Our holiday beauty looks can be described in three little words: Over. The. Top. To clarify, we consider this a good thing. After all, there are only so many times in the year we can pair glitter with gloss and metallics galore. But if your everyday beauty look is on the more subdued side, it can take a bit of convincing to dive into this fun pool of bold holiday beauty—and we're here to help.
We challenged Who What Wear fashion editor Aemilia Madden to try out four beauty looks made for the holiday season. Aemilia, who describes her regular beauty routine as "minimalist," pinpoints her eyes as her favorite feature, so we dug into a stash of new Almay makeup and got to work creating the confidence-boosting, scene-stealing looks below. Each one not only plays with bright, bold color, but also emphasizes her eyes. Keep scrolling to see the results.
Aemilia turned out to be the perfect subject because her approach to beauty is fairly low-key. "I try to take good care of my skin, but my makeup routine is pretty simple," she tells us. "I wear an SPF moisturizer and mascara every day. My favorite feature is my eyes; I like that just a simple swipe of mascara makes them pop."
Playing off the editor's usual routine, we started each look with a foundation that has SPF and mascara. Our tools of the trade: New Almay Best Blend Forever™ Makeup ($13) with SPF 40 and new Almay Liquid Lash Extenders™ Mascara ($8), a tube formula that grabs each lash for an instant lengthening effect. (It's also hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist-tested, so it's safe for all eyes.)
Look 1: Smoke Show
"I [can be] intimidated by a smoky eye," Aemilia confesses. "It's a lot to lean into." So to give her more confidence in the look, we brightened a shimmery charcoal eye with a contrasting pop of matte blue-green shadow along her upper lash line. [Ed. note: A super-bold makeup look can be made more wearable if you play with different finishes. New Almay Shadow Squad™ Eyeshadows ($5) contain four different textures of one shade—glitter, matte, satin, and metallic—so you can mix and match them.] The end result: Aemilia came around pretty quickly, admitting she loved how the bright blue shade made her eyes stand out and how rich the color payoff of the shadow was. "I have a feeling there's a holiday party or two I'll be wearing this look to."
Look 2: Candy Colors
We'll be the first to admit that this look isn't for the faint of heart. "I actually love the colors, and the makeup artist blended them perfectly," says Aemilia. "But I'm not confident that I'd be able to pair them together on my own without [some practice]. I'd definitely wear either hue out on the weekend, though." (Okay, baby steps.) Our tip: Create a "path" along the eye like makeup artist Stephanie Peterson did here.
She sculpted the outer corners of the eye using metallic purple shadow, continued to fill in the lids with matte blue shadow (our favorite trending shades—Making a Statement and Thrill Seeker), and then drew the eye inward with glittery blue shadow on the inner corners of the eyes. (Fear not—these shadows are suitable for even sensitive eyes, so you can apply color to this delicate area.) The end result: two richly colored shadows, three very different textures, one look you'll wear again and again.
Look 3: Multifinish Metals
Throughout the day, Aemilia got more and more comfortable with the colorful makeup looks—proof that we'd lured her over to the dark (er, bright?) side. "I do feel emboldened to dive into more color, but for me, it's definitely about the right occasion," she says. "I never want it to feel too costume-y or inauthentic." For this look, we leaned into that, choosing a more "neutral" gold eye shadow, Individualist, from the range of 15 shades available, but gave it dimension by mixing four different finishes of the soft formula Shadow Squad™ together. "This look was the most romantic of the bunch to me. The next time I get set up on a date, I'll whip this look out," she tells us.
Look 4: Shades of Red
Pairing two complementary colors like red and hot pink has been trending for a while now, but to give that look a softer spin, we chose a peachy-pink shadow with a smooth texture to pair with a soft red lip. Our makeup artist applied the soft formula to the entire lid and then brightened the inner corners of the eye with the glitter shadow of the same color. To give the look an even bolder twist, we piled on the mascara to both her upper and lower lashes. This can give even the most neutral looks some added interest. "This look was my favorite, and I definitely think I'll give it a spin, maybe even for a workday when I need to look especially polished," Aemilia shares.
Which bold holiday beauty look are you trying this season? Shop all 15 shades of Almay Shadow Squads™ here to find your favorites.