Holiday Makeup That’s 100% Fun, 0% Cheesy

(And pretty easy)

I don’t know about you, but I do not have 45 minutes for an in-depth “face beat” with 20+ steps (no shade to those who do) just for a holiday party. What I do want is to step it up a bit. I asked Glamsquad guru and Director of Makeup Artistry, Kelli J. Bartlett (who works with Brooke Shields, Gwyneth Paltrow and Karlie Kloss, among others), to help me create three cool — but, most importantly, easy — beauty looks for each and every party on my December agenda.

Look No. 1: Glitter!

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M.A.C. Cosmetics Eyebrow Pencil in Strut, Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows

Glitter for grown-ups is officially a thing again. There’s no need to be subtle about your love for it. The under-brow highlight is one of my favorite simple trends to try right now. The best part of all is that it only truly takes two products, max.

Roxanne Assoulin hoop earrings

“It’s an unexpected twist when worn with a casual outfit as opposed to a statement dress,” says Barlett. “If a full glitter brow is too bold for your taste, start by just highlighting the tail of your brow with glitter. Or forget the brow and add glitter to the center of the eyelid for something more subtle.”

For the purposes of this shoot, Bartlett took the concept of a glittery “under brow” full throttle with a golden metallic shade. An angled synthetic fiber brush is ideal to get the precision you want; scotch tape is key to remove any fallen glitter. Seriously, tape was crucial. As was the color glitter selected. “Silver and gold shades are both classic and festive for all skin tones,” says Barlett. “Steer clear of colored glitter as it could read too costume-y.”

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Look No. 2: Glossy Berry Lips

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NIVEA Lip Butter, M.A.C. Cosmetics Prep + Prime Lip, Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Bad Romance, Pat McGrath Labs Lust 004 Kit in Bloodwine

Dark lips are certainly statement-making, but can be intimidating. “Berry shades are universally flattering and it’s all about how bold you want to be,” Bartlett says. “Swatch the shade on your hand, then hold it above your mouth to get a sense of how the color complements your eyes and skin tone.”

Vintage sweater, Of Rare Origin earrings

She suggests prepping and priming your lips first. Apply a moisturizing balm and blot off excess, then apply a primer to “seal in moisture” before applying lipstick. Think of primer like double-sided tape: it locks the color down to avoid makeup migration. To perfect and fill in any gaps, apply a matching lip liner to the outer corners of the mouth.

“When wearing a statement lip, it is really important that the rest of the makeup be understated yet polished in order to create balance on the face,” explains Bartlett. “I suggest applying a ton of mascara, though, and the slightest amount of a coordinating blush to the apple of the cheek.”

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Look No. 3: Denim Lids

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M.A.C. Cosmetics Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Quite Natural, Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Liquid Eyeliner Pencil in Sapphire Sex, Lancôme Paris Le Stylo Water Long Lasting Eyeliner in Noir Intense, Pat McGrath Labs Blue 002 Pigment, M.A.C. Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Concrete, L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara in Carbon Black 

It’s bold, it’s ‘80, and like jeans, it goes with pretty much anything. “A jewel tone is a statement and will make your eyes pop no matter what color you choose,” says Barlett. If you aren’t feeling navy, try another deep color. “Coppery-orange metallics are great for blue eyes. For green eyes, use vibrant purple or amethyst. Brown eyes look amazing in emerald and sapphire.”

Don’t just lean on one shadow color. Instead, choose a few from a similar color family. “Adding several shades for depth is ideal — that is what keeps the eye from looking flat and basic,” adds Barlett.

J.Crew sweater, Hermès scarf, DANNIJO earrings

The real trick to bright monochromatic shadow is blending like your life depends on it. “Multi-shadow looks are difficult to achieve without a brush to help blend them,” warns Barlett. However, single-color and cream shadows can be easily dabbed on with your finger or sponge if your makeup kit isn’t extensive.

Like the lip tip above, shadow primer is a must have. “Primers are problem solvers, they help makeup last longer while also allowing the shade to blend more seamlessly,” explains Barlett.

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Janell M. Hickman is a beauty writer whose work has appeared in Glamour, Teen Vogue, WWD, Essence and Ebony. Follow her on Twitter @jmargaretbeauty and on Instagram, too! Styled by Elizabeth Tamkin; photos by Krista Anna Lewis.