If you read my recent xoJane article, "The Only 10 Christmas Songs I Can Tolerate," you know that I'm not really into the holidays. I find some of it charming--the pretty lights, the boost in people's kindness, etc.--but as an agnostic Ashkenazi (Ashkenostic?), it doesn't take long for me to feel like someone else's culture is being inescapably shoved down my throat.
That's probably why I haven't seen all that many Christmas movies. I definitely haven't gone out of my way to see any in the theaters, and I'm more than likely to skip over them when they're on TV. I've seen bits and pieces of a few--I think I've definitely seen enough bits and pieces of A Christmas Story to count as seeing the whole thing at this point--but I can't remember ever being like, "Hey, what Christmas movie can I voluntary watch all of today?"
But these are Christmas movies we're talking about. They're more or less in the collective conscious, so if you showed me flashcards of stills, I'd probably be able to name the films. That's why I'm familiar with the following beauty looks from Christmas movies, and I actually think my emotional distance from all things Christmas makes me the ideal objective judge to declare them The Best.
(You can tell me I'm all sorts of wrong in the comments, of course.)
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY AS JULIET IN LOVE ACTUALLY
I'm not one to usually advocate tendrils, but I like the way Keira's echo the feathery bits of... feathers?... in her updo. The look would be totally over-the-top if her makeup were bold, but it's super-natural (not to be confused with supernatural): shades of brown for her eyeshadow, and a slightly blusher-than-nude shade of gloss.
A good match for that color: Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Fuller Fig.
QUEEN LATIFAH AS GEORGIA BYRD IN LAST HOLIDAY
Nothing like thinking you're dying to boost your beauty game, right?
Queen Latifah looks flawless here: soft, side-parted waves, matte but glowing skin, fluttery lashes, rosy cheeks, unbelievably perfect brows, and an amazing grape-y lipstick that I'm pretty sure matches some of the sequins in her jacket, AND THAT'S OK.
A good match for that lip color: Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Shiraz. (You thought I was gonna pick something from the CoverGirl Queen Collection, didn't you?)
PHOEBE CATES AS KATE BERINGER IN GREMLINS
Like the previous two movies, I haven't seen Gremlins, but not because it takes place at Christmas. I was scared of the commercials when I was five, and I've been too traumatized to try to watch it ever since.
I kind of want to see it now so I can understand why Phoebe Cates is full on sister-wife chic in this scene. But I have to say, she is pulling off what looks like flipped-up bangs that seemingly go all the way around her head.
In actuality, her bangs are just blended into a rolled-up updo, made even sweeter by little floral hair clips and nude-toned lips and cheeks, the latter of which can be matched with Kat Von D Everlasting Blush in Wish.
ROSEMARY CLOONEY AS BETTY HAYNES AND VERA-ELLEN AS JUDY HAYNES IN WHITE CHRISTMAS
It's totally OK to wear exactly the same makeup as your sister, as long as one of you wears false eyelashes and one of you doesn't, so people can tell you apart. It also helps if you look nothing alike in the first place.
I'm a big fan of the way Vera-Ellen's curls are pulled off her face--I feel like it's a look that could definitely work today, and in far less feathery situations.
What really stands out to me, however, is the soft shade of light blue eyeshadow both ladies are wearing. It's not even in the same color zip-code as the light blue dresses, and yet, it looks totally lovely.
Get a similar shade by using Clinique's All About Shadow Single in Lagoon.
MICHELLE PFEIFFER AS CATWOMAN IN BATMAN RETURNS
OK, so, I've seen Batman Returns. I mean, it came out when I was 13, and seeing Batman movies was just a thing you did as a teen in the '90s.
Michelle Pfeiffer's pale skin and shiny red lips are an obvious stand-out in this look, but I think her unconventional cat eye deserves attention.
First of all, it goes all the way around the eye, looking almost smoky along the bottom lid, partly because the water line isn't lined. It's also obvious that it wasn't a liquid liner but a pencil that was used to create the look. Try MAC Technakohl Liner in Graphblack to attempt it yourself.
ZOOEY DESCHANEL AS JOVIE IN ELF
I think I've seen most of Elf at this point. I'm pretty sure TBS played it several times over the summer, even though it's about as Christmassy as a Christmas movie can get.
Zooey Deschanel's look may not seem groundbreaking, but I love it because it basically shatters her signature look of long, brown hair with blunt bangs and retro-inspired makeup. Blonde, shoulder-length hair and almost-not-there makeup? Oh, Zooey, you're a Christmas Chameleon (which is probably the name of an animated movie coming out next holiday season)!
ANNETTE FUNICELLO AS MARY CONTRARY IN BABES IN TOYLAND
Not only have I seen Babes in Toyland, it's one of my favorite movies; and Annette's ridiculous beauty is definitely one of the reasons why.
Normally a dark-brown brunette, Annette went auburn for this classic (which is never on TV, like, ever). Her half-back hair and adorable bow say 1961, but those bangs say 1991, am I right?
If you're going to try to create that kind of controlled chaos atop your face, you'll definitely need some Elnett to keep your business in place. (Totally didn't mean to rhyme.)
CHRISTINE BARANSKI AS MARTHA MAY WHOVIER IN HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
Christine Baranski's Who transformation was the most subtle of everyone's, and two aspects of the look make it truly inspirational.
First, the lips: Liner was used to reshape them into a poutier shape, going both above and below the natural curves of her lips.
Second: THAT HAIR. Is she wearing presents in the updo? And again, Christmas seems like the time for tendrils.
Is it just me, or would Alle kill this look?
NICOLE KIDMAN AS ALICE HARFORD IN EYES WIDE SHUT
Again with the tendrils!
So, I know that it looks like this is just a casual "I'm just hanging out in my underwear" hairdo, but let's get real. A lot of work when into this style.
You may recall that Nicole Kidman's hair prior to the 21st century was quite curly--much curlier than the above photo shows. Her hair was likely blown straight and then re-curled with a wider-barrel curling iron.
To get this not-at-all effortless look, try the Hot Tools Salon Curling Iron.
CAROL KANE AS THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT IN SCROOGED
Three words: holographic face stickers.
Yes, we could take a lesson in contouring from Carol Kane. Yes, we can envy her fabulous blonde curls. But one thing we can all agree on (but probably won't) is that wearing shiny stuff on our temples should be a thing.
If you give it a shot--and I urge you to, wholeheartedly--I suggest using holographic nail decals like these by NPW.
OK, school me. Which Christmas movie beauty looks did I totally neglect due to my lack of familiarity with the genre?