The Unconventional Guide to a Perfect Holiday Glow-Up

holiday glow-up

‘Tis the season! If you’re anything like me, you’re probably comfortable in your sweats all winter long. However, with the holiday season kicking off, dressing up is inevitable so you might as well beat those winter blues with some color-popping changes for that perfect holiday glow-up.

Brown Girl Magazine has always had your back when it comes to holiday listicles. Having said that, we understand how it can get boring to read the same old recommendations, year after year. Hence, we decided to spin things a little bit and bring you a list of products that aren’t all twinkle, twinkle, sparkle and shine…but still lend you that perfect holiday glow-up for a lasting impression. Keep scrolling to find out what we have in store.

[Read Related: The Budget-Friendly Beauty Guide you Need This Spring Season]

First things first, winter skincare is just as important as any other seasonal routine — perhaps even more. Dullness and dryness are frequent complications experienced by many in these cold months. Whether you have oily, dry, or combination skin, we’ve got you covered!  

Soak Up That Oil


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Aavrani Purifying Oil Cleanser

Daily makeup rituals during the busy holiday season can be a cause of concern for oily skin. South Asian brand Aavrani’s Purifying Oil Cleanser, with its natural ingredients, is a godsend! We suggest you give this one a go to keep a grip on those oil levels.

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

If you have acne-prone skin, try not to use benzoyl peroxide because it is very drying. Use salicylic acid instead! It is quite possible to develop acne at this time of the year when your skin tends to be drier because your sebaceous glands are producing sebum as we speak! Paula’s Choice Liquid Exfoliant is a cult favorite. Just leave it on and exfoliate in the safest way possible. 

Beat The Dryness

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser


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Shall I say more? CeraVe is one of the most loved drug-store brands. The hydrating cleanser is sure to take all of your makeup off and leave it feeling super moist, even if you have dry skin! 

Curology Lip Balm

Lip balm is just lip balm, right? Take it from me, it is crucial to find a good lip balm for dry, cracked lips for smooth lipstick application. Plump up those gorgeous lips for the holiday glow-up you’ve been striving for and try out Curology’s lip balm (PS: They have a 30-day free trial). It is not only vegan and cruelty-free but also keeps lips hydrated for a long time. 

Universal Skin

First Aid Beauty Cream Cleanser

Be it winter or summer, the First Aid Beauty Cleanser should be a staple in your vanity. It’s gentle and perfect for all skin types. 

SuperGoop Unseen Sunscreen


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Sunscreen is vital all year round. Even when the sun sets earlier in the winter months, your skin needs protection from UV rays. The SuperGoop Unseen Sunscreen doesn’t leave an unwanted white cast and wears velvety smooth under all that makeup.

Some natural tidbits:

  • Mix ghee with coconut oil and apply it to keep your skin hydrated.
  • Use rose water as a toner at all times during winter months.
  • Massage aloe vera onto your skin three times a week for moisture.

Matte Eyes

All that glitters is not gold. Steer away from glitter this season, and embrace a matte finish to let your outfit steal the show. Matte eyeshadows are all we need to enhance our natural eye shape and color. Here are two brown-girl-friendly eye shadows that aren’t shimmery or shiny, but will still give you the holiday glow-up you’re aiming for!

NYX Eyeshadow (Nude matte: Dance the Tides)

NYX’s matte eyeshadows remind me of Huda Beauty’s nude and brown matte shades. They are rich and pigmented, and smooth to apply. Yet easy on the pocket. Above all, they are readily available. Needless to say, they are a great pick to create a neutral holiday look — just throw on a comfy sweater and blend in that eyeshadow.

MAC’s Pro-Longwear Paint Pot Eyeshadows


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One brand name I can’t leave out when it comes to listing my favorite beauty products is MAC. Even with the advent of a plethora of luxurious beauty brands, I am like a magnet when it comes to MAC products. As an 18-year-old, I used to adore the pigment of their products, and even to this day, I strongly feel their paint pot eyeshadows are an amazing pick for a classic matte eye.

