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Easy, Glam Holiday Makeup Hacks

Woman with beautiful makeup sitting on a swing decorated to look like a Christmas wreath.
Oleggg/Shutterstock

When you’re shopping for holiday gifts, the temptation to treat yourself can be impossible to resist. For makeup lovers, the temptation is even stronger because the holidays bring exclusive sets and new products from favorite brands you don’t want to miss out on.

However, you can also get that new, glam feeling without spending your hard-earned coins. You just need a few fun makeup hacks to inject your look with a holiday vibe. These are our favorite easy ways to freshen up your makeup this season—without buying anything new.

Simple Shimmer Lotion

The days from Thanksgiving until New Year’s are packed with glitter, shimmer, and shine. Something about the holiday lights and festive champagne seems to call for sparkling clothes and makeup. But you don’t need to rush out and buy the latest glittery products to get the look.

Body shimmers are hot right now, and you can easily make your own. Just add a sprinkle of loose highlighter powder or liquid highlighter to your favorite body lotion. We like using a separate jar to mix it up so you can get the perfect dose of sparkle.

Want to add shimmer to your hair, too? The same trick will work with your leave-in hair products so that you can have glistening strands.

Glitter Lip Topper

Did you know you can transform an ordinary lipstick into a glittering statement by adding a layer of glitter eyeshadow on top?

This trick works best with lipstick that has a slightly tacky finish so that the glitter will stick. Apply a thick coat of lipstick, then use your finger or a lip brush to pat glitter eyeshadow over it until you get the effect you want.

If you prefer liquid lipstick, you can use the same trick: just add the glitter before the lipstick dries completely. This method is a little more difficult since you’ll need to work fast, but it offers longer-lasting results.

Mismatched Eyeshadow

Want to step into the realm of the unexpected this season without breaking the bank? Mismatched eyeshadow is modern, trendy, and unique. That’s right; we’re talking about wearing a different shadow color on each eye.

If you’re going to try this daring look, you might as well go bold. Pick two bright, contrasting colors so the effect will stand out. Keep the rest of your makeup relatively simple, so your bright eyes become the focal point. This look is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a great way to start using those bold shades that you usually avoid in your makeup palettes.

Brand-New Highlighter Shades

Highlighters have been one of the biggest beauty trends of the past few years. And with pretty new colors coming out all the time, it can be hard to resist spending big bucks on these products.

We have good news: each of your eyeshadow palettes has some new, untapped highlighter shades for you to try. Just pick a lighter, shimmering color out of the palette, and swipe it across your cheekbones or collarbones with a fan brush to get that candlelit effect.

Since eyeshadow is designed for the sensitive skin around your eyes, it should work fine on the rest of your face. However, if you have super-sensitive skin, make sure to spot-test the shadow first.

Water Marbling

Holiday glam extends to your nails, too. But it can be hard to find the cash for a new manicure when you’re gift shopping and buying plane tickets home.

Water marbling is a fun, relatively easy way to do your own nail art. Basically, you’ll drop different colors of nail polish into a bowl of water. The polish will float on the surface, where you’ll swirl it together, then dip your nails in for a cool, tie-dyed look.

It can take some trial and error to get this method right, so save it for a day when you have plenty of time and are feeling crafty. Once you nail it, though (pun intended), there are countless cool looks you can create: check out these tutorials to learn more.

Monochrome Makeup

Not feeling particularly daring or sparkly this season? No worries—monochrome makeup is one of the easiest ways to get holiday glam with products you already have.

To get this look, you’ll want to find eye, cheek, and lip colors in the same shade. This works best with neutral or earthy tones, like pink, copper, or mauve. Go through your makeup and see what you have, then put together a monochrome look with matching eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick. This makeup hack is easy but gives a polished, festive look that’s perfect for the holidays.


Of course, makeup is all about self-expression, so we hope these ideas will also springboard your own inspiration for new looks this season. And if you want to splurge on products anyway, by all means, go for it—but if you’re feeling strapped for cash, these hacks will give you that “new” feeling without stretching your finances. For more money-saving advice, check out this guide to buying craft supplies on a budget!

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a Seattle-based writer and editor with a Master's in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph's University. Her work has appeared in publications like Racked, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and Rum Punch Press. She was awarded a 2017 Writing Between the Vines residency.  Read Full Bio »

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