Welcome to Face Cadet, a beauty column wherein we slather various pigments and tinctures on our facial zones, then let you know if they’re worth it.
Need help doing your face for this weekend’s festivities? We got you. Here are two guides to putting your best face forward on New Year’s Eve, for wholesome pics with the fam, and on the hungover days after all that.
The Very Good Daughter (That Was Such a Fun Holiday, That Year Nostalgia Remix), for Any Situation Resulting in Family Photos
Every holiday, my beautiful sisters, cousins, parents, and other assorted family representatives squeeze into the frame of an iPhone camera, looking festive, well-put-together, and flush with the warmth and camaraderie of proximity to our loved ones. Somehow, in these pictures, I am either (a) mid-mouthful of Grandma’s bomb-ass meatballs, (b) undermoisturized because of the cold, (c) wine-complexioned, and/or (d) sans lipstick because of having just been (a) or working too lustily toward (c). Not this year, homies. Photos are forever, and this look is built for endurance both in the moment and so ever after. At a given moment, regardless of whether I’m intimately involved with marinara-based dishes, the steadfastness of my makeup will prevail over whatever the hell I’m doing “in the name of good cheer” with little mind to how it looks (wrestling cousins; putting on a full Santa suit; caroling where I don’t belong).
My most excellent makeup discovery of 2017 was airbrush foundation—essentially, spray paint for your face that provides fullest-of-full-coverage that is somehow also really light and dewy—and lasts more or less eternally. I shake it, hold it a few inches away from my face, then hose myself down in even, slow strokes, taking care to cover my hairline, lash extensions, and clothing. Once I’m suitably covered in the product, I blot it with a sponge around my eyes and nose to blend it into any creases. After it dries, I apply concealer on my chin, underneath my eyes, and along my nose to add dimension and light, since otherwise, the airbrush foundation’s uniformity can look a little mask-like. I fix all this in place with mineral setting powder, which also helps to dim the lights on any post-dinner wine shine and mattify my overall zone.
Highlighter often shows up brightly and foxily in photos, and especially in flash ones, so I used a particularly captivating one: Milk’s Holographic Powder Quad. Tarte’s blush is sweet and un-showy, which offsets the highlighter’s gleam by pairing it with a more natural finish—I like to blend them together with a wiped-off brush after applying the blush beneath the highlighter to really marry the colors.
When I’m going to appear wholesomely, yet attractively, on camera among my wholesome, good-looking family members, I prefer a subtle, deepening eye shadow shade that won’t read as too intense, but does make my eyes look more awake and nice even if I happen to be captured closing my eyes mid-laugh. To this end, I opted for the taupe and micro-glitter light brown shades in Maybelline Blushed Nudes palette, which are neither invisible nor immediately what you’d fixate on when looking at my overall paint job. Mascara-wise, I like a formula that both lengthens and adds volume, since I think standout lashes read as less dramatic and more, “Oh, that is just how her face is: very pretty” in pictures. I picked a super-black liquid liner for similar reasons: Applied very delicately, in the the thinnest line you can manage above your upper lashes, it barely looks like you’re wearing “eyeliner”—just that your eyes are more pronounced.
Finally, Bare Minerals’ matte liquid lipstick in VIP is a pretty, seasonal-feeling red that won’t get all over the cheeks you kiss and Italian delicacies/stemware you make out with.
Longevity is also key for New Year’s looks, although I like to go way farther out in this case than I do in the aforementioned, whether I’m at an elegant house party, strange rave, dim sum feast, or all of the above, which, if it’s New Year’s, is likelier to be true than most other nights.
I start with my beloved airbrush foundation, mentioned above, and a concealer for backup on the parts of my face that tend to benefit from extra coverage if I want a long-lasting and uniform base, like underneath my eyes and around my nostrils where I tend to get a little red. Since I’m doing a very full face from here on out, I skip setting powder for fear of adding too many layers. I opt instead for all-over COLOR—Marc Jacobs lipstick in Slow Burn applied as a cream blush to match my lips, FENTY BEAUTY Killawatt highlighter in two shades of shimmery pink, Lightning Dust and Fire Crystal, and the two darkest shades from the KVD Shade + Light palette as contour along my hairline, under my cheekbones, on the sides of my nose, and along my jawline.
I like a dark, layered, shimmering-gold eye look for New Year’s, so Too Faced in Tipsy, Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic Multi-finish eyeshadow palette in She Was and Seeking. (She Was Seeking Tipsy seems to me a fair analysis of some, but not all, New Year’s Eves.) A blurry cat eye still looks good the next morning, in my highly experienced view, so I draw one on with a thick-brushed liquid liner, like NYX’s matte formula in black, and finish the whole tableau off with as many coats as I can stand of a curling, thickening mascara, like Too Faced’s Better Than Sex.
On the last night and first morning of any potential annus mirabilis, I want my lips to be BIG and TINSEL DISCO and fuller than even a year that is only just beginning. I plan to smother whomever is nearest and down to french at midnight with Wet N Wild gel lip liner in Bare to Comment (!), applied underneath Ulta Beauty High Shine Plumping Top Coat mixed with generic gold gloss, both of which maximize everything you have, mouth-wise. (By the way: gold gloss seems extravagant, but is really so natural and lovely-looking over bare lips, too. In fact, worn on its own, I’d even vouch for it as a substitute hangover lip.) I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to pave your face over with gold and Rihanna’s inventions, but I’m convinced especially that we all deserve to start the year that way, if we like. In any event, I hope you have a beautiful holiday, no matter what you do or wear throughout it, and yes, I know I have really dark roots; I like them this way. Happy 2018 to you and yours.