+ Makeup

Three Holiday Party Makeup Looks


When dressing for special occasions, the makeup and hairstyle you choose matter.  Parties and events present us with a rare opportunity to take risks and play dress up, so go all the way and choose a makeup look that complements your clothing.  

Dark Smoky Eye + Nude Lip = Sexy Chic 

If you’re looking for a dramatic, sexy look, I would think about a dark smoky eye and a nude lip.  For a tutorial on the eye makeup, watch this video on University of Makeup.  Want to create the perfect nude lip, Aveda has a great tutorial.  (If you don’t think a grey smoky eye is best for you, follow this guide to create the “Adele” nude and shadow smoky eye.)

As for which products to use, to get the perfect smoky eye, you should try the Kevyn Aucoin palette.  If you need a drugstore brand, Almay has a great smoky eye palette.  For a nude lip, I like Urban Decay Naked but NYX makes a great pencil that comes in a few nude-like shades (and they’re $5!).

As for what outfit to wear this with, what about a white silk blouse, tuxedo pants and studded, ankle strap pumps?  And if you’re looking for a dress, try something with a sexy thigh slit and one shoulder.

Eye Makeup Photo Found Here.  Lipstick Photo c/o latest fashion beauty.

Winged Liner + Bold Red Lip = An Updated Classic

The matte red lip is an old Hollywood classic.  If you want to update it, add a bit of winged liner.  It makes a dramatic statement without overwhelming the look.  The photo shows a classic liner, but you could also augment with a touch of gold sparkly eyeliner for a great holiday look.  Or, for a softer look, try white shimmer shadows and highlighter (but don’t forget to fill in your brows like this lovely lady did!)

For a winged liner tutorial, try this one.  Need the boldest of red lips to look perfect all night long?  The Beauty Department has all the secrets.

Finding the right red lipstick is a challenge, I like M.A.C. Ruby Woo but you may need to search for awhile to find one that complements your skin tone.  As for the liner, I use a Stila product, but I’ve heard good things about L’Oreal’s Telescopic Liner.

I like this look with a holiday red dress or you can wear it with black skinny jeans and a black sequin top.

Eye Makeup Photo c/o Indecisive Young Soul.  Lipstick Photo Found Here.

Light Smoky Eye + Burgundy Lips = A Romantic Look

I was told once by a makeup artist that purple eyes look great on everyone.  I especially like them for bringing out the green and gold hues in my hazel eyes.  And I think a purple eye is the perfect match for a glossy burgundy lip; it creates a really romantic look with just the right amount of pop.

Keiko Lynn has all the information on how to create this gorgeous eye look and which products she thinks you should use.  I like Bobbi Brown’s violet ink gel liner, and Stila Oasis for the gold highlighter.  For the lip, the look from the Gucci 2011 show is best achieved with a matte burgundy lip and a shiny clear gloss.  I would prescribe Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte in Forbidden Burgundy and MAC Clear Lipglass.  Need something less expensive?  Try CoverGirl Wetslick and Avon Forever Burgundy.

I would wear this look with this gorgeous navy lace dress.  It would also look fantastic with a grey and silver sparkly dress like this one.

Eye Makeup Photo c/o KeikoLynn.  Lipstick Photo from Gucci Fall 2011.

Next week, we’ll be discussing at length what to wear to holiday gatherings with tips like how to make one dress work for multiple events.  We’ll also have a few easy hair tutorials (always a big hit) and some nail colors to give your fingers a bit of zest.  See you then!



  1. Leslie says:

    I've been corrupted. When I see the red matte lip and winged eye liner, all I think of is Lindsey Lohan. Going to be googling to get other images in my head tonight.

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  2. AR says:

    Remember the black lace dresses you posted a few days ago? I bought something similar for my office holiday party this weekend. I'd love to do the red lip but am worried it's too much for work (we're a pretty rowdy crowd, but still). Smokey eye/nude lip? Help!

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  3. Belle says:

    AR: It's a holiday party on the weekend, I think a red lip will be fine.

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, does anyone have suggestions for a holiday party look for someone who doesn't really wear make-up? The 3 examples above, while they would look great on most people, probably would make me look too done and I'm not sure I could pull that off.


    November 29, 2012/Reply
  5. Anna says:

    I love the look of a nude lip but can never quite get it right, because my lips are so pigmented. Dark lip colors tend to look vampy on me since I'm so pale, and I'd love to be able to do a nude colored lip with smokey eyes but they always just end up looking pink :(. I once put concealer on my lips and gloss on top which kind of achieved the look but then I worry about eating concealer.

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  6. Joanne says:

    Belle, I've been following your blog for years and you are my DC fashion guru/bible. I just have to say I love these make up pairing posts! They are Absolutely wonderful, especially at this time of the year with all the parties and events. Thank you.

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  7. Belle says:

    Anon: I would go with a metallic wash on the lids (either gold or silver) with just a little white highlighter on the brow bone, just a little black liner and a sheer lip color like Fresh Lip Treatment in Plum or Berry.

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Belle. That sounds lovely. I also wanted to ask on a non-makeup subject, I've seen styles this season for feathery-type tops, skirts and dresses. Any fans out there?

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  9. CG says:

    Sephora has an awesome collection of how-to videos:


    November 29, 2012/Reply
  10. Isabel says:

    In reply to Anna, I have the same problem re the darkly pigmented lips. I once got a tip from a makeup artist to buy a nude colored lip lining pencil and to use it to completely fill in my lips. Following that up with a nude lipstick and gloss does the trick for me.

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  11. Lia says:

    Hey Belle, are there any hair suggestions or links you could reveal now? My corporate holiday party is tomorrow and I'm totally unsure what to do with my hair. I'm wearing this dress https://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=582447012


    November 29, 2012/Reply
  12. JCC says:

    There are some great hair tutorials at A Cup of Jo, for those who can't wait until next week:


    November 29, 2012/Reply
  13. Esther says:

    Any suggestions for a gold liquid eyeliner, for the gold liner look that you linked to?

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  14. Belle says:

    Esther: Sephora Collection and Urban Decay both make good sparkly liners. UD has a lot of colors if you're not into gold.

    November 29, 2012/Reply
  15. jes says:

    I've spent tons of money on Make Up Forever reds and MAC reds but I'm not gonna lie – the best reds I've found were from NYX and Wet N Wild.

    Snow White from NYX is a good darker red. I dont remember the Wet N Wild one that I really, really like but its code is like 911-D or something and its a true red. Red Velvet (910-D) is pretty but a little too intense for me. These cheap lipsticks plus shading all over my lips with a Milani lip pencil has worked out really well for me!

    November 30, 2012/Reply
  16. Sara Willis (swegl) says:

    That pin to Adele's eye look on Pinterest doesn't actually link to a tutorial — it's just the main blog I assume that photo originated from. I haven't been able to find it anywhere else online, either.

    Does anyone have some sort of tutorial or guide to create the “Adele” nude look? I absolutely adore it, but I can't seem to replicate it!


    January 3, 2013/Reply