'Tis the Season to Shimmer

How to be responsibly glamorous this holiday season

What's in your makeup bag? Maybe since transitioning to parenthood, your beauty routine would be described as minimalist at best. Or perhaps you're like me: Adding colour to my face is still a priority, even though I'm a busy mom. It's a "pick-me-up," every single morning. It makes me feel bright, and helps me LOOK a lot less tired than I FEEL some days. The 5-10 minutes it takes me to take care of my skin and apply a little makeup is my creative outlet.

Regardless of your daily makeup routine, if there ever was a time to add a touch of festive glamour, it would be the holiday season. It doesn't matter if it's a work party, family gathering or school concert. Glitter is always appropriate in the month of December!

In mineral makeup, mica is the shining star. 

In mineral makeup, mica is the shining star. It's the key ingredient that imparts shimmer and an iridescent glow. Mined from the earth, purified to remove heavy metals, and then coated with other clays or minerals, mica is a healthier alternative in cosmetics to synthetic lakes and dyes which are derived from petroleum. One of the concerns regarding mica, is whether it has been mined ethically. In recent years, a concern was raised that mica (used in cosmetics and many other industries) was sourced using child labour.

Thankfully, not all mica mines participate in this practice. In fact, some reputable suppliers operate supportive programs for their workers such as schools, medical clinics and daycares. Ask your makeup brand if they have researched their supply chain, and if they have proof that the mica in their products is produced without child labor. Anything less wouldn't suit the spirit of the season.

The practical question is: How do you add some sparkle, and still keep it classy? When some of us think of "festive shimmer," we conjure up an image of tacky, loud and over-done makeup. This isn't what I have in mind. The general rule of "less is more" is definitely applicable.


Adding a luminous eyeshadow is a great place to amp up the shimmer. Loose mineral shadows are concentrated pigments that will give you the best sparkle for your buck. Shimmering metallics or iridescent pastels are a great place to start. Apply these shadows over your entire lid with a dry brush for a subtle look. Dip your brush into the loose minerals, then tap off any excess before depositing the minerals on your eyelids. Or for a more dramatic effect, moisten your brush with a hydrating toner before applying the shadow. This technique is called "foiling" as it brings out the intensity of the mica.

But wait – the big question! What is the age limit for shimmering shadow? Aren't "mature" ladies supposed to steer clear of luminous eyes, and opt for matte shades?  It's true that the subtle texture of a matte shadow helps to de-emphasize fine lines. However, a bit of luminous, shimmering shadow used as a highlight (inside corner of the eyelids, and a bit on the brow-bone) can really lift and open mature eyes. Save the matte shadow to define the crease of your eye and you will have the perfect balance. 


Dramatic eyes are best achieved with liquid eyeliner, though nothing makes you feel more like a toddler trying to draw a straight line than trying to apply liquid liner! It's tricky; I know from experience. Steady now!

Most people (who come from a background of using "traditional" cosmetics) are accustomed to their liquid liner being waterproof. Since waterproof liquid liners aren't possible to formulate with healthy ingredients, I wouldn't recommend investing in them.

Here are a few alternatives:

1. Find a natural liquid eyeliner. There are alternatives! Most natural liners use non GMO corn or sugar-based polymers in their formulas. They key to applying a more natural formula is to let it dry thoroughly before opening your eyes. The fact that you will most likely be only wearing it for one evening puts the non-waterproof concern to rest. The key is to practice your techniques before you go public.

2. Line your eyes with mascara. You heard me correctly! Take a product you already have in your makeup bag and multitask it. All you will need is a tiny, angled liner brush. Load the (liner) brush, with product on the (mascara) brush, and apply to your lash line.

3. Use a liner pencil. If this is the most comfortable way for you to apply liner, then go for it! Don't be afraid to make the line a little thicker than you normally would for daytime wear. If you have trouble with a pencil-liner sliding off during the evening, then try "setting" it with a matte black mineral eyeshadow. Again, do this using an angled liner brush. Dip in the minerals, tap off excess and apply the powder on top of your pencil liner. Also be sure your lids are free from excess oils before applying eye makeup.

Pure Anada Cosmetics holiday shimmer


Unfortunately, a true, siren red is impossible to create with natural ingredients.

A general rule in makeup artistry is to have only one focal point. So if your eyes are dramatic, keep the lips more subtle and nude. If your eyes are subtle, use that as an opportunity to rev up your lip color. But if you're like me, and think there are too many beauty "rules," then I hereby give you liberty to break them at your discretion!

Red lips are synonymous with vintage and high-fashion glamour. It's a classic. Unfortunately, a true, siren red is impossible to create with natural ingredients. The only possible solution is with food grade (FD&C) dyes. Even though they are approved for use in food and cosmetics, they are controversial since they are derived from petroleum.

With that said, there are some other alternatives.

Lipsticks pigmented with minerals such as iron oxides and mica may not be able to rival the matte vibrancy the lipsticks made with dyes, but maybe that's ok? Toned-down, earthy reds, or shimmering glosses made with iron oxides and mica can be extremely glamorous.

Maybe red isn't your preference. Try a sheer gloss, or a dark cherry shade. Lots of options!

My last piece of advice

Try not to over-think your holiday makeup. Treat yourself to a couple of new products and have fun, not only creating your holiday face but, more importantly, having fun with friends and family. It will be the warmth in your eyes and the smile on your lips that will make you most beautiful.