Holiday gatherings are teeing up to look quite different this year. Where last season many families were Zooming into each other's dining rooms, thanks to science, we can look forward to much safer celebrations this time around (albeit still intimate). And for us beauty buffs, we can really show out with our looks this season now that the intricacy of our artistry won't be dulled by the confines of a computer screen.
As we gear up for partying with our pods of family and friends, we're already planning out our glam, as beauty editors do. From classic staples like crimson lips and cat eyes to trendy takes like celestial washes of color, we're ready to put our best faces forward. Keep scrolling for all of our planned looks.
"Wearing red lipstick during the holidays always makes me feel festive and cheery. This season, I’ll be wearing Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored ($25) to all of my holiday festivities. It’s super pigmented, long-wearing, and the precision wand makes it easy to apply. Moral of the story: Rihanna created the ultimate red lipstick." —Olivia Hancock, associate editor
"I usually arrive at my sister’s house on Noche Buena in pajamas with my hair up and my skin freshly cleansed. After all, makeup doesn’t last long through our traditions of feasting, games, and on-and-off napping. This year, however, after months of rarely seeing my loved ones, I plan to gather everyone for a family photo—and this highlighter is the one thing that I know, for sure, will be on my face.
"Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Champagne Pop, $38 (which has found a new home with Smashbox) is a hyper-glowy highlighter that I wear on special occasions. It’s lightweight formula melts onto my complexion, giving my skin a golden, lit-from-within radiance while accentuating the angles of my face. I wear minimal makeup on most days and this compact has been stashed in my vanity for too long. It’s time for its comeback—even if it will inevitably end up smeared on my sister’s couch cushions." —Jesa Calaor, editor
"I've been craving a good, old-fashioned cat-eye look for the holidays. It's classic, powerful, and beautiful all at once. And, since I've been practicing during my time at home, I'm about ready to bring my inky-black liquid liner out for a spin—shaky hand be damned. My favorite is Makeup by Mario's Master Mattes Liquid Eyeliner ($22) because of its sharp, flexible tip. It's easier to apply than other liners I've tried and stays put through the night." —Hallie Gould, associate editorial director
"The holidays are all about that glitter, and I'm so excited about About-Face's Fractal collection, which includes glitter eye paint, liquid lipstick, and brow gel. Liquid eyeshadows are my go-to, and I'm going to be reaching for all the shades this winter—from the sparkling evergreen on nights out to shimmering cinnamon at family dinners. Since I've become a beauty editor, makeup has become less about optimization and more about expression for me, and I'm excited for the chance to bust out some festive sparkles." —Kathryn Vandervalk, strategy director
This season, I can't wait to be back again with my family spending the holidays with everyone! I'm looking forward to putting to use Violette_FR's Yeux Paint in Rose d’Aurore ($28). I purchased this glittery eyeshadow over the summer and finally am going to try it out. The shimmery rose color will be a fun textural addition to my traditional velvet Christmas Eve dress." —Cristina Cianci, visuals editor
"Call it cliché or call it a classic, but the first thing that pops into my head when it comes to holiday beauty is a bold red lip. I collect red lipsticks like Meryl Streep collects Oscars, so I have plenty to choose from. But this year, I'll be eschewing my go-to shade—something blue-based and bright—for something deeper: specifically, Pat McGrath Labs' Vendetta ($38). Darker shades just look so darn sumptuous in the colder months. (Plus, they fit perfectly into my goal of dressing like Sade Adu.)" —Eden Stuart, associate editor
"As experimental as I'd like to be with my makeup, I usually tend to stick to very similar looks (a lid color in the brown or pink family, smudgy brown eyeliner, mascara, etc.). The past year has made me want to branch out even more than before—the extended time at home influenced so many people to embrace beauty maximalism during a period when everything felt a bit dire, and especially considering there is still so much uncertainty in the world, I'm ready to finally take the plunge and throw caution to the wind (beauty-wise, that is).
"In thinking about my holiday look, I wanted to lean into the holographic trend. I've been seeing what I consider a 'jade eye' a few times in Hollywood—a light green, iridescent lid that somehow looks good on everyone, and decided to give it a whirl. Turns out Pat McGrath's new Mthrshp Mega: Celestial Odyssey Eyeshadow Palette ($78) is the perfect product to achieve this look (it was used on Madison Beer at this year's Met Gala). The light green shade appears as though it'll be super concentrated, but it's actually quite sheer, so I layered it on using my fingers until I got the desired level of opaqueness. The end result was the perfect soft shimmery eye look I can't wait to recreate for basically every holiday gathering and then some." —Lindsey Metrus, project director
"I can't imagine a more holiday-appropriate beauty product than the Danessa Myricks Infinite Chrome Flakes ($25). The sparkly, light-catching pigments are an entire look on their own, so I can do the bare minimum with the rest of my makeup and still look like I put in maximum effort. Plus, they come in nine colorful shades, ranging from cerulean blue to fluorescent pink, so there's an option to match every holiday outfit I could possibly dream up." —Karli Bendlin, senior editor
"After a year of barely doing my makeup, I’m thinking outside the beauty box this season. Glitter and gold are holiday classics for a reason, but this time of year is also a great opportunity to experiment. For me, that’s blush draping. I’ve been dying to wear this berry bright stick blush ($28) from Makeup by Mario and make it the centerpiece of my look. I applied it all over: my checks, up to my temples, the outer corners of my eyes, and my lips for continuity.
"The key to a good drape is the application. Blend, blend, blend, and then when you think you’re done, blend some more. Any complexion makeup brush will do, but the built-in one at the end of this product is a dream. The bristles are soft and super high quality, and there are extra little balls for expert blending. Just add a little highlighter to your lids and cheekbones, some mascara, and you’re set." —Madeline Hirsch, senior news editor
"I snagged this travel-sized Tom Ford lipstick (set, $75) right before the holidays last year—but I never actually got to wear it. It was 2020, there was no vaccine, and we were all still wearing masks. I've been holding onto it for a year now and have had such a hard time getting myself to use it. Maybe it's not wanting to smear that glorious TF logo, but it's also been a really nice symbol of hope for me that I'd get to safely travel home for the holidays this year (and pair a bright red lip with a sleek black velvet dress at a swanky holiday party). I'm happy to report that I'll be doing just that come December, with a few of my vaccinated family members. Bold lips are back." —Holly Rhue, senior editor