Quick: Imagine the quintessential Christmas makeup look. Got it? What did you see? Holly-berry lips? Copious amounts of glitter? If you type the query into Pinterest, it's a sea of crimson and sparkle. But that's the trouble with quintessential. It's entirely too predictable, and you deserve to stand out from the pack, especially considering the sheer volume of holiday parties happening around the globe.
Celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes agrees that Christmas makeup tends to get a bit repetitive and appreciates a shift away from the norm. She elaborates, "If a brand came to me and was like, 'Hey, can you create a makeup look for the holidays?' my brain would instantly go to red lip, glitter, because that's kind of what holiday pushes out to you. [But] the new holiday Tom Ford set is actually more fall tones and a lip balm. There wasn't a red lipstick in sight, which is actually quite refreshing." Speaking of refreshing, Hughes put together a bunch of holiday-ready looks that are far from your typical red-lip-and-shimmery-eye, with a breakdown of how to achieve each.
Vintage Gala Glam
There's so much good happening here, but perhaps the focal point of this retro, femme-fatale moment is the 360-degree razor-sharp cat eye that connects back to the inner corner of the eye.
"Start with a pencil liner or a powder and etch [the cat eye] with a powder or a pencil because those two formulas are easier to clean up than, say, a liquid. It can be whatever powder you've got at home. Then trace it with something final." If you opt for a pencil, Hughes recommends making sure that you keep the tip equally as sharp when you do both eyes so you get an even amount of definition. "My 'final' is the Surratt liquid liner. I like to use it more over things than by itself because it can bleed a little bit because it's a fluidy, liquidy formula, but it's amazing over stuff."
To make the cat eye look as sharp as possible, after tracing your line with powder or a pencil, Hughes recommends cleaning up the line with a Q-tip, placing the liquid liner on top, and then finishing with a bold, beautiful mascara (she loves Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir). Your foundation/powder/concealer should all come after the eye is complete to avoid getting any fallout on your face.
The Fashion Girl
Hughes tells us this look is all about the gloss. To achieve her fresh, dewy look, she first applied Glossier Stretch Concealer all over her face and spot-treated with a full-coverage concealer like Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. Then, she used the Dior Backstage Contour Palette around her eyes and along the cheekbones for definition. Finally, for that stunning shine, she placed Disco Nap from Flesh Beauty on her cheeks, lips, and lids for a "cool-girl kind of glam." As for any concern with the lid gloss creasing, Hughes says to "just let it!"
Though Hughes did a nude wet lip here, she says you can emphasize the whole look with a matte red lip, like Bobbi Brown Luxe Lipstick in Red Velvet.
Pink Lid/Bordeaux Lipstick
Pink monochrome makeup is having a major moment, so what better time to try it than the upcoming holiday season? We love this look here on Hughes, a mixture of a wet pink champagne lid and deep Bordeaux lip. Hughes recommends using Danessa Myricks Color Fix pigment in Romance because of its long-wear staying power and then topping off with a bit of glaze. "The balance of this is the soft eye but with the texture of a bold lip, so you've got opposing color and opposing textures that balance each other," she explains. "You wouldn't do a red eye and a red lip the same, but if you did, you'd at least flip one of the textures so it isn't the same texture twice."
"The hero product in this one is the lashes," says Hughes. "The Lashify lashes are amazing. If I were to put a bold strip lash with this, it would have killed this eye and made it too much, but because the lashes are soft and fluttery, like the lashes a technician would do, I think that's what makes it work."
In order to create this architectural liner, Hughes used MAC Fix Plus to turn Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Stix and Bones into this deep, graphic line. She says to start with the outer corner of the liner where the top and the bottom lids meet. Then, work it up in the direction toward the tail of the brow and then work your way back in halfway (in line with the pupil). As with the last cat eye, Hughes recommends using a pointy Q-tip to clean up the line, but if you don't have one handy, she also recommends using an angled eyeliner brush and dipping it in a bit of face cream to clean up any mess. Doing so lifts the product without disturbing product underneath.
Bold Red Liner
Forget a red lip; a red cat eye is the coolest way to wear red this holiday season. Here, Hughes used Louboutin liner in Vibrant Red for her sultry wings, but she says you can use any liquid matte red lipstick with an eyeliner brush to get the same effect.
"The key to this is to keep everything else really fresh," she tells us, "because when the makeup starts to feel heavy surrounding this eye, it can get very theatrical very quick, so you want to keep the skin light and fresh with just a tinted moisturizer or just some concealer where you need it." Hughes also recommends using a glossy textured highlighter that stays dewy on the skin as opposed to something that dries down like a powder and then creating a blurred lip using an eye shadow brush to softly diffuse the lip line.