There are plenty of things to stress over during the holidays—from how to enjoy the season without wrecking your diet to fitting in all of your family and social commitments when you have shopping to do, gifts to wrap and parties to host. So let your beauty routine be the one thing that’s a no-brainer—stick to classic looks (we’re talking the red lip, smoky eye, and a little glitz) that never fail during the festive season.

Never-fail holiday makeup: The bold red lip

“Red truly is a never-fail lip. It demands attention and while it’s perfect to wear during any time of the year, it’s especially fun for the holidays,” says Toronto-based makeup artist Vanessa Jarman. The key to making the red lip look work is to
find the right one for you. Jarman says you should start by considering what type of finish you are most comfortable with and then thinking about what type of product you are most confident in using. If you’re not feeling too bold, a red lip gloss will offer shearer coverage and it’ll be the easiest to apply, she points out. “It’s perfect for beginners to makeup or if you’re easing yourself into the red-lip statement,” says Jarman.

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For most people, she recommends a lip pencil (adding that they come in a variety of finishes from sheer to matte). Even if you are choosing to use another product, she recommends using a pencil to outline your lips first, and then filling them in with the pencil before layering your other product overtop. Hello,
long-lasting lip colour!

Give it a modern edge by rocking with a deep Bordeaux red rather than a ruby red.

Universally flattering reds she recommends: Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss Matte Lipstick #111 and NARS Lip Liner Pencil Jungle Red.

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Never-fail holiday makeup: The smoky eye

There’s no need to be intimidated about doing a smoky eye. Jarman shares her expert advice on how to try the look:

– First, do your smoky eye makeup before your foundation and skin. “However, apply your face moisturizer just before you start your eyes, so it has time to work its way into your skin before you put on foundation,” she says.

– Apply a primer all over your lids. “This step helps prevent creasing throughout the day/night and really helps grab onto your eyeshadow,” she says, adding that if you apply a powder eyeshadow, it won’t appear even and may appear washed out if you don’t apply a primer first.

– Fill your firm, small eyeshadow brush/applicator with your eyeshadow. “Really work the bristles or sponge right into the product then flick off any extra lightly before applying to your lids,” says Jarman.

– Apply in a stippling motion over your eyelid when packing on your eyeshadow. This should be done over the entire lid, she says, then use a soft or fluffy brush to blend out the edges and to soften colours in the crease.

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Tip: “Try to keep one brush for dark colours and one for light—if you mix your shades using one brush, your smokey eye will look more muddy than smoky,” says Jarman. For a modern smoky eye that’s hot this season, opt for a metallic green eyeshadow to create the look.

More never-fail holiday makeup looks on the next page …
Never-fail holiday makeup: A flawless complexion

First off, you need to give your problem skin some TLC. Even though it’s a busy season and your dance card is full, exfoliate a couple of times a week at least to freshen the surface, says Jarman, as it’s important to remove dead skin and buildup of product. Never fall into bed without washing off your makeup either or you’re pretty much asking for clogged pores. And don’t slack on laundering your bedding. “We know not to use dirty foundation tools that transfer bacteria-building oils—it’s important to think the same with your pillowcases!” says Jarman.

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As for using makeup to achieve the look of a flawless face, she believes that less is always more. “Usually, you can get away with only using foundation. And you can
cut the heaviness of foundation by mixing a bit of moisturizer. You’ll have an even appearance that feels light,” she says. If you find your foundation doesn’t provide the coverage you need, only then should you reach for your concealer to stipple over areas that need more coverage such as underneath the eyes or any blemishes.

Tip: Jarman recommends using your hands to apply your liquid and cream foundations as you can easily pat the product into your skin and blend easily.

Never-fail holiday makeup: Putting on the glitz

Glitter is not just for the tween set. The holidays are your chance to shine, literally, so why not use the festive season to play with some glitter. To keep the look more womanly than pre-teen, look for a product with subtle, delicate sparkle. A finer rather than flaky glitter is key. Jarman’s personal favourite is Burt’s Bees Radiance Shimmer Body Lotion. “It’s not flaky at all, and gorgeous under every light and perfect for all over the body including the décolletage, arm and legs and back—if the cut of your dress or outfit calls for it,” she says.

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Never-fail holiday makeup: Makeup that lasts through your occasion

There’s little point to pulling together a hot holiday look, only to have your makeup vanish as the night goes on. As she already noted above, Jarman proposes making your lip colour last longer by lining and filling in with a lip pencil first, and applying a primer to help your eyeshadow stay put longer, too.

Make a point to head to the ladies room not only if you have to use the facilities but also to glance at the mirror to touch up as need be, says Jarman. “But don’t get so hung up on leaving as beautifully put together as you arrived; you should never take makeup too seriously,” she says. Let’s face it, after all, everyone will eat their lip colour off. But some extra steps, such as powdering your face underneath your eyes and your T-zone, will help prolong the wear of your makeup.

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