Christmukkahwanza may have come and gone, but New Year’s is by far the best holiday for beauty. It’s the one time every year when even you glitter phobes can dial up the sparkle and glam without feeling like you’re committing a major faux pas (never mind me–I’ll be wearing sparkle in church on Easter morning, but I know I’m the exception, and I digress…). Glitter lovers like me should check out Rachel Zoe’s Zoe Beautiful page for the “Get Your Gleam On” feature, which basically lists ever major drama gleam-ifier that I would’ve mentioned myself (can you say “LORAC 3D Liquid Lustre,” once a limited edition and now a permanent part of the line? Oh. My.). But what about you sparkle virgins out there? There is a way to dial up the holiday glimmer without going full-on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Read on!
The key word for glitter-phobes is “glow.” Advances in finely micronized pigments have led to a new crop of beauty products available this holiday season that quite literally create the effect of a candle lit sheen on the skin. My favorite of all is the new Laura Mercier Foundation Primer-Radiance ($30): a sheer, lightweight lotion that dries to a long wearing finish. In typical French fashion, Laura Mercier’s holiday collection this season has absolutely nailed the perfect balance between playful glamour and natural-beauty-enhancing-subtlety: a fact completely embodied by this obsession worthy new primer. The formula is light years ahead of the thick, slimy old lady silicone primers like Smashbox Photo Finish original, so you can also wear this one on top of your makeup–perfect to freshen up dull, dry winter skin at the end of the work day before heading out for the evening. The best thing about this product is its subtlety; in most light, you barely see it, but when you turn just so, it catches the light and the look is gorgeous, airbrushed perfection, a kiss of rose-gold glow that is perfect on any skin tone. This can be worn under makeup for the most subtle finish, over foundation for a bolder look, selectively applied to the high planes of the face as a subtle highlighter, on bare skin as a base to bronzer or translucent powder in the t-zone, and spread across the collarbones, chest, and décolleté for Victoria’s Secret model definition. If you’re going to try one new thing, you definitely need this. It’s pretty much the best $30 you can spend on a beauty product right now. One thing: if your skin tone falls into the mocha-chocolate category, you’ll be happier with a product that has a slightly more translucent pigment; you will adore the NARS Illuminator in Laguna or Orgasm. Want to further intensify the gleam? Dust Laura Mercier Illuminator along collarbones, browbones, tops of ears, in a c-shape on the outer corner of the eye, and the cupid’s bow of the lip; this little wonder can also be applied wet for the most intense rose-gold drama of all. (Scroll down for more!)
For the rest of your look, take inspiration from Kate Hudson’s adorable look at the 2011 British Fashion awards with the following tips:
Achieve last minute volume like hers with the divinely scented (think sophisticated soft musk, not cheap fruity floral) Nexxus Comb Thru Natural Hold Design and Finishing Mist; first, spray lightly all over for texture, pliability, and flexible hold. If your strands are naturally super-fine, adding a few puffs of Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion will create unwordly levels of volume and heretofore unseen levels of amazingness (just ask runway stylist Odile Gilbert, who lists this product as one of her backstage must-haves). Follow by teasing hair from the crown down to an inch above ends to create lift and body throughout; then, gather hair into a loose pony high on the back of your head (making sure to leave volume on top) and secure with an elastic (ponytail bungees work great for this because they don’t squash your volume). Finish by grabbing large sections of hair and twisting them around the base of your ponytail holder until you’ve created a loose, voluminous bun; secure in place with bobby pins.
To achieve Kate’s fresh eye look, dust lids with the silver shimmer of Nuance Salma Hayek Mineral Eye Shadow Duo in Midnight Blue/Silver Steel ($8.49), a high-end pigment at a low-end price (think NARS quality–not kidding), and follow with the navy shade applied wet as a dramatic eyeliner. Navy liner is the trick to achieving drama while brightening red, watery winter eyes–it’s an amazing pick-me-up!
Finish with Shiseido Makeup Shimmering Rouge lipstick in Alabaster BE702 ($25), the perfect winter nude. What makes a good winter nude? This shade lacks the peachy, beigey tones of typical summer nudes (which can read a bit orangey on already red winter lips); this shade looks grey-lavender in the tube, which is just what you need to tone down the red of chapped winter lips and create a cool, shimmery nude frost. The amazing formula–macadamia nut oil is the first ingredient on the list, so we’re talking quality stuff, here–is more like a balm than a lipstick, so your lips will remain deliciously soft for that midnight kiss!
Compliment this look with the perfect nail color; I love Laura Mercier Nail Lacquer in Twilight ($18). Check out my swatches in the slideshow at left; it’s the perfect dusky shade, not too purple and not too grey, but just enough of both to be fun and playful for an evening look while still remaining sophisticated enough for work. It’s the first nail polish that Laura Mercier has offered in years, and I’m quite impressed with the formula; I found it to be quick drying and very long wearing, even though I applied it in a rush and used a pretty cheap top coat.
Before heading out the door, walk through a cloud of glam party fragrance–for this look, I like something slightly J.Crew model-retro and tasteful like Kate Spade Twirl. With notes of pink watermelon, tiare flower, and French macaroon (my favorite!!), you will be the sweetest thing on the dancefloor.