Holiday Makeup Must-Haves for a Glowing Beauty Look

December 16, 2015

During the holidays the bold red lips and gold sparkles are always in for beauty, but as a neutral makeup lover, I opt for colors that make the skin glow naturally for a fresh-faced look. It’s this time of year that I start to lighten in skin tone so I like to add and layer colors to give the face a little life. Also being someone who likes to wear red clothing during the holidays – I find that neutral makeup goes best with a red dress or sweater (although brighter pinks also complement red outfits). I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share some of my favorite beauty items along with a few new discoveries.

For glowing skin I like to layer bronzer and highlighters. The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Duos are incredible for adding life to the face. I have both the original Filmstar Bronze and Glow and the newer Medium to Dark version and like both. Either would make beautiful luxe gifts too for any beauty lover – especially the Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set that comes with the sculpting brush.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, Bronzers and Blushes are in my top picks for a natural glowy look. The Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light is the perfect mix of bronzer and highlighter swirled into one compact. It gives the complexion a radiant bronzed glow. I also really love the Ambient Lighting Blushes, Luminous Flush (shown below) and Incandescent Electra are my favorites. If you don’t own any yet, I highly recommend the holiday Ambient Lighting Edit Palette. It’s oh so gorgeous!!! I own 5 of the 6 shades individually and although it would make an excellent travel companion, I decided to pass this season.

Hands down the best highlighting duo launched this year is the Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Duo in Moodlight. It has a pearly opal color and a medium light tan champagne. Together they give the skin a candlelit glow that’s just so so so pretty.

Armani Fluid Sheers are always a favorite to add a glow on top of the cheek bones (I apply after foundation and powder and dab it onto the cheeks). They’re also great to mix in with foundation to add luminosity in a natural way. #2 is the classic champagne ivory shimmer and #17 is a newer one that’s the prettiest neutral pink. I have a few more shades swatched below.

For eyes, I like to keep things simple and light. I’m all about a champagne base and I’ve finally mastered the liquid liner application (success!). The best neutral quad is Tom Ford Nude Dip (brand new fresh one shown below). It is on the shimmery side but I don’t think it’s over the top. Armani Eye Tints offer a nice wash of color, there are lots of neutrals – many of which look similar but have slight variations in undertone.

Other champagne favorites include NARS Velvet Shadow Stick in Goddess (pretty much budge-proof once it sets), Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold (super creamy and easy to blend, if you have oily lids it might be too emollient), Burberry Wet and Dry Glow Eyeshadow in Shell (the perfect shimmer for the lids) and if you want something more glitzy Armani Eyes to Kill in #8 is pretty awesome.
I’ve been experimenting more with different kinds of liquid eyeliners this year. I’ve found so many good ones. Tom Ford Eye Defining Liquid Pen still remains at the top of my list. Burberry’s Effortless Liquid Liner has a felt-tip stiffer tip which is also super easy to use. Both colors are super rich black shades and stay true-to color (some liners I’ve tried dry to a lighter color and look grey on my skin).

To add a bit of definition or color, just add a smudge of something deeper along the upper lash line. I am really loving the Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Rouge Noir that is new for holiday. Charlotte Tilbury Color Color Chameleon Color Morphing Eyeshadow Pencils are super long-lasting. They are creamy enough that you can apply and smudge/blend with ease, but once it sets, it stays put with impressive lasting power.

Reds and berries and plums are always in for holiday. I love a good plum, but as one with full lips, I always feel so self conscious with reds or brights. I feel like they draw extra attention to my lips. I prefer fresh colors that make the face glow. I’ve been obsessed with the Tom Ford Lips and Boys launch this year. There are 25 new shades, I will have swatches of 12 of my picks soon (I promise!). Most of the new colors have shimmer in them, but it’s a luminous shimmer for most. From what I recall there were only a few glitzy colors in the bold range. Demsey is the perfect peachy color (it’s a darker and less frosty version compared to last year’s William). Ansel is a gorgeous bright warm pink shimmer (this fits the gap I’ve seen in the Tom Ford line for something that’s in between pale and super bright). Malik is the most intriguing cool lavender mauve with gold shimmer (not the most holiday-like color, more for spring, but layer a gloss on top and it transforms into a gorgeous mauve). If I found this 10-piece Lips and Boys Set under my Christmas Tree I think I would die of happiness.

I’ve been playing with some of the Burberry Kisses Glosses. They were reformulated along with the Kisses Lipsticks (which I think are the best scent-free lipsticks on the market). Pale Nude is my kind of color – shimmering gold nude. Coral Rose is a sheer but pretty shimmering pink. Antique Rose is a mauve with a hint of silver sparkle. They are scent-free and taste-free. Texture is glossy and smooth. Lasting power is average for a gloss, but I don’t mind reapplying after a few hours.

