I may be a Fashion & Beauty Editor, but give me a palette with a million pans and ask me to come up with the perfect makeup look for a holiday party, and even I'll quake in my boots. This is especially true when I'm getting ready for said holiday party after a full day of work where I almost fell asleep at my desk literally eight times. If, like me, you need an easy holiday party makeup look that can be done in, say, 15 minutes while you're sitting at your desk, look no further, because I have what you're looking for.
At one of Sephora's stores in NYC, I met up with one of Sephora's uber talented Beauty Directors, David Razzano, who showed me how to create a stunning yet totally wearable (at all hours of the day) holiday party look. Funny enough, our makeup sesh took place the morning after my own office's holiday party, so I'd like to preface this tutorial by saying that, not only is this look holiday party-appropriate, but it's also appropriate for tricking all your co-workers into believing that you are a fully functioning, put-together human at 9 a.m. the day after your office holiday party. Score.
Step One: The Base
Starting with my face freshly primed and foundation-ed, Razzano began by applying a little bit of lip balm on my lips to reverse the awful drying effects winter has had on my lips and to make sure they were ready for lipstick application later in the process. Then, he got to work on my eyes.
Razzano first covered my whole eyelid with Benefit Cosmetics' Stay Don't Stray Eyeshadow Primer ($26, Sephora). He tells me it's important to prime the lid with some sort of eyeshadow primer or light flesh color to create an even-toned palette for the rest of your eyeshadow. If you don't, the appearance of the colors you apply can change drastically and sometimes won't blend very well.
Step Two: The Shadow
Next, Razzano reached for Tarte Cosmetics' six-pan Tartelette Flirt Eyeshadow Palette ($10 sale, $19 originally, Sephora) on my eyes. While most people (myself included, I won't lie) go wild for an enormous palette with 2,903,423 pans of powdery goodness, Razzano says that, when you're trying to put a cohesive look together quickly, larger palettes with a wide range of colors can sometimes work against you, as you risk choosing colors that may not play as well together as you thought. Foolproof picks like the one above from Tarte, which boasts a smaller amount of colors that'll seamlessly blend in with any combination, are prime grabs. Plus, they're super portable for quick touch-ups through the party.
But anyway, back to the look. Razzano started by applying the shimmer shade "Passion" all over my eyelid, and I kid you not, I immediately looked like a fully functioning person again somehow, just by adding some brightness. He then began defining my eye by sweeping the darker matte shades into my crease, starting with the lighter matte shades and gradually using the darkest shades on the very outer corner (or the outer sideways "V" your eye makes naturally) of my eye. Finally, he swiped a bit of the medium matte shade he used in my crease directly under my eye, rounding out this warm holiday look and giving the appearance of a smoky eye look.
You probably hear the term "smoky eye" and think, "How the hell am I supposed to wear a full-on smoky eye during the daytime and not have my boss or, like, anyone on the street think I'm nuts?" While I'd normally say your boss can suck it up because I'm sure your smoky eye looks fire anyway, I get it. Not everyone's bosses are cool, and strolling into work with a full-fledged smoky eye at 9 a.m. can be a lot for some people (not me, though, rest assured). However, the eye look Razzano created can be classified as a daytime smoky eye. It's warm, blends in well with most skin tones, and is much softer than your traditional black smoky eye, making it totally appropriate for anytime wear.
Step Three: The Mascara
I surely hope you've stuck with me this far, because, not to be dramatic, but this next tip Razzano gave me literally changed my life. IDK who I was before this, but she is gone and I don't miss her.
Before applying Lancôme's Monsieur Big Mascara ($25, Sephora), I noticed Razzano take the wand out of the mascara tube and wipe off a ton of excess product on it. What are you doing? I thought to myself, That's all the good stuff! I'm almost certain Razzano could see the pain in my eyes, since he immediately informed me that cleaning the excess product off of the entire mascara wand is actually helps to make your lashes look more voluminous.
Wiping the excess product off the first time around allows for the wand to better separate your lashes, while still coating them with enough product. If you focus your coating at the base of your lashes, then swipe the wand upward, you'll notice your lashes will separate and define easier, making them look fuller. Needless to say, after Razzano demonstrated this technique on me, my lashes looked so full and my eyes looked so awake, I didn't even need eyeliner.
Step Four: The Lip
All right, we're in the homestretch, folks. I know I'm longwinded, so this sounds like a long process, but I promise it isn't. This last step is super easy. I think it goes without saying that a tried-and-true way to tie a ~look~ together, especially for the holidays, is with a bold lip. Using Laura Mercier's Lip Pencil in "Grenadine" ($25, Sephora), Razzano lined my lips to prevent any feathering and finished off by filling in my lips with Fenty Beauty's Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in "Ma'Damn" ($18, Sephora) with a brush.
I will say, while tradition dictates that a bold red lip is a staple in any holiday look, branching out of the red subcategory is totally acceptable — and encouraged, in my book. A bold lip can include any stand-out color that deviates from traditional nude shades, so I say, go wild! Berries, blues, purples, even greens await you!
Anyway, after the lip, that was literally it. I was holiday party ready... in 15 minutes... at 9 a.m.... the day after a poppin' office holiday party. And you know what? I'd wear this damn look every day, honestly. It's chic, sultry, and still appropriate for any time of day — ideal for someone like me who pretty much refuses to change my makeup look from day to night or so help me, God.
I mean, just look at her! Who is she???
I'll tell you who she is. She's a tired, tired girl who was suddenly awakened by how quick and easy this holiday party look was to create. Watch out, because she's here to steal your holiday spotlight.
Let the records show that Razzano is a makeup artist with many years of experience. I am not. If you're a little iffy about your own skills, and you have a quick 20 minutes to dash into a Sephora before your own holiday party, you can visit the "Happening At" section of Sephora's website to browse super quick (or longer, if you prefer that) in-store services (think: lashes, brows, a quick eye look, a quick lip service, etc.) that you can book to have a professional take care of your holiday party look for you.
Even more, if you're in a mad dash to figure out a last-minute gift to take to said holiday party, but you have no idea where to start, you can also book a quick 20-minute sesh with a personal shopper (!!!!!) at Sephora. Seriously, you can tell them a little about your giftee and your budget, and a Sephora angel sent from above will point you in the right direction.
Try on this holiday party look — while having a personal shopper — and tell me you won't feel like (you own) a million bucks.