We love a good holiday party, not least of all because we have an excuse to get fancy and experiment with makeup. Since the holiday season embodies the spirit of kindness, we decided to focus on cosmetic companies that are cruelty-free; that is, ones that don’t test on animals. ‘Tis the season to be bold, so don’t shy away from playing with color or upping the drama of your usual look with highly pigmented cosmetics and innovative formulas that don’t rely on animal testing.
I’m obsessed with dramatic lashes, a result of growing up in the eighties, when spidery lashes were king. If you would like the drama without the clumps, not to mention a little extra conditioning, check out Josie Maran Argan Black Oil Mascara. I tried it as part of the 5-piece Josie Maran Whimsical Wonder Color Essentials gift set, a fantastic collection of eco-friendly beauty products that contain Maran’s signature argan oil. This kit is a great present for fans of natural cosmetics and an absolute steal at only $24. Black Oil Mascara is magical when applied with the unique wavy brush. A single swipe made my lashes look insanely thick, with beautiful length and added curl, and they stayed that way for hours without any smudging or flaking.
For long, fluttery lashes, try Eyeko Black Magic Mascara, a cosmetics icon-in-the-making that impressed me with its staying power. And the chic silver tube packaging is not too shabby. The effect of this lengthening mascara is striking, and it contains shea butter and keratin.
Ready to add some sparkle to your holiday eye look? Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Extreme Shimmer Eyeliner Trio is a budget-friendly collection of gorgeous, creamy glitter eye pencils that impart shine without going full-on disco ball. Choose from classic black, or go with charcoal for an edgier look. The silver pencil really lets the glitter be the star; it’s wonderful for making eyes pop and can also be layered with the other pencils for added glitz. This kit makes a great stocking stuffer for beauty novices looking to experiment, since the colors are complementary and can be used together or separately to create lots of different looks.
Winged eyeliner, or the cat-eye look, is graphic, clean and the epitome of cool girl chic. It’s also notoriously tricky to master. Luckily, British Vogue’s tutorial, which demystifies the process, making it easier than ever to line your eyes, and the shimmery eyeliners give the classic look a fun twist.
Luminous skin is just a dot of highlighter away. A touch of Josie Maran’s Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer, another gift set goodie, will give you the sort of ethereal glow previously reserved for celestial beings. It’s the perfect skin brightener. You’ll look as if you eat right, exercise, drink plenty of water and do all of the things you’re promising yourself you’ll get to come January 1.
Give your eyes the gilded treatment, too. For rich metallic color, try the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eye Shadow, a gorgeous liquid shadow that is unlike anything I have ever used before. Beach Sand, the color included in the gift set, is a stunning bronze hue that is powerful enough to stand alone but can play well with other colors on your lids and face, too. Pro-tip: make sure to get all the excess shadow and liquid off the applicator before applying to your eyelids, lest you end up dripping shadow in your eye, which I totally did during my first application attempt. Your care will be rewarded with a vibrant wash of color that will not budge. Seriously. I tested this without using any primer and went about my very busy day. Several hours after applying, the color was just as rich as it was when I had put it on without any creasing, yet it all came off with a bit of makeup remover.
Nothing is more of a beauty classic than a red lip, and after years of searching, the perfect shade of red lipstick actually came to me. (Thanks, Birchbox!) Model Co. Cosmetics’ Ultra Long Lasting Lipstick in Smitten is the quintessential true red. It has a creamy consistency and stayed put while I ate, drank and chatted all day long, no prep, priming or setting required.
Best of all, it didn’t feel like it was shellacked to my lips. I applied this straight from the tube, but if you really want to make sure your lipstick stays merry and bright all night, even after that midnight kiss, British Vogue’s How to Wear a Red Lip tutorial teaches the foolproof method for making lipstick last.
(Pro tip: if you don’t have a red lip liner, you can also use a neutral lip liner. I love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Cosmetic Colour Pencil in Trick.)
Get glam with these cruelty-free cosmetics this holiday season, and feel as good as you look!