiday makeup? Don't worry, it's easier than you think. Here, I share 13 of my very best holiday makeup tips. Find out how to get this year's perfect smoky eye, how to add shimmer to your eyes and face and why you should play up your eyes or your mouth, but never both. First off, let's start with your outfit....
Watch What You're Wearing
Be careful not to match your makeup to your outfit. According to Allure Magazine, "matchy-matchy is tacky." "If you're dressed to the nines, your face should be low-drama," says makeup artist Jemma Kidd in Allure. If you have a sparkly dress, don't apply sparkly makeup. Instead, stick with a smokey eye. If you are wearing bold prints or color, keep your makeup neutral.
Shimmer adds drama to your look. You can get shimmery eyes in several ways:
- Try a shimmery cream or buy a powder shimmer and mix the shadow with water. The water will help create a dense metallic pigment that's not too soft. Some shadows are barely there, but you want your shadow to have heft.
- Apply shimmery shadow on your lid just above the iris in your eye and on the inner corner of the eye. This will open up the eye, lighten up what is usually a dark area of the lid, and helps eyes look amazing in photos.
- If you do go with the shimmery eye, don't go overboard with the shimmer elsewhere on your face. Apply shimmer to no more than 2 places. For example, shimmer your eyelids and your cheekbones but don't also add a batch of shimmer to your decolletage.
- Other spots to shimmer: Add a shimmery highlighter to the cheeks, the nose and above each eye. You can put shimmery powder on your decolletage and on the cheeks. Shimmery lips are also hot. Just don't go overboard.
- Apply a shimmer moisturizer (Jergens Soft Shimmer Skin Radiance, from drugstores) to legs if you're going bare.
Exfoliate First, It's an Instant Complexion Lifter
The secret to a gorgeous face isn't in the makeup. It's actually in a clean, fresh face. To ensure you don't have an ashen complexion, dry skin or flaky skin, exfoliate your face before applying makeup.
Exfoliation also allows your moisturizer, foundation and blush go on more smoothly. You can make a simple scrub using olive oil and brown sugar or simply add half a teaspoon of sugar to your cleanser and scrub it into your face. Rinse with a washcloth, which also acts as a natural scrub.
Exfoliate lips by applying Vaseline and using an old toothbrush to "scrub" off the dead skin in a circular motion.
Highlighter Should be Your Best FriendHighlighting pens are a staple in any makeup artist's makeup bag and I never go out at night without applying Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Eclat. Highlighters act as a brightener. Skin becomes luminous and dewy.
Here's how to apply: Put your chin to your chest and look into a mirror. Swipe a line of highlighter on the shadows, usually under the eye, along the nose, under the chin. I also apply a line above each brow to pull my face up. Blend the lines in by dabbing with your middle finger.
Choose to Play Up Either the Mouth or the Eyes
When choosing holiday makeup, decide if you're going to play up your eyes or your mouth. Never do a dark, smokey eye and a red lip, unless you are performing burlesque. Choose one or the other. If you emphasize both, you'll risk looking like a clown. If you do a bright lip, keep the face light and use only mascara and a light shadow on lids. On your lips, try both lipstick and gloss. First apply liner all over lips, dot lipstick with your finger and follow with a light (not heavy) gloss.
If you opt for a dark, smokey eye, lighten up lips with a light, sheer lipstick.
Try a New Color on the Lids
Mix it up this year and try a mauve smokey eye, a color that looks great on everyone.
You can create a gorgeous smokey eye by using a brown eyeliner around eyes and then smudge a matte mauve from your lid up to your brow. Smudge a bit under the eye with your finger. Most companies offer a mauve palette. Pair the mauve lids with pretty pink cheeks and I guarantee you'll hear some ooohs and aaaahs at your party. The color is especially lovely paired with a gray or metallic dress.
To fix eyeshadow that falls onto cheeks after application, use a Q-tip dipped in eye makeup remover and lightly roll over the shadow-y bits.
Keep Your Lipstick From Fading
To get your lipstick from wearing off too fast, line lips first in a similar shade of lip liner then fill in with the lipstick. Set with powder, then apply another layer on top. This will help keep lipstick in place as the night goes on. Remember to keep the rest of your face minimal with mascara and powder.
Get Your Brows DoneYou can have perfect makeup, but if your brows are a mess, you'll look unfinished. A couple days before your holiday party, get your brows waxed, threaded or tweezed. Keep them in place by spraying a bit of hairspray on your finger and running them over the brow or opt for a brow gel like M.A.C.'s Brow Set ($13.50) which will keep brow hairs in place for hours.
Super Dry Skin? Plump Up SkinIf you have super dry skin, start your makeup off by applying moisturizer to your face. This will plump up skin and will keep makeup from soaking into lines and wrinkles. Once your makeup is done, spray with Evian water to set makeup. You can keep Evian spray in your purse to spritz as the night goes on. The water will make skin appear dewy and less ashen.
Oily Skin? Carry Oil Blotting Papers, Not PowderApply powder before you head out to set makeup, but don't keep applying it during the night, it ends up caking up and looking mask-like. Blotting papers are the oily girl's best friend. Press a paper to the oily spots and watch as the paper soaks up oil without mussing your makeup. Keep the papers in your purse for touch ups as the night goes on. Don't have blotting papers? A paper towel or napkin will work in a pinch.
You may be tempted to get fake nails for the holiday party, but don't. Short rounded nails are more chic, look clean and are elegant. Opt for a deep, dark trendy color (dark purples are hot for winter) or go light. If it's New Years, add a coat of sparkly polish over a finger. And don't forget your feet. Even if your toes are hidden from view, you'll feel more put together if you have manicured feet.
Keep Makeup in PlaceThe secret to keeping eyeshadow in place for hours is an eye base. I love Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion. To keep makeup fresh, try makeup artist Mally Roncal's secret: she keeps cotton swabs rolled in eyeshadow in a cigarette case to apply later after her shadow starts to lose its oomph.
To keep makeup in place, consider a primer. Apply to face before foundation. And don't skip the foundation if you also use powder and blush. Foundation actually helps keep powders in place.
How to Get Eye-Popping LashesThe secret to thick lashes is making sure lashes are clean before applying mascara. Never try to apply mascara over dried mascara, you'll only get clumps. I like to use a thicker formula for night because I love lush lashes (I'm crazy for Lancome Hypnose right now).
Consider curling lashes with an eyelash curler. Heat the curler with a 3-second blast of warm air from your blow dryer. This will help "set" the curl. Just make sure the metal isn't too hot before you curl.
Don't Skip the Blush if You're a Brunette
The one mistake I see brunette girls with peachy complexions make is skipping the blush. They end up with brown hair and white skin and no color anywhere. Add some color on your lids and on the cheeks for that "I just came in out of the snowstorm" look that's so gorgeous.
Don't Overdo the Statement Jewelry
Big jewelry pieces are great for the holidays but make sure you wear them correctly. Don't wear a large necklace, a chunky ring and big earrings. Choose 1-2 statement pieces and keep your other jewelry quiet and subdued. You can do either a strong necklace and tiny earrings and rings OR a statement ring and statement earrings.
Liked This? There's More!
I have much more on holiday hair & makeup: