Even though the holidays may look a bit different this year—RIP, big, fancy parties—there’s no reason you can’t dress up, pamper yourself, and experiment with makeup.
And yes: The glam makeup looks that ruled autumn/winter ’20/’21 runways can be achieved using natural, nontoxic products found at natural health retailers. With the help of two makeup artists, we show you how it’s done.
The ‘not so inky black’ smoky eye
Smoky eyes can be notoriously tricky to achieve. They’re intimidating! I have to confess that my first teenage attempts had me looking more raccoonish than glamorous.
Clean beauty consultant Natalia Lavaggi assures us that smoky eyes don’t have to be scary, or even dark. (In fact, a softer iteration of the smoky eye ruled A/W runways from Dior to Givenchy this year.)
- Start subtle. Apply grays, soft blues, or lavender tones of eyeshadow “around the rim of your lower and upper lash line.”
- Add a bit of smolder by smudging it gently using a blending brush or cotton swab.
- Go bolder. “Use the same tones; simply layer on more or add darker tones like plums or charcoal eyeshadows to the crease area,” says Lavaggi.
- Kick things up a notch by applying a bit of black eyeliner to the lower lash line.
The key to a pro smoky eye, Lavaggi says, is in the blending: “Blend a lot so that there aren’t any harsh lines, and always apply lightly, adding more until you achieve your desired look.”
For a finishing touch, beauty and style expert Nadia Albano suggests adding a touch of glitter to the center of the smoky eye “to create a three-dimensional look.”
Make sure that none of the products you choose contain toxic chemicals and harsh preservatives, such as parabens. Nontoxic makeup is often formulated with healthy preservatives from nature, such as rosemary.
The ‘choose your own adventure’ bold lip
Not a fan of Hollywood red? No problem! Oxblood lipsticks are making their vampy presence known this season. And if your carefully applied lipstick gets a bit smudged—hopefully because of a mistletoe rendezvous with your significant other—don’t sweat it. Blurry, just-kissed lipstick was also a runway darling at A/W shows.
Look for natural pigments formulated with a base of nourishing ingredients like plant oils and cocoa butter.
The ‘one step down from diamonds’ sparkle
Albano’s take on glitter? “[It’s] always a fun way to add texture and is always on trend for the holidays.” Naturally glittery eye makeup is also a more accessible and eco-friendly way to pay homage to the over-the-top adornments that made a splash on runways from Giambattista Valli (where real crystals encircled models’ eyes) to Erdem (where silver foil mottled eyelids and brow bones).
“Soft silver liners and metallic eyeshadows exude sophistication and are really fun around the holiday season to add glam,” says Lavaggi.
If that’s still a bit too showy for your Zoom cocktail hour, two subtle natural options for some sparkle are an illuminating powder (which can be applied to cheekbones and the bridge of the nose with a blush brush) or a solid illuminator (which can be applied with fingertips). Rather than large flakes of artificial glitter, the shimmer in these products comes from natural mineral pigments.
While the holiday season is a great time to experiment, make sure you’re not doing the most.
- Don’t go overboard. To avoid looking cartoonish, highlight one feature. For example, Nadia Albano suggests opting for a light or neutral lip to balance out a smoky eye.
- Watch out for too much shine. Using too much glitter may come back to haunt you in photos, as it can catch and reflect the light. It’s best to also use a natural, talc-free setting powder to reduce shine for photos and video calls. Natural blotting papers can help in emergencies.
Both Nadia Albano and Natalia Lavaggi know that good makeup depends on a great base. Skin can become drier in the winter months, so we need to nurture it!
- “I always suggest investing in a great moisturizer, especially during the cooler and drier season,” says Albano.
- Lavaggi recommends hydrating on the inside as well as the outside. “Drink lots of warm lemon water or herbal teas throughout the day to stay hydrated, and always use an organic hydrating cream or facial oil every day.”
- Avoid drying ingredients. According to Lavaggi, “Makeup should also add more nourishing properties and antioxidants, like aloe and jojoba, and not contain ingredients like talcum or silicone, which can further dry out the skin and speed up aging effects.”
- Use masks for even more skin nourishment. “One of the best ones can be made in your kitchen: An avocado mask for 20 minutes will keep your skin dewy, soft, and replenished,” says Lavaggi.