For holiday fragrance I’ve been loving the Chanel Allure Parfum Bottle which is a concentrated version of the perfume. It comes in a bottle with a dabber. I bought mine which is the larger size in Paris over the summer (which is still compact in size). I was thrilled to see it available in the US in the smaller size. Another layering combination I’ve been loving lately is Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede spritzed over Blackberry and Bay. These minis are in the Cologne Collection Set (5 colognes) which are perfect for putting in your clutch.

I hope you found this roundup helpful if you’re looking for ways to add a natural glow to your beauty routine this holiday. I am always trying to be braver in wearing bold reds and plums on the lips, but I like makeup that makes me feel comfortable and a better version of myself. There are a number of ways to add a bit of color but still look natural and there are tons of options to pick from at Nordstrom (it’s my favorite place to shop because they have the majority of my favorite brands). If you’re shopping for gifts online, take note of their holiday shipping deadlines here.

What’s your beauty routine for the holiday season? Do you like to add bold shades for a glamorous bright look? Or do you like to keep things neutral too? If you have any favorites or go-to’s you’ve been loving please share! I always get such great recommendations and ideas from you πŸ™‚

This Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Rosegold also looks like the perfect glowy gloss, I’ve had my eye on it but haven’t tried it yet – if you have what did you think? Is it a must-have?

Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All opinions my own.

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  • So many great picks! I also love Tom Ford Nude Dip which is one of my most treasured items πŸ™‚

    • I'm glad Nude Dip was made permanent πŸ™‚

  • No matter what, I top it off with Guerlain Perles D'Etoile from last year's holiday collection. It gives your skin an almost ethereal, warm, golden glow with one swipe. I'm absolutely obsessed.

    • Ahhh … those limited-edition Guerlain items. I passed on last year's and I've tried not to look back πŸ™

  • I passed on the Hourglass palette because the pan sizes are considerably smaller than the previous palettes and individual units and the size is not as easy to swirl a brush around. Good value but I found it somewhat limiting because of the pans. For me Tom Ford Nude Dip, Illuminating Duo and the iconic Drake from Lips & Boys are all buy must have staples. From all the Christmas Launches it was Etincelle lip gloss from Chanel that stole the show for me. The sparkles are so subtle but so, so pretty and of course Chanel LamΓ© gold top coat which has added a injection of Christmas sparkle into everything hands and toes. As for scent……despite it being full of ingredients that do not evoke anything for me and being predominantly woody….I fell in love with Tom Ford Santal Blush and gifted it to myself for being so good this year.

    Happy Christmas to you dear Sabrina and I sincerely hope that that 10 piece from Lips & Boys finds it's way to your tree because you most certainly deserve it. Xxxx

    • Hi Amanda, love your picks, Chanel Etincelle is such a stunning shade, I was surprised to see how fast the holiday glossimers sold out this year!

      I've heard many of the same thoughts on the HG palette.

      Tom Ford Santal Blush is amazing, I think that's a wonderful gift for yourself!!!

  • So many beautiful products πŸ™‚
    I keep seeing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, Bronzers and Blushes everywhere! They look so beautiful and I really want the palette πŸ™‚


    • I hope you will be able to add one of the Ambient Lighting items to your beauty collection soon! They're splurgy but I love them πŸ™‚

  • The Bronze & Glow is a must have, I'm obsessed with that palette.

    Perfect Shade of Mauve

  • Do you take your own pictures? I've been using images from google but I've heard that this is illegal.

    • Yes I do take my own photos. I would not recommend using any images off google unless you have clear written permission from the owner – you could open yourself up to a risky situation with copyright infringement.

  • Your swatches are gorgeous <3 My favourites out of all the products would have to be the Tom Ford lipsticks and the Jo Malone colognes πŸ™‚ xx

    Jacqueline | Sail Away to Neverland β™‘

  • Anonymous

    So in love with your post.Beautiful!

  • Hi Sabrina, LOVELY post as always!!! Do you happen to have Lipstick Queen Let Them Eat Cake to compare TF Malik to?

    • Hi Estelle – I don't think I have the Let Them Eat Cake shade πŸ™ Sorry!

  • Anonymous

    Awesome post Sabrina. These are some great products for that Holiday glow. I have yet to try the fluid sheers. One thing I'd add to this list are the Becca products. I really like rose gold and topaz for a pretty glow. I like the Tom Ford illuminating duo and I just bought the Hourglass palette and have been playing with that. I've got to get my hands on the Film Star Bronze and Glow! Cheers! Cherie.

    • Oooh, Becca also has so many great glow products! I would say the Armani is less frosty and more subtle for a natural look while Becca items seem to have a more dramatic finish if that makes sense.

      I definitely think you need to try the Filmstar Bronze and Glow!

  • OMG!!! So many great products to choose from. I am eyeing on those Hourglass bronzer and blush.

    • Glad you liked the list of products!

  • Petunia

    Somehow, Nude Dip has not made it to my house? I think I need to rectify this situation πŸ™‚

  • love the swatches! I was thinking about picking up an eye tint in one of these sorts of shades but i haven't been able to decide!