Dazzle in Three Dramatic & Easy Steps


Have you looked in the mirror recently?  It’s been a scary thing for me since I hit 40 this year.

Since that fateful event, I’ve been running out on my errands without even taking a peek at my (almost!) middle-aged mug.  I’m failing to catch the stray gray hair that has decided to make itself known that day.  And I’m exposing my under-eye circles with reckless abandon, along with my undressed eyebrows and naked lips.

It’s not a pretty sight.

I’ll admit I’m lazy.  I didn’t mean to stop wearing make-up – it just happened.  My eyeshadows and lipsticks are now talking about me behind my back.  My foundation and blush have disowned me.

I am missing every opportunity to add some glam to my everyday life and the people around me.

It’s just me.  And I love me.  But I can’t let this go on all the time.  The holidays are here and I will be parading this face around at parties and festive events.

I need to transform my simple face into a glorious look.  And I am out of practice with holiday make-up techniques.

I’m not one of those charismatic and trendy “no make-up” celebrities who can get away with a bare face when they’re mingling and sparkling their charm everywhere.

Times like this call for a make-up guru.

Lucky for me, I knew where one lived.


Maneesha was once my cake-decorating expert who mastered cake pops as quickly as I ate them.  Later, she became my occasional fitness consultant who introduced me to low-carb protein powder and sprouted bread.

These days, she’s an emerging Instagram and YouCam Makeup Live Caster.

While I admired her perfect Instagram photos, I trusted that she could dial down the glamour to a level that I could achieve.

She set aside a few hours for me before she set up for her live video shoot that day

Self-taught and highly creative, her fantastic journey has not blurred her early days nor spoiled her inner beauty.  She remains humble, family-centered, and kind.

She understood exactly what I was looking for.


What is the one item you can add to your basic make-up routine to add some dazzle to your look? In other words, how do I transform a simple look into casual sophistication?

Here are Maneesha’s top three ideas for charging up your holiday make-up look:

  1. Embolden your lips with a new shade.
  2. Enhance your eyelashes with a good mascara.
  3. Make your eyeshadow stand out from the rest.

I’ll go into more details below for each amazing idea.

IMPORTANT:  Put on your base make-up first.  When I take the time to do my make-up, my base is usually primer, concealer, foundation and powder.

Then, you can choose to focus on painting your lips and keep the eyeshadow neutral. Or wear light lipstick and emphasize your eyes instead.  The mascara works with any of these combinations.

Experiment with the products we recommend below or similar ones that you may find on your own.  And share them in the comments below!


When you’re at a holiday party, you’re greeting everyone with hugs, handshakes, air kisses and actual kisses on the cheek.  Don’t leave your lipstick marks as souvenirs!

Last year, Maneesha introduced me to the world of liquid matte lip products, specifically the affordable variety from ColourPop (they’re $6 each).  It was a breakthrough for me.  Finally, I had a lip product that was highly pigmented and long-lasting.  The best part was that it didn’t transfer – I wasn’t leaving lipstick marks on everyone or ingesting the lip product with every bite of food.  It stayed on my lips until I wiped it off with make-up remover at the end of the night.

However, I found the selection of ColourPop shades to be too extreme for me.  I adored one shade for its mildness and versatility (Stingraye) but they discontinued it.

I threw myself on my bed in utter despair like a Disney princess but it didn’t change anything.  Finally, I found a ‘dupe’ or a similar shade in another brand – Jeffree Starr’s “Androgyny”.

That’s the first lipstick Maneesha pulled out for our holiday make-up glam session this time.  It was one of her favorites too.

She explained that the quickest way for a low-maintenance mom like myself to step out of my comfort zone was to explore plum or mauve color shades. 

One company that exemplifies mom-safe tones like the mauve color line is Girlactik and you can find their product line at Walgreens, Rite Aid and Duane Reade.  Their matte liquid lipstick costs $23 but the shades are unbelievably harmonious and make it easy for you to transition from play-it-safe shades to truly stylish lips.

Take Your Holiday Make-up Lip Color to the next level!
Left to Right: Jeffree Starr “Androgyny”; Girlactik Divine, Demure and Stellar

Start with Girlactik’s “Divine” as your first investment.  Then, give “Demure” a try.  Finally, when you’re ready, step it up and go for “Stellar”.

Here’s a snapshot of Maneesha wear Stellar.


If you’ve decided to try liquid matte lipsticks, here are some tips:

  • You must take care of those lips first. Exfoliate your lips with a gentle scrub.  I didn’t exfoliate when I started using these products and they wiped off too easily.  Once I started using a sugar scrub in my make-up prep, the lipsticks stay on all day.  Of course, they will break down if you eat oily foods.  Perhaps this is a new weight-loss product for me!
  • Add a thin layer of lip moisturizer or oil (almond, coconut or Farsali elixirs).
  • Line the lips with any desired lip liner pencil. This will help prevent the lip color from running.  (Pssst….sometimes I skip this step and it turns out just fine!)
  • Apply the liquid carefully – correct any mistakes as quickly as possible with a make-up removing wipe.
  • For effortless and smoother application, relax your mouth/jaw area (lips opened).  Stretching your lips first may cause lines to show when the product dries.
  • Do not blot lips or apply any product on top of the liquid matte lipsticks; otherwise, they won’t set.