Ditch That Red Lip

So what comes to your mind when picturing that quintessential holiday glow-up? Did you just imagine a deep, red lip? Not judging at all! Personally, I love me a ruby woo with a black outfit. But, chances are you aren’t going to be the only one boasting a red lippie at your next holiday party. Dare to stand apart and go for a subtle shade!

MAC (Come Over)

This shade screams winter wonderland. Go lighter on the lips and have an icy look with this warm, creamy, semi-matte lip shade, suitable for all skin tones. 

Live Tinted Huestick in Intent


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Live Tinted products are a no-brainer. South Asian-owned? Check. Brown girl-friendly? Check. One stick that does it all? Check, check, check. 

Crease Me Bright

If there’s one look that’s taking social media by storm, it’s the color-popping eye look. Hues of hot pink are bound to let you dominate the holiday party, any day. Splash some pink, green, or blue eyeliner to add a fun contrast to your entire holiday OOTD. 


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If you are looking for brands with a strong pigment, make sure you test these out ASAP:  

Kulfi Underlined Kajal Clean Waterproof Long-Wear Eyeliner

Try the shade Daydream, part of the “Ocean” pack that consists of cooling tones. Or embrace your holiday spirit with greens and reds with the “Earth” bundle.  

Sephora Ultimate Gel Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil

The OG, Sephora, has a collection of must-have products. We all know about long-lasting eyeliner with the best precision brush. However, this eyeliner pencil deserves an equal amount of praise and is available in colorful shades. 

Nails, Nails, Nails

A head-turning holiday look is incomplete without the perfect nails to go with it. And they don’t necessarily have to be super-glam, heavily metallic and extra long. Here are three minimal, yet statement-worthy ways you can make your nails stand out, this holiday season. Screenshot your favorite for your next nail appointment!

Hailey Bieber’s Donut Glazed Nails


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This holographic technique is all over social media and for the right reasons. It amplifies your ski princess vibe, perfect for the colder temperatures, without looking OTT or tacky.

Minimal Pearl Nails

Do you enjoy a bit of nail art? Keep it elegant and classy by adding a pearl, or two, over a simple top coat. 

Oval Thin Tips

Fine detailing, sleek finish and stylish — in short, basic never looked this good. Period.

Blush Power

Now, let’s get to my favorite part of the entire makeup routine: the blush. Essential for that “I am cold” makeup look, try these shades out for yourself. 

Kylie Pressed Blushed Powder

It’s long-lasting and long-wearing with the perfect matte yet vibrant finish for the holiday glow-up you need, this season. Personal recommendation — ‘336 Winter Kissed’ is the perfect shade to wear this winter. 

Rare Beauty Blush


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Liquid blush isn’t easy to wear but this one has a growing fan base amongst brown-skinned beauties. It’s velvety smooth and super pigmented. The shade Joy is your best bet!

Show-stopping Hair

And it’s time to end the holiday routine with a cherry on top — a good hair day. 

A Voluminous Blow-Dry

We thank the trend gurus for bringing this ’90s hairstyle back into the game. Volume and a good bounce are all we need to complete our holiday look.

A Sleek, Pulled-back Hairdo

Take a cue from the incredible Meena Harris for this one. Be it a holiday party or a GNO, a sleek up-do won’t ever let you down. And while you are at it, maybe add some dainty pearls or rhinestones or top it up with a plaid or velvet headband for a real, show-stopping moment. 


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[Read Related: 10 Clean Beauty Products That’ll Have you Winning on Earth Day]

Before you ring in the new year, see what tips/products work for you! It is usually not a bad idea to experiment once in a while — the holiday season is the prime time for it. We recommend keeping things minimal, classy and elegant for that perfect holiday glow-up. Happy holidays!

