One of the things we love most about the holidays is that even ordinary outings feel special. The holidays are the time to dress up and put your best face forward, so it’s unlikely your everyday cosmetics and beauty routine are up to snuff. While you don’t need to run out and purchase a whole new makeup palette, you can make a few inexpensive tweaks to your beauty routine and up your game for holiday parties and time with friends and family.

To gear up for the dinners, cocktail parties, and movie nights, inventory your makeup bag to make sure you’re prepped and ready for the festivities. Throw out clumpy mascara and that lipstick you hate, and set aside broken eyeshadows and blushes to resalvage and repurpose.



Double-Duty Eyeshadow

You probably have a bunch of old or broken eyeshadow palettes lying around. These are perfect double-duty beauty products you can turn into bold, smoky eyeliners. Simply crush a bit of shadow in a small container and add a few drops of water to create a damp – but not soaking wet – consistency. Once the eyeshadow is damp, use a clean shadow applicator and line the top edge of your eyelid. The result is a thick, dramatic line, especially beautiful in dark blues, purples, bronzes, and golds. As an added bonus, damp eyeshadow is much easier to control than liquid liner.


False Lashes

Fake lashes cost less than $5 at the drugstore, and if you purchase them in individual lash clumps instead of a full strip, you’ll have enough to last the entire season. Use tweezers to remove the lashes from the packaging, then dip the stem into the provided lash glue. Put one or two clumps on the outer edges of each eye for fuller, eye-framing lashes. Just wash them off with soap when you’re done.


Add Color

You probably have black and brown eyeliner in your makeup bag, but because the holidays lend themselves to a more adventurous look, try experimenting with an inexpensive colored pencil for the holidays. If you have brown eyes, grab a navy pencil. If your eyes are blue, a maroon color looks best. Green-eyed girls can opt for a bronze color. A little unexpected color can perfect a festive look.



Exfoliate Your Pout

Dry winter air and indoor heating can wreak havoc on your skin and lips, leaving them begging for a little extra TLC. I like to exfoliate my lips using a clean, unused toothbrush dipped in a small amount of baking soda. Rub your lips in a circular motion to slough off dry skin. After exfoliating, slather on a moisturizing lip balm before adding your lip color on top. The result is smoother lips and improved lipstick application.


Volumize Your Lips

If you weren’t blessed with Angelina Jolie’s perfect pout, try this trick for fuller lips. Slick on your lip color then blot your lips on a tissue. Use a clear glitter gloss, dotting it on the center of your top and bottom lip. This causes light to refract on the fullest part of your lips, making them look much fuller. Reapply often throughout the night to keep your pucker looking plump.



Skip the Powder

Even if you usually use powder blush, ditch it in favor of a cream-based blush for the holiday season. Cream blushes create a more natural flush and won’t aggravate dried-out skin. Look for a bright, sheer color that blends well for the best results.


Master Color Placement

If you’re not sure where to apply your blush, try this: Smile, then place two fingers beside your nose. Dot the cream blush on the apples of your cheeks beside your fingers, blending well for a natural finish.


Use a Shimmery Eyeshadow

To make your cheeks look even brighter, use a white, shimmery eyeshadow to highlight your cheekbones. Sweep the shadow over the tops of your cheekbones with a fan brush, then dust a bit on your brow bone and the bow of your lips for a glowing finish.



Moisturize with Makeup

If your skin is dry, your makeup can flake and look obvious. Instead of using powder, mix liquid foundation with facial moisturizer in a one-to-one ratio and carefully press the mixture onto your face with a cosmetic sponge. The moisturizer hydrates your skin while thinning out the foundation, providing sufficient coverage without a flaky finish.


Use the “Bronzer 3”

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to let go of your summer glow. Bring out your cheekbones and give your face a healthy flush by applying bronzer in a “3” shape. Take a big, fluffy brush, load it up with bronzer powder, and draw an imaginary number 3 on one side of your face. Start at the center of your forehead, sweep down around your eyes and onto your cheekbones, then drag it down and across your chin. Repeat on the other side for a perfect sun-kissed finish.


Feature One Feature

While you might want to try lots of new holiday colors, don’t go overboard. The rule of thumb is to only show off one feature at a time. If you’re wearing a ruby red lip color, tone down your eyes with a more natural color. If you’re applying a smoky eye, keep your lips pale or use a clear lip gloss instead.



Color Well in Advance

If you’re planning to freshen up your hair color or get new highlights, schedule your appointment a week or two in advance of any big event. Not only are salons busier during the holiday season, but your color needs a couple weeks to reach the perfect tone. If you’re doing your own color, only go a shade or two darker or lighter than your current shade. Drastic changes are best left to the pros.


Get Sparkly

Now’s the perfect time to add a little sparkle. A pretty barrette, a bejeweled headband, or a brooch secured with bobby pins can turn a plain ponytail or simple style into something special.


While it’s true that the holidays are a great time to experiment with color and sparkle, you don’t want to go overboard. Dry skin and too much color can derail your attempts at the perfect holiday look. By adding a few new products and making special allowances for dry, winter skin, you can achieve a holiday-perfect look that lasts all season.