This time around we’re getting beauty truths from Carlene Higgins, a Toronto-based freelance style writer and editor. After 13 years jet-setting around the globe and producing glossy editorials for FLARE magazine as its Beauty and Fashion Director, this mom of two littles knows what it takes to keep up with ever-changing—and let’s admit, tiring—trends.
So we thought it apropos to quiz her on her go-to holiday beauty look. Is it almost-black lipstick? Glitter-ball eyes? “In real life I’m all about keeping it simple,” she says. “I like to play up my eyes because it’s not a look I normally do for every day and I feel like I’m doing something special when I take the time to make them up.”
Her preferred shades: Shades of brown or black. “I’ll go super dark if I really want to go for a sexy look, and I keep the rest of my face subtle. I’ve always been a fan of Bobbi Brown eyeshadows because they don’t go crazy with shimmer. I also like to play up my lashes, but I don’t do falsies. There are so many great mascaras out there now that I don’t need to add anything that’s going to come off as overly fake.”
A ROCKIN’ SMOKEY EYE & A RED LIP REVIVAL
About her devil-may-fete looks, she chooses one standout feature, like smouldering eyes or bold lips, to accentuate and to make them pop, she wants products that really go to work. “I’m always looking for those ‘wow’ results. When I see a clear before and after, those are winning products to me.” Keep scrolling to see what’s made her well-edited list of real-life essentials.
CARLENE’S HOLIDAY BEAUTY MUST-HAVES
“This Tata Harper moisturizer has a bit of a tint—it almost looks like a bronze. It just blends in and just gives your skin a bit of warmth and glow. I’m a pale person and bronzers for me can easily cross that line into looking artificial.
I don’t curl my lashes everyday but it’s definitely something I would take the time to do when I’m going out. This one is from Shiseido, which I love, and they even have a smaller one for the outer corners that really gives you a false-lash look by lifting and opening up the eyes.
Over my blush I use Benefit Sunbeam highlighter; a lovely gold liquid. I prefer it over a powder because it gives a dewy iridescence to the skin and looks more natural. Just do a tiny X on top of both cheekbones with the brush and then take your finger and dab it around. You can also use it on other parts of your face but I like pairing it with a peachy blush for the ultimate candlelit effect.
The Clea de Peau concealer I’ve used for years. I apply it right under my eyes to erase the dark circles. It really does give you that ‘wow’ moment. Plus, it’s important when doing a smoky eye that you conceal any dark shadows or you’ll really end up with a raccoon effect.”
“When I go out, I like to do add a bit of wave in my hair—something I don’t have time to do every day. I used to have a larger barrel curling iron that was for beachy waves but it didn’t work with my fine hair. Just going one size down made with this T3 Curling Iron made a huge difference for me and my hair no longer falls flat. I swear, this was a eureka moment.” HER TIP: “I like to focus my waves in the centre of my hair so I start 3 inches down from the root area and stop 2-3 inches before my ends. It’s a more modern take and gives you these great tousled waves that are a bit more edgy.” P.S. The bag is Balenciaga which she scored during a press trip to Venice.
“I recently went bleach blonde over the past year and I have to remind myself to use a purple shampoo and conditioner. Trust me, it makes a huge difference. It’s on my list of products that really work. I’m a natural brunette so I’m always fighting brassiness. You can use colour-saving and sulphate-free shampoos, but it’s only the purple-tinted shampoos that will keep that white-blonde effect. I use the Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo (not shown) and Conditioner once a week.” Sunglasses, Calvin Klein.
I like the mini version of L’Oréal Elnett so I can carry it in my purse and use it whenever I’m running to an event. My hair has a hard time holding a curl and I definitely need hairspray and this one holds my curls all night long without leaving it crunchy or sticky.”