Certain occasions call for a slightly more glamorous look than our standard makeup routine, but adding a bit of drama or boldness can be intimidating to a cosmetics novice. To help us amp up our look for a special night out, we asked Katie Cotton, makeup artist and owner of Greenville, South Carolina-based Cotton Rouge and Company, to share some pointers on how to up your glam factor in a few simple steps. “I love it when my clients venture out of their comfort zone and go a little bit bold,” she says. “But my number one rule is to choose one: your eyes or your lip. You can’t wear both, or you’ll end up looking like a teenager.” Here are her five tricks to achieving accessible evening-out makeup:
Embrace a red lip. Think you can’t wear a bold lip color? Not so, says Cotton. “The trick to determine which shade of red lipstick is perfect for you is to think about which jewelry looks best on you,” Cotton says. “If you look best in gold, then you’re warm-toned. If silver is your thing, then you’re cool toned. If both work for you, then you’re a neutral.” When selecting a lip color, keep in mind that a warm red has more orange tones and a cool red has more blue tones. For universally flattering reds, Cotton recommends Ruby Woo from Mac, which is a true red, or Firey from Stila, which is a great long-wear matte. Pair this look with a neutral eye shadow and mascara, or try a fake eyelash (more on that later).
Shine on. Adding a bit of shimmer on your eyelids is an excellent way to complement a glamorous look, according to Cotton. “Just be certain you don’t apply it to your entire eye area,” she advises, noting that you just want it on the ball of your eye. Her jewelry-themed rule for picking a hue applies here, too: go with gold, silver, or, if you’re neutral, champagne. To apply, sweep on the shimmer shadow with a brush and then pat it directly onto your lid with your finger, pressing the shadow into place. “The oils in your finger will help it pop,” Cotton says. In terms of go-to products, she recommends Inglot and Natasha Denona shadows. And remember, if you’re making a statement with your eyes, you want to keep your lips neutral; for a little shine, Cotton recommends Marc Jacobs Beauty lip gloss in Enamored, while her go-to neutral matte is Patina by Stila.
Try a fake eyelash. “A big evening out is the perfect excuse to try fake eyelashes,” Cotton says. “They give you an arresting, bright-eyed look.” While you can find lashes at most beauty stores, Cotton recommends her Cotton Rouge brand of lashes, which she says look natural and are easy to work with. Here are her application techniques:
- Assess your faux lash width—you want to make sure the lashes don’t go beyond your real lashes. If they do, give them a trim.
- Apply a thin line of glue (Cotton prefers Ardell Duo Lash Adhesive) to your lash line and wait 10 seconds for it to become tacky. While you wait, wiggle the strip of lashes back and forth between your fingers.
- Tilt your head back and look down at the mirror so that your eye is almost closed, which will extend your lash line while allowing you to still see what you’re doing.
- Press the lashes onto your eyelid, and voila—you are instantly more glam!
Wing it. A big trend right now, winged eyeliner can add drama to an otherwise neutral look, or you can pair a toned-down version with a bold lip. Cotton achieves her best results using a felt tip black liner (she recommends selecting one from Stila or Tarte). To apply a clean line, she recommends turning the eyeliner on its side and using it like a stamp, pressing along your lash line as you go.
Finish like a pro. According to Cotton, using a highlighter to create a finishing shimmer is a tastefully festive way to top off your makeup. When choosing a product, look for one that will give you a gorgeous sheen with no harsh, glitter flecks. If you go with a liquid highlighter (Cotton prefers Becca’s version), apply it with a sponge or with your fingertips right along the top of your cheekbones and above your lip, after you’ve applied your blush and lipstick. If you opt for a powder (Cotton likes the one by Make Up Forever), apply it to the same spots using a fan brush, which she says will help you blend the product and allow you to control how much and where it’s applied.