Photo Source: Shutterstock

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By Shezda Afrin

Shezda Afrin is an aspiring physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of four, it was quite normal of her … Read more ›

Ankush Bahuguna: “My Favorite Makeup Hack is to Underpaint”

If I DM my friends a bunch of videos on any given day, one of them is almost always an Ankush Bahuguna reel. When I first stumbled upon his content, I saw him as an actor and a comedian, lifting our mood up during the lockdown one video at a time. However, his day-to-day content is more than just that — Bahuguna is changing the landscape of the beauty industry by making (and holding) space for men who aspire to be makeup artists and who have a passion for all things beauty.

[Read Related: The Art of Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes]


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Content creator, makeup enthusiast, actor: Which title do you resonate with the most? And, why?

A creator is the word I’d resonate with the most — that’s what got me here — creating comedy, creating beauty content. Even as an actor, I’m very collaborative. I tend to weave nuances around a character and make it my own. I believe, no matter what you do, your work should be unique to you and that can only happen when you build it up yourself.

How did “Wing it with Ankush” come about?

Till three years ago, I used to work for a media house that had a whole team of stylists and MUAs working on every shoot. So when the world went into lockdown, I realized I would have to don all those hats myself. I used to [regularly] shoot videos with my mother and she didn’t know anything about makeup either. So I had to try my hand at it — I would do her makeup and we’d shoot videos together. Soon I realized how much I enjoyed learning a new skill from scratch. I used to paint as a kid, so makeup just somehow made sense. It felt like even though I had a whole lot to learn, it came naturally to me. I decided I would journal these experiments [on] a ‘secret’ page called Wing it With Ankush so that I can look back at it five years from now and see what I was up to [during] lockdown. I didn’t tell anyone about it. But people eventually discovered it and there was no looking back!

One word for gender stereotypes?

One word: Ingrained. It’s so deeply ingrained in us that we find it hard to just accept people the way they are.


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How is (or isn’t) India evolving in terms of stereotypes?

We are definitely evolving. It’s a slow process but there’s hope. There’s a long way to go and for starters, I wish people could give non-cis people as much respect, appreciation, and credit, as they give to cis people like me, especially in the beauty space.

Must-have makeup products for men?

Makeup ‘must-haves’ are very subjective across all genders. Some people can’t do without a full face of makeup, while others could care less. I feel nothing is a must-have. [D]on’t wear makeup because you feel you need to, wear it only if it makes you feel good. My must-haves would be a color corrector, concealer, and powder.

Favorite makeup hack ever:

My favorite makeup hack is to underpaint. Apply bronzer and blush before your foundation. It’s so much more natural looking.

Let’s talk about your career in entertainment. What does comedy mean to you?

Comedy is a defense mechanism for me. It’s also self-expression, to be honest. That’s how I go about my day — finding humor in mundane things. Comedy is how I see life.

Beauty Influencer Of The Year Male (Popular Choice) — Ankush Bahuguna! Congratulations! You left your audience with these words in your Instagram post: “There’s always been too much self-doubt and too little self-worth.” How does one overcome that feeling of self-doubt?

As someone who has grown up constantly feeling inadequate, it’s difficult for me to not give in to self-doubt, literally every day. But I guess the idea is to be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to others. If you’ve come this far, you must’ve done something right. Right?


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Absolutely right!

We can’t deny that Ankush Bahuguna is going out of his way to put a smile on our faces with his day-to-day content — reels, photos, Insta stories, and more! All while paving a new path for himself and, like we mentioned before, holding space for those who aspire to be them one day. Ankush continues to push the envelope one makeup tutorial at a time, showing the modern world that it’s time to take men in makeup seriously because they’re here to stay!

The featured image is courtesy of Dream N Hustle Media.

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By Shezda Afrin

Shezda Afrin is an aspiring physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of four, it was quite normal of her … Read more ›

17 Ayurvedic Beauty Brands on our Radar Right Now

Holistic beauty trends are more prevalent than ever — that makes ayurvedic beauty brands incredibly sought-after, as well. Do you find yourself asking what your beauty products are actually made of? A lot of us even resort to food products for a skincare routine such as honey for face wash.

