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Tis the season to stress, but by stocking up on these simple skin, hair, and makeup tips, you’ll look party-pretty in no time. Try any or all of these 12 ideas to look more dazzling, instantly.
Festive Tip 1: Shimmer
There’s a reason we love tinsel on Christmas trees and strings of lights around our homes: They make everything look beautifully glowing. The same is true for highlighting makeup. To get your own shimmer, sweep a glittering powder over your cheekbones, below your brow bone and on the inner corner of your eyes. If your skin is light, reach for a pink-based highlighter, while medium- to dark-skinned women should try golden tones.
Festive Tip 2: Brows
Brows do so much to frame your face that simply grooming them, which includes combing the hairs and filling in bare spots, will give you a prompt pick-me-up. Try any of the handy brow-grooming kits, such as Tarte the Toolbox which comes equipped with mini tweezers, stencils, a mirror, and brow powder, pencil, brush, and wax for a complete touch-up.
Festive Tip 3: French Manicure
What better nod to the holidays than a French manicure revamped with luminescent versions of the standard pink and white colors? You’ll get the same effect but with an extra twinkle accompanying every gesture.
Festive Tip 4: Pretty Ponytail
The ponytail might be your everyday hairdo, but you’ll be amazed how well it can pretty up your holiday look. Roy Teeluck, a New York City salon owner and expert stylist for Nexxus, recommends teasing the hair at the crown for extra volume before securing it at the nape of the neck. “A beautiful finishing touch is to pull a strand of hair from the ponytail and bring it around the elastic,” he adds.
Festive Tip 5: Eyeliner
Black liner swept across the top lid makes a bold yet elegant statement that needs very little else: Think Angelina Jolie, who’s hardly ever photographed without her signature eye look. The trick, says Ashunta Sheriff, a makeup artist who works with Alicia Keys and other celebrities, is to swap your pencil for a liquid or gel liner. (Sheriff is a fan of Vincent Longo’s Liquid Eyeliner in Black.) “Close the eye and, starting at the inner corner, move the line outward and wing it slightly at the end,” she advises. “If you have trouble holding your hand steady, create little dashes along the lash line and go back and connect them.” Stick to a neutral tone, such as MAC Eye Shadow in Bisque a muted pinky-beige shade, on the rest of the lid.
Festive Tip 6: Lipstick
Chocolate not only is the yummiest treat of the season but also a sweet alternative to red lipstick. Skip the matte browns and reach for those with mauve or reddish undertones.
Festive Tip 7: Change Your Part
Do you wear your hair parted on the left? Then part it on the right. Or do you usually part down the middle? Try a new side part. It sounds almost too good to be true, but changing your part not only gives you an entirely different look, but it also bestows your hair with extra body that you probably didn’t know it had, says Teeluck.
Festive Tip 8: Blush
When it comes to getting holiday pretty, blush is non-negotiable. Amp up your natural rosiness by mixing complementary blush colors, one darker and one lighter. Or start off light with the paler shade in the compact and tweak it by layering its darker counterpart over it.
Festive Tip 9: Short Hair
Short hair can be styled just as glamorously as long hair, but in half the time! “Most boyish haircuts now have feminine features, such as softer pieces around the face,” says Teeluck. Bring attention to your short ‘do by working a styling product, such as Nexxus Designing Texxtur Styling Creme through your hair with your fingers, recommends Teeluck. “It’s got hold and breaks up the hair to give it a more piecey look.”
Festive Tip 10: Eye Shadow
What happens when you take basic gray shadow and infuse it with flecks of gold, purple, and green? A whole new way to make up your eyes, that’s what! A color that’s this multitextured will work harder for you, too. “The trick is to contain it between the lid and the crease,” advises Sheriff. “Don’t take it up to the brow bone—that’s very 1980s.” If you go overboard, soften the color with a makeup sponge, Sheriff says.
Festive Tip 11: Burgundy Nails
They’re definitely not low maintenance, but burgundy-colored nails are your holiday must-have for instant drama. Richer than red and more wearable than the black nail polish that has been showing up on every starlet’s fingertips lately, burgundy has a modern feel that will never go out of style. Try Sally Hansen Diamond Strength No Chip Nail Color in Chocolate Kiss and Cover Girl Continuous Color Nail Polish in Cherry Brandy.
Festive Tip 12: Lip Gloss
Shiny lips are always pretty, but when the shades are pale (think peach, pink, and coral) and flecked with shimmer, they merit a top spot in your makeup case. Pair this lip with our take on smoky eyes (such as on our model here) and you’ll wish that the holidays stuck around a bit longer.