While New Year’s Eve makeup is all about over-the-top glitz and glam, Lunar New Year beauty is more nuanced. With festivities carried out over 15 days (from the first lunar month’s New moon and ending on its Full moon) versus one celebratory night, the spirit and significance of each Spring Festival will vary by the Year’s zodiac.
2022 gave us bold Year of the tiger vibes, and 2023 favors a less-is-more approach that keeps with the Year’s shengxiao: the rabbit. The fourth animal sign of the Chinese zodiac, rabbits, are known for their elegance, creativity, and gentle nature. We're rounding up our favorite rabbit-inspired makeup looks to celebrate this Lunar New Year. Read ahead for more.
Meet the Expert
- Tobi Henney is a celebrity makeup artist. Her clients include Megan Fox, Olivia Culpo, Ashley Graham, and more.
One way to embrace your rabbit creativity is with graphic eye makeup. "The mix of lines, dots, and brush strokes create a fun but simple look," says Henney. It's her creative take on abstract eye art.
In addition to the animal zodiac associated with each lunar Year, there is also a corresponding element, 2023's being water. The last water rabbit year was in 1963, which we're paying homage to by highlighting one of its most significant trends: graphic liner. Here, makeup artist Nicole Thompson uses Clinique Liquid Eyeliner Pen ($23) in Brown to create a liner look that is a cross between subtle and extra. For a flush of color on cheeks and lips, she opts for Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream ($27).
Rabbits may be described as shy or timid, but beyond their seemingly bashful exterior is a calm and confident interior. Blush helps bring these traits to life. You can hop on the blush bandwagon by pairing your favorite hue and TikTok application technique. Go a bit heavier on your application for a celebratory, dramatic effect.
Water years are said to be approachable and adaptable, and this beauty look is just that. A nude makeup palette will take you from day to night without a hitch. The earth-toned smoky eye is much more wearable than the classic rendition, plus it pairs perfectly with a neutral lip.
Subtle White Eyeliner
These feathery lashes and peach accents read as visually effortless, but the intrigue doesn't stop there. Take a closer look; white liner is applied at the lower lash line, adding extra rabbit-like detail to the face. Bonus: White eyeliner will also make you look more awake, and who doesn't want that?
"This is a fun, flattering look for any party or evening event when you want an interesting makeup look that's easy to create," Henney says." Consider going pink when choosing a color palette, which signals good luck for rabbits. If you really want to commit to the one-color theme, go matchy-matchy with millennial-pink hair (yes, it's still cool).
Henney used the Trademark Beauty Brushes x Tobi Henney ($24) 1, 2, and 4 to create the perfect winged liner shape with Mac Cosmetics Pro Palette Paint Stick ($23) in Pink. "Add an eyeshadow in the same tone to ensure the paint sets and doesn't move," she says.
On the other hand, where a single color palette is striking, a multicolored one is playful. Purple also wields good fortune for rabbits, so this eyeshadow color combo lays the luck on thick.
Celebrity makeup artist, Hung Vango, manifests the rabbit's beauty and elegance in this stunning look that's especially flattering for those with hooded eyes. Rather than apply eyeshadow from the lash line to crease, he goes just beyond the lid to accentuate this eye shape. A little rouge on the lips and cheeks creates a flawless finish.
Radiant Skin With a Pop of Color
Rabbits may represent fertility, but you don't need to be expecting to land that pregnancy glow or dewy complexion. Case in point: This aqua blue liner look that starts with great skin. "It's all about glowing, natural skin with a pop of color on the eye," Henney says.
"Use Cosmedix Face Mask ($46) to prep, add Rationale Serum 1 ($182), Serum 2 ($174), and Hydragel for glowing skin," Henney recommends. "Next prime with Victoria Beckham Cell Rejuvenating Primer ($60) in Golden. Add Cle De Peu Concealer ($75) where needed. Curl the lashes using Tweezerman Lash Curler ($12). Then, apply Fenty Beauty Fly Pencil ($23) in Blue to create a winged liner, and make it a little thicker to make it pop. Add the same colored eyeshadow on top to set."
If you were born in the Year of the Rabbit, it's believed that misfortune may befall you in 2023. However, to ward off the bad juju, wear red—preferably à la glamorous smoky eye and matte pout. The result is head-turning, earning it a permanent place in our beauty playbook.