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How to pull off a bold holiday look, according to a makeup pro


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One of the best things about the holiday season—aside from gifts and vacations, of course—is the cause to celebrate with friends and family at holiday parties galore. After all, science shows that spending time with loved-ones is linked to an increase in happiness, which is as good of a reason as any to bust out the party dress and shimmery eye shadow for whatever affair is on tap next.

Even those who tend to stick to minimal makeup the rest of the year can get into the bold beauty game without worrying if their look is “too much” this time of year. Because when lavishly decorated trees, colorful lighting, and giant mirrored balls are the order of the day, excess is encouraged.

“In the winter, the light outside naturally gets more dim so it’s the perfect time to play with bold hues, metallics, and glitters,” says Merrady Wickes, head of Content and Education for The Detox Market. “What would look way too harsh in the summer suddenly looks festive and wonderful. Our holiday outfits, whether they’re chunky sweaters or full on sequins, [are just begging to be] paired with bolder looks.”

If you’re not used to wearing statement makeup, you may want to focus on one area of the face—the eyes or lips, for example—when experimenting with your holiday party circuit look. Or, you know, go all-in with a bold lip, cat eyes done in unexpected hues, and rosy, frosted, or glitter-adorned cheeks.

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Lips

“Red is never a bad idea for the holidays,” says Wickes. “You can pair a red lip with a white cashmere sweater as easily as your favorite LBD, and it’s the perfect accessory. ILIA Satin Cream Lip Crayon in 99 Red Balloons is the perfect classic red with enough moisture to make it super forgiving to apply. Or try Lily Lolo Lipstick in Berry Crush for a gorgeous berry shade.” Also huge for winter this year? Dark berries, browns, noirs, and grays in high-gloss, metallic, and glitter finishes.

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Eyes

“A shimmer on the eye is exactly right for soirees lit by twinkling fairy lights,” Wickes says. “Try Gressa’s Eye Tint in Aureo for a sophisticated golden sheen to pair perfectly with a bright lip, or up the ante with a light-shifting glitter that’s grown-up appropriate, and delightfully eye catching. The new Celestial Sphere Eye Soots from Rituel de Fille can be worn alone or pressed over a smoky eye for instant wow factor.”

With respect to that smoky eye, try unexpected hues like crimson, forest green, or even a midnight blue. To keep from looking like a Christmas tree, avoid mixing the reds and the greens together and go for an understated look—a nude lip, for example—elsewhere on your face. You can also opt for a frosted eye—think whites and powder or baby blues.

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Cheeks

“If you love the idea of a just-in-from-the-cold flushed pink cheek, the key is to reach for the most alarming hot pink you can find, and apply a very sheer layer,” says Wickes. “Use your fingertips or a stippling brush to gently blend onto the apples. If you apply too much, just use the brush you used to apply foundation to blot over the color. I love using Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Happy for this effect.” You can also opt to stick to a simple highlighter, especially if you’re going bold with the eyes or lips, because you know, balance.

Now that you know what you’re going to wear, it’s time to think about what you’re going to bring; here, every gift you’ll need to buy this season. Plus, if it’s your turn to be the host, try these tips for a stress-free soirée.

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