The term “Ayurvedic Beauty” is getting more recognition outside the South Asian world as well.

Ayurvedic beauty is coined upon the term “Ayurveda,” which originated in Hindu culture as the basis of utilizing the five life forms — air, water, ether, fire, and earth — to heal the human body.

[Read Related: The Budget-Friendly Beauty Guide you Need This Spring Season]

Ayurvedic beauty brands focus on using herbs and natural ingredients to create their skincare range and consumers around the world are attracted to these natural products.

Scroll down to see some Ayurvedic beauty brands founded by South Asians.

Soma Ayurvedic

Is your skin feeling a little dry this winter? Nourishing your skin with body oil will lend it the right amount of moisture — Soma Ayurvedic’s jasmine body oil can do that trick! Shop the oil, and their full line of products, here.


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Sama Tea

If you’re familiar with author and podcast Host, Jay Shetty, then you may have heard of his tea line, Sama Tea. Herbal teas provide many natural benefits. Has it been a stressful week? Try their lavender rose chamomile tea for some TLC. Check them out here.


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Sahajan Skincare

Know the Netflix show “Ginny & Georgia?” Loved the actress’ fresh-looking skin? Sahajan Skincare is behind that glow! They’re a must-try, featured in both Vogue and Elle India. See their full range of products here.


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Shaz and Kiks

This unique company showcases its brand with an emphasis on ‘holistic.’ Whether it’s bad hair days or excessive shedding, not only do Shaz and Kiks provide the products to help but also break down the science behind the problem. Go on your very own shopping spree by clicking here!


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Looking for accessible ayurvedic beauty products? Look no further! Ranavat is now in Sephora. With a beauty line that covers both hair and skin, there’s something here for everyone. See for yourself here.


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UMM Skincare

UMM Skincare is known for its brown sugar body scrub, made with natural ingredients, and Bakuchi oil known to improve signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. Try it for yourself by shopping here!


Give your skin the best by adding ZAILA to your daily skincare routine! Click here and start shopping!


This brand is all plant-powered, and we’re here for it — you should be too! Check out their full range of products here.

Inde Wild

Are you looking for brown skin-friendly sunscreen filled with nutrients? Look no further. Inde Wild has its very own SPF 50, with natural substances such as liquorice extract and cica, and it’s a mineral SPF suitable for all skin types. See what the brand is all about and shop it here.


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Mango People

I’m always in the market for brown girl-friendly lipsticks, and ones that are made of natural ingredients are a huge plus. Mango People does just this with their unique lipstick colors that suit all brown skin tones. Try them out here!

Kama Ayurveda

Need to swap out your shampoo for something better? Try Kama Ayurveda’s Ayurvedic Hair cleaner, infused with a variety of herbs and pulses with key ingredients like vetiver, tulsi, rose, moong beans, and shikakai. They have a variety of products to choose from so start with your hair and keep shopping for more here!


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Forest Essentials

According to Forest Essentials, night time is the best time for hydration. Check out their night cream, filled with nutrients to enrich your skin. You can shop their wide variety of products here.


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Koppen Ayurveda

A brand made for modern living, their essentials are all worth a shot! Start shopping here!


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Looking for a new face mask to try? AAVRANI has a variety of face masks and explains in detail when you should apply the mask during the week depending on your skin type. Take a look here!


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Plant-based skincare, anyone? Delhicious has got everyone covered, so click here and fill your baskets!


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Pratima Skincare

Just getting into skincare and don’t know where to start? PRATIMA skincare has starter sets, with basics, that every woman can use such as vitamin C serum, essential oils, and collagen creams. Grab yours now by shopping here!


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Fable & Mane

Struggling with hair care recently? Fable & Mane includes various hair oils in their collection that help grow and nourish your hair. Not only that, they have a scalp detox line as well — definitely worth checking out. See their full range of products here.


