10 Holiday Makeup Looks That Are Festive, Not Cheesy

Bring on the parties.

by Lisa De Santis
Originally Published: 
holiday makeup looks
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The holiday party invites are starting to roll in and in addition to getting the perfect gift for your Secret Santa, you may have a few other things on your mind, such as which sequin dress you’re going to wear and whether it’s more of a hair up or hair down occasion. And to accompany whichever party frock you choose, there are plenty of chic holiday makeup looks that will feel just as at home at a fanciful fête as a low-key family gathering.

During the festive season, nothing is off the table for makeup — in fact, it’s the perfect time to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Perhaps you’re inspired by glimmering tinsel and twinkling lights; shimmer shadows and holographic highlighters will be your best friends. If you’re after more of a classic glamour vibe, nothing says “home for the holidays” like a timeless red lip. But, for more of a modern take, level up your look by donning a rouge lip with a high-shine finish.

Looking to embrace more color? Get your lashes involved by trying one of the many trending colorful mascaras. Or maybe it’s time to stop holding back and allow yourself to get a little heavy-handed with your favorite blush — more is more, trust.

For more of a fashion take, the ‘90s’ influence is still going strong, so lots of rich browns and neutral shades are right on trend. Plus, pastel eye and lip combos are coming out of retirement, too, to give you a festive frosted effect.

Ready to party? You can’t go wrong with one of these makeup looks.

Halo Lids

Whether you’re simply leaving your bedroom to sit on the couch and open presents with your family or you have a rooftop New Year’s Eve soirée to attend, some sparkly shadow will put a pep in your step. Here, makeup artist, Keita Moore kept the rest of this look pretty clean but really went for it on the eyes. A swipe of gold shimmer shadow creates a stunning contrast with the smoked-out black hue on the lower lash line, outer corner, and crease. This makeup is sure to turn some heads, whether you pair your look with an oversized floral hair accessory or not.

Rosy Cheeks

Earlier this year, blush made its triumphant return with pops of Barbie pink and faux sunburn looks. Now, it’s time to winterize the trend. To replicate the stunning flush that comes with being outside in blustery temps, go all in with your application. On fresh dewy skin, take a two-pronged approach using cream or liquid blush followed by powder formula in a similar shade. Not only will this amp up the color load, but it also lends staying power so that your blush doesn’t pull a disappearing act mid-party. Finish by dabbing the leftover pigment on your eyes and nose to tie the look together.

Patent Leather Lips

A red lip is bold and festive, making it the ultimate five-minute face for when the party is already in full swing, but you haven’t even called your Uber yet. Opting for a formula with a shiny finish will feel fresh and it won’t get dry or flaky. For a lip that lasts all night no matter how many glasses of Champagne you sip or Christmas cookies you nibble, find a matching liner and fill in your lips first before you go in with your high-shine pigment. In a pinch, use any red lipstick and a glossy topper to get the same reflective look.

Faux Freckles

Low-maintenance girlies, listen up: This fresh-faced look is for you. All you need is a skin tint to smooth your complexion, some brown eyeshadow, a bit of brow gel, and a gloss that imparts a your-lips-but-better look. Extra credit: If you have freckles, using a lightweight base will allow them to shine through. But if you don’t have them naturally, use a freckle pen or a brown eyeliner to add some. Who says freckles are a summer-only accessory?

Berry Lips

If red isn’t for you, lean into another bold lip color like a rich burgundy or eggplant. If your complexion is on the cool side, a blue-based hue will look amazing while warmer complexions should look for one that’s more yellow-toned. Because your lips will be the focus, you can leave the rest of your makeup more minimal.

Frosty & Festive

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Another Y2K trend that’s made its way back on the scene is that of frosted eyeshadow and lipgloss. Something about that icy combo just feels right this holiday season. Pair a powder blue or lavender shadow with a shimmer-flecked gloss or pale nude lipstick and you’ll be cooler than the dropping temps.

Beautiful Browns

Brown is having a major moment in fashion and the color has infiltrated the beauty world, too – latte makeup anyone? A soft smoky eye using varying degrees of brown is much less harsh than black, making it a softer yet still impactful option. Then, use complementary neutral shades on your face and lips. By keeping the look monochromatic, you take out the guesswork and the result is a subtle, yet sexy look.

Colorful Lashes

Second to a red lip, this might be the easiest way to feel festive without spending too much time on your look. If you have a go-to makeup style that’s relatively basic, think: tinted moisturizer, some blush, a nude lip, and instead of going for your usual mascara, mix it up with a colored formula. There are lots of shades to choose from, some on the subtler side like brown and others more attention-grabbing like red, but whichever you choose will still give your look an instant boost of fun and freshness. If you really want to make a statement, we suggest trying one color on each eye as makeup artist, Donni Davy did here.

Tightline Eyeliner

Another oldie, but goodie, black eyeliner is one of the most versatile products in your makeup bag. You have the option of drawing a wing, getting a little creative by rocking a floating line in the crease, or simply lining the top and bottom lash lines with a charcoal pencil. Here, Bella Hadid connects the top and bottom liner at the inner and outer corners to enhance her almond eye shape. If a harsh line isn’t for you, you can always use your finger or a smudge brush to slightly blur it for a lived-in finish.

Blinding Highlighter

In keeping with all that shimmers this holiday season, playing with highlighter is a simple way to get party-ready. A healthy dusting on your cheeks, brow bone, and Cupid’s bow is the perfect accessory to any holiday look and it’ll really pop in photos like Hailey Bieber’s does here. Prepare to take lots of selfies in order to catch the light just right.

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