If you’re feeling more adventurous and are on the look-out for the next best thing, try this:  Pinkie Swear Clip Paint.

Pinkie Swear is the coolest new lip line!

Maneesha brought out this absolutely delightful product and it was a wonderful alternative.  These are not the safe mauve colors  but they are highly pigmented, smoother and moisturizing.  They’re like the old click paint nail pens we had when we were teenagers, except that they’re for your lips.  And they smell so good!

Here’s Maneesha wearing a shade called .JPEG.

Be careful when you first start up the fountain of paint to fill the white brush on top – don’t over press the clicker.

And unlike the matte lipsticks, these will stay creamy BUT they will transfer.


I wear contact lenses but there is no way you’re gluing a pair of fake eyelashes to my lids.  But I love the look.  Nothing has bigger holiday make-up impact than a pair of thick, fluttery lashes fanning your cheeks.

I’m always on the hunt for the perfect mascara to create the same effect without sprinkling stray pieces on my cheeks during the evening.

Maneesha recommends four products that have given her spectacular results.

  • Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara ($5) – it has a smaller wand than other mascara but creates a dramatic false lash look with a few coats. For its low price, it’s quickly converting the skeptics!
  • L’Oréal’s Voluminous Lash Paradise (under $10) – doesn’t clump and separates each lash.
  • L’Oréal’s Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt (under $10) – has an interesting brush shape that grabs every single lash. It also tightlines for you so you don’t have to try to do it on your own.  Tightlining is applying eyeliner to the top waterline to add definition to the lashes by darkening the visible space between your lashes.
  • Lancôme Monsieur Big ($25) – it does what it says! The traditional big wand creates a powerful false eyelash look without the hassle.
Mascara that gives you the false eyelash look without the hassle!
Top to Bottom: L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise; Lancome Monsieur Big; and Essence Lash Princess Mascara

As with any mascara, do not pump the wand before applying to your lashes.  This will allow too much air into the container and dry out the formula.  Rotate the wand instead.

She would NOT recommend waterproof mascara – it’s seldom necessary, hard to take off and weakens your eye lashes.


You prefer intense eyes instead of a bold lip color?

Don’t steer away if you wear glasses – every time you blink, your eyes are noticed so dress them up!

Maneesha loves these handy options for adding a little bling to your eyelid:

Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art (under $10):

  • One half is the cream-based shadow and the other end has glitter.
  • You don’t need eyeshadow primer or a base shadow. However, if you have oily skin, a base powder or neutral matte eyeshadow would help.
  • Apply the cream base carefully with the attached brush and blend in with your fingers.
  • Make any corrections/clean-up quickly before it dries.
  • Don’t add the glitter until the cream shadow dries completely (usually under a minute). The glitter can go on the whole lid or the lining of the lid – whatever you’re comfortable with.  Pat it on with the brush or your fingers.  A little bit goes a long way – be mindful of how much you apply so it doesn’t become too chunky or messy.
  • If you want, you can finish the look with a neutral shadow under the brow and in the crease to add depth and contrast to the eyes.
  • Maneesha’s favorite shades are “Peach Prism”, “Burnished Bling” and the enchanting “Midnight Glitz”.
All You Need to Add Bling to Your Look
Top to Bottom: Peach Prism, Burnished Bling and Midnight Glitz

Girlactik Metallic Shadow Stick ($20):

  • Her favorite shade is Glimmer because it’s the most neutral color yet adds the right amount of sparkle.
  • It’s a versatile product – use as a base, cover your entire lid or create a halo eye effect.
  • Check out how she wears it in these photos: Halo Effect and Whole Lid
  • You can even add it as sparkle on top of your lipstick!

So there we have it – you’ve now got some awesome ideas on how to easily add bling and brilliance to your holiday make-up look.  They’re affordable and easy to order online or you can run to your local drugstore.

And don’t worry, I will also be running to the drugstore for my stash– and I probably won’t be wearing any make-up to get there!

22 thoughts on “Dazzle in Three Dramatic & Easy Steps

  1. Those sound interesting. I admit since I stopped working outside the home, my lashes are lucky if they even get to see my mascara wand. I need to get back into my groove!

  2. I wear makeup every day, even if I’m just staying in the house! I just couldn’t face the world without it! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFriday Linky

  3. I’m now following her on Instagram too, she’s gorgeous! I wish I could pull of some of her looks. I haven’t done my makeup (anything other than liner & mascara was out of the question) i years. I am looking for new techniques, so I can feel pretty again. I try to avoid mirrors this year too, my 33rd birthday is Monday.

    1. Happy Early Birthday, Leslie! Her live videos are useful if you have the time – you can ask her questions directly. She’s really sweet and down-to-earth. I broke out my primers and I put on my make-up today and it turns out we didn’t have anywhere to go! I was bummed so I went to the UPS store.

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