How to Create an Easy Holiday Hair and Makeup Look

Follow this step-by-step tutorial if you want to look festive and put together for the holidays—even if you’re not a makeup pro.

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of year for many reasons—the gifts! the food!—but one of my favorite parts about December has to be the beauty. It gives me a reason to wear more glam makeup looks on the climactic days leading up to Christmas, a time where red lips and black wings are as customary as Mariah Carey's Christmas album.

It's easy to get swept up in a cosmetic wonderland of glitter and gloss for the holidays, and while there's nothing wrong with injecting some sparkle into your face beat (in fact, it's encouraged!), sometimes the simpler route is far more wearable when it comes to a laid-back Christmas celebration. If you're looking for a simple and versatile hair and makeup look you can wear to almost any occasion, follow our step-by-step holiday beauty tutorial below.

Holiday Makeup

The look: Gold metallic eyes

Prime your eyes.

Holiday makeup is a lot about playing up the lids, so it's vital that makeup is prepped to last all night. Enter: primer, a non-negotiable step if you want to avoid looking like the glitter ghost of Christmas future. Try Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($24;, which I've used for years and can verify its long-wearing capabilities.

Apply eyeshadow.

Eyeshadow is the star of this look (and almost any good Christmas look), so you're going to need a really good palette. Try Anastasia Eyeshadow Palette in Soft Glam ($45;, which offers a great collection of shimmery and matte shades so you can create a variety of different looks. Starting with a shimmery gold shade all over the lids as the base.

Next, blend a matte brown shade on your crease in a roughly V formation. (Note: If you have hooded lids, place this color a bit higher than you normally would.) Last, apply a matte, ivory shadow in your inner corner, brow bone, and right underneath the lower lash line to prevent smudging and make your entire eye look pop. If you want something more smoky, opt for a dark shade here in place of ivory.

Draw your wings.

Now on to eyeliner: If you have trouble drawing your lines (I get it, it's hard), a good tip is to connect your flick to your lower lash line. Draw out the flick first, then draw the actual line on the upper lash line to connect the two pieces together.

To add some definition, you can also smudge some liner on the bottom half of the lower lash line—but don't draw it all the way (this will close them up and make your eyes appear smaller). Looking for a good rec? Try Tarte Double Take Eyeliner ($24;, i.e., my holy grail that never flakes and features two ends for the upper and bottom lash lines.

Amp up the lashes.

As someone with short, straight lashes, I know firsthand the world of difference that good lashes can make. That's why I'm obsessed with Lancome Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara ($26;, which creates a ton of volume and is one of the only mascaras that can last all day without smudging below my eyes. If you want to amp up the look to something more dramatic, feel free to apply some falsies.

Add a red lip.

The holidays and red lips go together like cookies and milk, or reindeer and sleighs (you get the idea). As someone with perpetually dry lips, I'm not the biggest fan of a matte finish, so I recommend Clarins Lip Oil in Red Hot ($26;, a moisturizing and pigmented formula that will give your lips a more natural, glossy red tint. Of course, if you want something more sharp and dramatic, you can always opt for a classic red lipstick.

Contour and add some color.

Taking a couple extra minutes to contour can bring out your angles and inject some life into your face. For a defined look, draw a "3" shape along the cheekbones, up onto the temples, and down the jawline. Looking for a bronzer rec? Try Ilia Nightlite Bronzing Powder ($34;

Top it all off with a hint of blush on the apples of your cheeks—try Glossier Cloud Paint ($18; if you're a fan of cream blush formulas.

Holiday Hair

The look: Clean, sleek pony with festive accessories

Pull hair up into a high ponytail.

Whether you have straight or curly hair (I like to start off with some Christmas curls, but it's up to you!), a clean, sleek updo is a chic look that instantly makes you look put together and never goes out of style.

If you want to make your ponytail ASAP (as sleek as possible), a good technique is to create a half ponytail first at the top of your head. This will provide a better reference point for the ponytail to start and add some volume to the updo. Then, use a second hair tie to connect everything into one pony.

Comb back flyaways.

To create the sleek effect, take a small-bristled brush, like Kitsch Pro Dual Edge Brush and Comb ($6;, and comb back the flyaways and baby hairs with some styling gel. I love Cantu Shea Butter Extra Hold Edge Stay Gel ($5; Lastly, spritz some hairspray to hold everything in place; Guy Tang #MyControl Spray ($19; has an incredible formula that will really stick (but won't feel sticky).

Add some festive hair accessories.

To make the look a bit more festive, add the hair accessories of your choice! A red ribbon wrapped up into the ponytail can add a feminine vibe, while sparkly barrettes on the side will add some personality.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles