This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
The holidays present quite the conundrum — on the one hand, it’s the busiest social season of the year, but on the other, it’s unbearably cold out there. We love nothing more than getting all dolled up from our heads to our toes, but we’re less fond of stepping outside and having the wind whip our hair into a frenzy, cause our eyes to water into a full-blown mascara meltdown, and chap our skin and lips into a flaky mess.
Lesson Learned. Since looking fabulous and harsh winter weather don’t really go hand-in-hand, it’s important to arm yourself with primpers that gussy you up and nourishing treats that help protect youfrom the ravages of Old Man Winter. Here, you’ll find our list of holiday beauty essentials to up the glam factor and keep the rest of you from falling apart. Because it’s hard to look chic when you’re suffering from a severe case of wind-chapped everything.
1. The Liquid Liner — Smoky eyes are all well and good, but we prefer a thick black line on our lids when it’s time to party. It adds instant definition to the eyes, keeps your look sophisticated, and stays put without smudging into that weird raccoon mask by sundown.
2. The Scented Body Butter — Scaly winter skin calls for a body moisturizer with a bit more muscle. A thick, whipped butter — scented with a heady holiday aroma like cranberry or night-blooming flowers — will keep your skin velvety smooth and subtly scented.
3. The Festive Candle — Put your abode in the holiday spirit with a scented candle that looks just as lovely as it smells. Scents with spicy undertones or wood inspirations tend to feel extra-appropriate for this time of year.
4. The Curling Iron — Fancy fetes call for even fancier ‘dos, meaning it’s time to bust out that curling iron. A large-barreled iron will help you create everything from retro-glam waves to a chicly curled faux bob to top off your party frock in style.
5. The Dark-Circle Eraser — Late nights and no sleep take their toll on your body, but you’re more apt to notice their effects on your face — specifically with those super-sized shadows that seem to have bloomed beneath your eyes overnight. That’s why it’s definitely a good time to be diligent with the eye cream to help soothe those puffy and tired eyes.
6. The Nourishing Hair Mask — The deadly combo of moisture-sucking indoor heat and super-drying winter temperatures means your dried-out strands need extra TLC around this time of year. A restorative hair mask, used twice a week, will help keep your tresses nourished and strong all winter long.
The Soothing Serum — Red, chapped skin is not a good look on anyone, but unfortunately it’s almost inevitable right now. Many of the skin-care potions you use year-round can be too harsh on irritated skin, so switch out those drying acids and exfoliators for calming serums that soothe and repair damage.
8. The Blinged-Out Lashes — It’s not a party until someone shows up with glittery faux lashes. A hint of sparkle on the lash line — in the form of shimmer or tiny crystals — adds some razzle dazzle to your holiday look while also making your fringe look full and lush.
9. The Sparkly Nail Polish — Like a sequin dress for your nails, sparkly polishes add a festive flash of dazzling color, turning your digits into the perfect party accessory.
10. The Glitzy Hair Clip — A crystallized barrette is the perfect finishing touch for any holiday hairstyle. Pair it with a classic updo, or make it look fresh and modern by pinning one into an artfully disheveled look.
11. The Healing Hand Cream — Keep your mitts from cracking by slathering on a cream that’s packed with essential nutrients and healing oils. Be sure you’re applying multiple times a day — all that dry air and hand-washing only makes them more sensitive.
12. The Hangover Helper — Unless you’re a teetotaler (more power to you), a hangover is a sad eventuality of the season. But, don’t let feeling crappy get in the way of partying like a rock star — be sure to stock up on hangover remedies that help you beat that nausea, headache, and exhaustion into submission so you can do it all over again the next night.
13. The Glowing-Skin Powder — Enliven dull, lackluster winter skin with an illuminating powder. A few swirls on your cheeks, browbone, and chin will help put the radiant glow back into your complexion.
14. The Hydrating Hair Treatment — Prevent and repair static-y, frizzy, frazzled manes with a hydrating treatment that protects and heals your strands by locking in moisture and smoothing out the hair cuticle.
