Get the look: Retro-glam Holiday Makeup

In this article:

Are you searching for a sophisticated party look that perfectly showcases the glow of the holiday season? We love this metallic twist on retro-glamour because it does exactly that! Bold matte lips and winged eyeliner are elegantly highlighted with just enough shimmer to add intrigue while still being festively chic.

The best part? This look is surprisingly easy to create, and it can be tailored to suit your skin tone. Read on as the Paula's Choice Research Team shares all the tips you'll need to get ready for your big night!
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Foundation Recommendations

How to wear it: For a flawless long-wearing look, we recommend a medium- to full-coverage foundation with a semi-matte finish. Set your foundation with a matte or semi-matte powder.

Foundations and Powders for Normal/Combination Oily Skin:

  • Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($9.99)
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup ($39)
  • Sonia Kashuk Bare Minimum Pressed Powder ($9.99)
  • Paula's Choice Healthy Finish Pressed Powder SPF 15 ($16)

Foundations and Powders for Dry Skin:

  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup ($39)
  • Paula's Choice All Bases Covered Foundation SPF 25 ($16)
  • Lancome Translucence Mattifying Silky Matte Powder ($29)
  • M.A.C. Pro Sculpting Powder ($16.50)

Powder Highlighter Recommendations

How to wear it: Use a small powder brush to dust loose or pressed highlighting powder over cheeks for a healthy, luminous glow. Skip the blush. This sheer touch adds dimension without competing with bold eyes and lips.

The trick to wearing metallic accents is to cater to your skin tone: Silver accents are best suited for cool undertones such as pink and blue, while gold accents are better suited for skin with warm undertones such as yellow and olive. Bronze and rose-gold tones tend to be more warm than cool, but both are universally flattering.

Warm tones to try:

  • TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer ($24), a warm, yellowish champagne shimmer
  • Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick ($42) in Bronze

Cool tones to try:

  • IT Cosmetics Hello Light Illuminating Powder ($24), a cool, shimmery silver
  • Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star ($45) in Amber Diamond

Metallic Accents from Eyeshadow

How to wear it: The eyeliner and lashes are the main focus. The eyeshadow should be downplayed. Try using soft, neutral matte brown shades.

Use a richly pigmented metallic cream eyeshadow applied with a small brush to accent the inner corners of the eye.

Warm tones to try:

  • Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo Metal 24hr Cream Gel Shadow ($6.99) in Barely Branded
  • Lancome Color Design Infinite 24H ($24.50) in Eternal Gold

Cool tones to try:

  • Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo Metal 24hr Cream Gel Shadow ($6.99) in Silver Strike
  • Lancome Color Design Infinite 24H ($24.50) in Unlimited Silver

Voluminous Lashes

How to wear it: Use a volumizing mascara and apply a few extra coats to emphasize the lash line. For an even more glamorous look, wear false eyelashes that have a winged outer corner.

Mascaras to try:

  • bareMinerals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara ($18)
  • Almay Intense I-Color Volumizing Mascara ($7.99)
  • IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes 5-in-1 Treatment Mascara ($24.00)
  • CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume ($7.79)

False eyelash brands to try:

  • Ardell (sold in most major drugstores)
  • Kiss Me
  • M.A.C.
  • Benefit

Note: When you buy false lashes, don't forget you'll need special eyelash glue to make sure they adhere properly. Check out the lash glues from Duo, Kiss Me, Revlon, Lock-on Lash, and Smashbox.

Winged Eyeliner

How to wear it: For beginners, we recommend felt-tip liquid liners because they let you apply color with the same control as a pen. For more staying power, try a gel eyeliner. To apply, draw a bold line as close to the lashes as possible; the “wing” should be at a slight angle and shouldn't extend past the maximum length of your outermost eyelashes, pre-mascara.

Liquid eyeliners to try:

  • Sephora Smart Liner ($14)
  • Boots Stay Precise Felt Tip ($8.99)

Gel eyeliners to try:

  • Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($23.00)
  • Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Liner ($8.99)

Angled eyeliner brushes to try:

  • Trish McEvoy Angled Eyeliner Brush #50 ($26)
  • NYX Cosmetics Angled Eyeliner Brush ($4)

Matte Red Lipstick

How to wear it: Before applying your matte lipstick, prep by exfoliating lips and then apply a neutral lip liner designed to keep the color from bleeding outside your natural lip line.

A flawlessly applied matte red lip makes an ultra-chic statement. A matte lip is also perfect for holiday parties because it wears longer than any other type of lipstick and, matched with an anti-feather lip liner, doesn't bleed into fine lines or wrinkles around the mouth. Eating?—no problem, as mattes will outlast your appetite (although you may need a touchup after eating particularly greasy foods).

Cool tones of red lipsticks to try:

  • M.A.C. Lipstick in Russian Red or Ruby Woo ($15)
  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lipstick in Stay Cranberry or Stay Scarlet ($26)
  • NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Amsterdam ($26)

Warm tones of red lipstick to try:

  • NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Vesuvio ($26)
  • Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Red Red Red ($15)
  • NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream in Amsterdam or Monte Carlo ($15)

Now that you have the look down, all eyes will be on you! Remember, though, that even on late nights, sleeping in makeup means waking up to puffy, red eyes and irritated skin. Be sure to wash your face before going to bed, or at least use a gentle makeup remover before you shut the lights out after a fun evening!

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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