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The 5-Step Holiday Makeup Routine on a Budget

By Katya Bychkova

December 5, 2022

The holiday season is around the corner, meaning tons of parties and gatherings to prepare for. Even if you are not a makeup pro and don’t have a big budget for beauty products, it’s possible to get a holiday-ready makeup look on a budget. Follow this budget-friendly five-step routine to create a berry and gold-toned makeup look for the holiday season.

Step 1: Prep Your Skin with a Tinted Moisturizer

Glowing skin is a half-job done for a holiday makeup look. The idea is to camouflage all the skin imperfections in the most natural way possible without making your face look cakey. A tinted moisturizer or a BB-cream (also known as a “beauty balm”; it’s a light coverage foundation alternative with added skincare benefits) is the best option. These products will provide added hydration to the skin and a more natural coverage than a typical foundation.

Recommended product: L’Oreal Skin Paradise Water-infused Tinted Moisturizer, $13.59 at Ulta Beauty.

Pro-tip: Apply a tinted moisturizer with your fingertips to save time and finish blending with a makeup sponge. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($6.59) is a budget-friendly alternative to a social media-famous Beauty Blender (from $20).


Step 2: Fill In Eyebrows Like A Pro

Your brows have the power to completely transform your makeup look from a casual to a festive one. Perfectly groomed brows add definition to your face and shift the focus towards your eyes. Even if your natural brows are thin, you can make them stand out with the help of drugstore brow pencils. First, brush your brows hair towards the ears. Then, fill in the bottom line of your brow and start brushing the product in an upward movement.

Recommended product: Maybelline Tattoo Studio Longwear Brow Pencil, $9.99 at CVS, comes with a brow brush. 

Pro-tip: To ensure your brow makeup lasts all day, apply a clear gel on top of the pencil, like e.l.f. Clear Brow Gel and Mascara, $5 at CVS.


two fashion models

Step 3: Berry and Golds Eyeshadow Look

During the holiday season, you’ll be indulging in all the delicious snacks and drinks, so it makes more sense to focus on eye makeup as it will stay unaffected. I suggest picking hues of deep berry and gold tones this holiday season that will match so many holiday outfits and stand out in pictures. Maybelline’s The City Mini Palette contains both hues: you can apply a deep purple hue onto the crease, emphasize outer corners with a deep brownish-black shade, and put a gold-tone all over the lid.

Recommended product: Maybelline The City Mini Palette in 460 Gramercy Decadence, $7.59 at Target.

Pro-tip: Always curl your lashes before applying mascara to create a more opened eyes look. Try a customer-favorite L’Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara ($8.99 at Target) that adds definition and volume to your lashes.


Step 4: Use a Cream Blush for a Natural Finish

When creating powerful eye makeup, it’s better to go with a subtle complexion look, so your makeup doesn’t look too bright. For that reason, cream blush formulas work best for a quick and easy application. Maybelline Cheek Heat Cream Blush received raving customer reviews as a lightweight, breathable blush formula that provides a natural finish. You can apply this product with your fingertips and finish blending with a bigger complexion brush or a makeup sponge to ensure no sharp lines between your blush and foundation.

Recommended product: Maybelline Cheek Heat Cream Blush in 35 Berry Flame, $7.59 on Amazon.

Pro-tip: You can also use your cream blush as an eyeshadow to create a monochrome makeup look.


holiday fashion model

Step 5: Pick a Festive Bold Berry Lipstick

There are two ways you can go about your holiday lip makeup: matte or shiny. With the help of NYX Shine Loud High Shine Lip Color, you could use the same product to create either or finish. Apply a colored part of the product to create a matte lipstick look or finish with a clear liquid top coat for a high-shine look. 

Recommended product: NYX Shine Loud High Shine Lip Color in In Charge, $12 at Ulta Beauty.

Pro-tip: Don’t close your lips until the product is completely dry to ensure there is no lipstick transfer to your teeth.

While shopping for your affordable makeup finds at Ulta Beauty, CVS, Target, and Amazon, don’t forget to save receipts. You can snap them with Fetch to earn award points towards free gift cards. Get higher points on select products from the “Discover” page on the Fetch app.

Topics: Amazon, BB-cream, CVS, e.l.f., Holidays, L'Oreal, Maybelline, NYX, Target, Ulta


Katya Bychkova

Katya Bychkova is a beauty and style expert based in NYC. Face mask enthusiast and frequent traveler, Katya is a contributor to top lifestyle publications. She's also the founder and editor of the Style Sprinter blog — a luxury guide to skincare and makeup — since 2014.