15. The Jewel-Toned Lacquer — Everyone expects you to rock red or gold on your tips, so throw them for a loop by picking a bright and pretty jewel tone. Amethyst, sapphire, and teal hues look particularly fetching, especially when done with a metallic finish or accented by a few swipes of sheer glitter layered over top.
16. The Lip Conditioner — We’re not going to insert some lame line about piling on the balm to get your lips ready to be kissed under the miseltoe — that whole you-have-to-kiss-me-because-this-plant-says-so thing is kind of creepy to us. But, we will say that chapped lips suck, big time. So, if you don’t want to deal with a painful, flaky pout, now would be a good time to start layering that ish on.
17. The Long-Wear Lipstain — Give your lips a pretty flush that will take you from your cubicle to last call at the office holiday party with just a few swipes. It’s the low-maintenance way to glam up your look — once it’s on, you really don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the night.
18. The Makeup-Setting Spray — After spending a ton of time crafting the perfect party makeup, there’s nothing more frustrating than watching it all slide off or fade away before your party has even begun. Preserve your hard work and keep your fete face in place with a setting spray — it will lock in your look and keep it from smudging and slipping off.
19. The Pocket-Sized Palette The holiday season is notoriously packed with social engagements, which means sometimes you have to go straight from one event to the next, with no time to freshen up. Make sure to stash a makeup palette in your purse for just such occasions, so you can revive on the fly.
20. The Metallic Eyeshadow — A molten metal gaze is provocative without being pushy and looks perfect when paired with a black liner and a scarlet lippie. Opt for a Champagne shade — it flatters a wide variety of skin tones and the golden shimmer will keep it from looking too Queen Frostine.
21. The Non-Drying Shampoo — All those pretty coiffs call for piling on the styling product, which means tons of build-up on your strands. A clarifying shampoo will help remove the dirt, excess oil, and product residue from your mane without stripping it of the hydrating natural oils it needs to stay healthy and supple.
The Moisturizing Face Wash — Take it all off —your makeup, that is. Choose a cleanser that will remove your long-wear foundation and super-dark liner without drying out your skin in the process.
23. The Seductive Scent — Trade in those fruity, light scents for a perfume with a bit more depth. The cold weather calls for fragrances with spicy, powdery undertones that radiate warmth.
We’re equal-opportunity red-lip wearers — there’s really no time of year this color doesn’t look amazing — but a creamy crimson pout feels especially appropriate for the holidays. A matte texture gives lips a velveteen finish that looks extra luxe and lush.
25. The Shimmery Gloss — Sparkle (sensing a theme yet?) looks just as ravishing on your lips as it does on the rest of your person. If a sparkle lipstick gives you a bad ’90s flashback, opt for a gloss instead — it will give you all the shine you crave without being too overpowering. Or, layer a coat of it on over your fave lipstick to give an old shade new, party-ready life.
26. The Shine-Enhancing Spray — Frizzy, flyaway strands are not conducive to a polished party look. Tame your wayward mane with a shine lotion — a few spritzes on top coupled with some smoothing hand action will create a sleek, glossy look that will instantly elevate your ‘do.
27. The Travel Makeup Bag — Help make holiday travel a little less infuriating by investing in a beauty bag that will organize and store your essentials while you’re away from home. Is a sparkly bag or cute bird pattern going to make the TSA agents and long lines any more bearable? Probably not, but they’re not going to hurt, either.
28. The Essential Vitamins — Late nights, drinking, and general overindulgence around this time of year can lead to you feeling rundown and generally blah. Do yourself a favor and take a multi-vitamin to help keep yourself in somewhat tip-top shape. Sorry guys, but that meat-and-cheese plate isn’t going to cut it, nutrition-wise.
29. The Volumizing Spray — Locks feeling limp and sad? Pump some life into tired tresses with a hit of volumizing spray — it will lift the roots and help give you a great foundation for an updo.
30. The Lash Enhancer — No holiday party look is complete without a hit of lash-enhancing mascara. Formulas that thicken and lengthen without clumping will help give definition and frame your eyes.
Illustrations by Ammiel Mendoza
Click HERE to read more from Refinery29.