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Glam Holiday Pageant Makeup Tutorial

Meredith Burroughs will be competing for the title of Miss Nebraska USA 2017. Photo: Goodwin Photography
Meredith Burroughs will be competing for the title of Miss Nebraska USA 2017. Photo: Goodwin Photography

Tis’ the season for sparkle and glam, all things silver and gold. Why not take your holiday party look up a notch with your makeup?

I attended a makeup workshop this weekend with local makeup artist Amy Rene on this very topic, so it inspired me to share my newfound knowledge with you beauties!

Today I will teach you some easy ways to elevate your makeup look and make it more festive while staying chic and sophisticated.

Glam Holiday Pageant Makeup Tutorial


Keep your eyes to neutral colors (you’ll find out why later). I always suggest starting with eye makeup first in your regime. That way, if any colors fall under your eyes, you can easily swipe them away without disturbing any foundation, concealer or other makeup on your face.

I would suggest doing a sultry smoky eye on the outer corners, but keep your colors to a nude palette. (To learn how to perfect a smoky eye, read:  A Step-by-Step Guide to the Perfect Smoky Eye.)

Start with a good eye primer. My favorite is the Paint Pot from MAC, in Painterly. It will keep your colors true-to-pigment while also making the color last all day. I like to apply the primer with an eyeshadow brush and a very light hand. But if you prefer, fingers work well, too.

When doing any eye makeup, always keep in mind light-medium, dark, and possibly darker with your color choice. For instance, if doing a neutral eye, choose your three (or four) colors ranging from light to medium to dark, and your last one should be your darkest.

Add your base color all over the eye, starting from the lash line and going to the brow. This color literally should not show; it is just giving you a blank canvas to start with. Honestly, if the color doesn’t show, then you have found the right base.

My favorite is Foxy by Urban Decay, which is available as a single or in the Naked Basics palette.  No matter the color, you want it to be matte.

A great matte base color will create an even canvas to start your eye makeup. This one is Urban Decay's Foxy. Photo credit: www.sephora.com
Urban Decay’s Foxy eye shadow. Photo: Sephora

Add a contour color in the crease of your eyes, using a back-and-forth windshield wiper motion. I would suggest using your medium color here, such as a cognac or whiskey colored brown. My personal favorites are Saddle or Cork, by MAC.

Take your dark color and add the color with a stamp motion (rather than a sweeping hand) in the outer corner of the eye, working it slightly into the outer crease. Blend softly with a clean eyeshadow brush.

My favorite dark colors in neutral tones are Corduroy (matte), Brun (satin finish), and Mulch (slightly pearl) from MAC.

At this point, if you want to go even darker, you can. Add a little bit of black into the outer corner of the eye, again using a stamping motion as this will press the color directly where you want it, without sweeping away any pigment.

A great black shadow to try is Carbon (intense matte black) or Black Tied (slight silver sparkle), both from MAC.

Okay, now for the pièce de résistance, some sparkle. What glam girl doesn’t love a little sparkle in her step? Instead of using a glitter with large specks, try a more grown-up glitter like MAC Reflects Glitter in Pearl.

The trick to applying the glitter and making it stay put is to first mist your face with a makeup setting spray. My favorite just happens to be MAC’s PREP+PRIME setting spray called FIX+.

Mist your face. While the spray is still tacky, apply the glitter to your inner corner of eyelids, as well as the middle portion of the lid (where the color is your lightest). The key here is to use that same stamp-and-press motion to keep the glitter where you want it. You don’t want to look like a glittery hot mess!

MAC glitter, pearl, reflects
MAC Reflects Glitter in Pearl. Photo: MAC

You can tap a little bit of glitter just under the brow bone ever-so-slightly, but it is not necessary.

Line your eyes as you prefer, even winging it if that is your preference. Don’t forget to fill in your brows to make your face look complete. Try using an angled brush with an eye shadow color two shades lighter than your actual brow color. Brush your arches up and out to perfect the hairs.

Lightly coat your bottom and top lashes with black mascara and apply false lashes in length of choice.  My secret for using false lashes is to use a black lash glue – DUO brand makes a fabulous one. (Read: How Long Lashes Can Help You Win Your Pageant)


I would keep your routine for your skin the same. Use your favorite foundation, conceal trouble spots or dark circles, and let the makeup set. (Read: 5 Best Full Coverage Foundations for Pageantry)

Contour with a very light hand just slightly on the cheekbone (this will visually lift your entire face), and use your favorite blush on the tops of cheekbones out towards the temple/hairline. (For more contouring tips, read: How to Contour Your Face Like a Pro.)

To keep your eyes and lips the focus, I would use a very natural looking blush. My favorite is melba blush, by MAC.

Since we have sparkle on the eyes, I would still highlight, but with a very subtle product. We just want certain spots of the face to pop when hit with the right light.

Using a fan brush, highlight the tops of the cheekbones, the center of the forehead, and above the cupid’s bow. Try a great drugstore dupe for highlighting, such as Essence Makeup Pure Nude Highlighter (under $5 at Ulta Beauty!).

Essence brand, highlighter
Essence Makeup Pure Nude Highlighter. Photo: Ulta

Once you are done with your face makeup, set with a light dusting of translucent powder.


Red lips scream holiday party!  Now you know why I said keep the eyes to a neutral palette, we don’t want to compete with gorgeous red lips. (Read: How to Find The Best Red Lip Color for Your Skin Tone)

I advise using a blue-based red color, as this will be universally flattering and won’t appear orangey or coral.

Instead of using a lipstick, why not line the entire lip and fill it in with the same pencil? Not only will this keep your color lasting, but the pencil will give a matte finish without drying your lips.

Makeup artist Amy Rene, offered the following advice for holiday makeup and red lips in particular:

“To me, holiday glam is about enjoying the company of others while looking and feeling your best.  A red lip is not only a power statement, but looks great with a sleek simple eye or with something smoked out.  Plus it’s an easy way to go from day to night. My favorite reds are the YSL lipstick in the shade 01, MAC Russian Red lipstick, and the Kylie Cosmetics Mary Jo Lip Kit.  These are all shades of blue toned reds which make teeth look whiter.”

Another great lip liner to try in a blue-based red is the Cherry Lip Pencil, again from MAC (can you tell what beauty brand is my go-to?).


MAC lip pencil
MAC lip pencil in Cherry. Photo: MAC

Step back from the mirror and look at your gorgeous self! Get ready for lots of holiday selfies and perfect Instas, no filter needed!

holiday glam makeup
The final look! Holiday Glam Makeup perfect by MUA Amy Rene. photo credit: Deidra Murphy

Do you have a favorite holiday makeup look?  Leave it in the comments section to share with other readers!

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Which dress do you like better?

2 thoughts on “Glam Holiday Pageant Makeup Tutorial

  1. Meredith looks gorgeous!!! And so does Emerie Jones’ hair and makeup! Thanks for the article!

    1. I so agree with you! I am glad you enjoyed the article.

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