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[Read Related: 10 Clean Beauty Products That’ll Have you Winning on Earth Day]

In a world that’s becoming more conscious of holistic living, embracing Ayurvedic beauty in your day-to-day is a step in the right direction, and these brands are here to help you get started.

By Hrishika Muthukrishnan

Raised in North Carolina, Hrishika Muthukrishnan spent 18 years thinking there wasn’t much to the suburbs before she discovered how … Read more ›

South Asian Creators Claim Their Space at the Cannes Film Festival

Ever since we can recall, the Cannes Film Festival has been a merger of movies and glamour. On one side, there are hand-picked films — ready to premiere and make their mark in the world of entertainment — and on the other, audiences and paparazzi alike are served epic moments in fashion.

The festival, aimed to preview upcoming films from all over the world, invites a wide variety of guests that span the film fraternity, of course, but more recently, has opened its doors to many digital content creators, including renowned South Asian creatives.

With a more vast guest list comes a more recent debate: Cannes is a film festival and not a fashion showcase. Kickstarting the debate this year was none other than ace Bollywood director, Nandita Das, who in an Instagram post shared:

Sometimes people seem to forget that it is a festival of films and not of clothes!

In short, Das wants Cannes’ narrative to continue to focus on films.

[Read Related: Cannes Film Festival 2022: Red Carpet Representation at its Finest]

But of course, there’s been a paradigm shift in the guest list over the last few years; this shift has allowed talents from various industries — including lifestyle content creators, entrepreneurs, etc., who showcase their work in fashion and beauty like fine masterstrokes — to walk the carpet and represent their craft, making space for others in their industry.

Influential names like Dolly Singh, Kaushal, Diipa Buller-Khosla, and Shivani Bafna — all of whom made a raging impact on the red carpet this year — weigh in on the significance of representing South Asian artists/influencers on the red carpet, and how they feel they’ve been part of this paradigm shift at Cannes Film Festival.

Diipa Buller-Khosla

I believe that each step we take at events like Cannes sends a powerful message of diversity, cultural richness, and artistic excellence. Representation matters, and the presence of South Asian creators on the red carpet at Cannes helps broaden the narrative of beauty, talent, and creativity. It allows us to showcase our unique perspectives, narratives, and contributions, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive industry. By actively participating and making our presence felt, we help create more opportunities and spaces for South Asian creators, encouraging others to share their stories with the world.


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Since 2015, the first time I walked the red carpet, till this year I have always been invited by L’Oreal Paris, one of the main sponsors of the event. It has always been such an honor to be invited to the festival through the makeup brand that I have been using for almost two decades, and, before my social media career began. Personally, I feel a sense of acknowledgment from such a prestigious brand, and its head office teams that sponsor Cannes Film Festival, and value the work I have done and continue to do as a South Asian content creator within the beauty space. Makeup, hair, and beauty will always play a big role within the film industry and it’s something I have always created my content around which is why I am proud to attend.


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Dolly Singh

This is a proud moment not just for me but also [for] my peers and the entire content creator ecosystem given that we have reached such new global stages and presence. Of course, as you said, such film festivals, once considered as an exclusive hub for a congregation of the finest acting talents have, in the last few years, opened their arms to more people from the entertainment industry.

This is not just a sudden phenomenon with a burst of Indian creators at the festival this year but there is increased participation from non-film and non-South Asian celebrities across various spectrums from different sides of the world. Along with the many filmmakers, actors, producers, etc I also met some amazing influencers and entrepreneurs from other sides of the world. It’s amazing to represent India and celebrate and champion the advent of the digital ecosphere on such a prominent platform.

The confluence of actors and creators signified the amalgamation of traditional cinema and new-age digital influence, highlighting the transformative power of creative expression and how festivals like Cannes have become more forthcoming and progressive in their approach.

Cannes, like any other prominent festival, boasts of a red carpet that is synonymous with fashion and glitz, and I wanted to use this opportunity to represent all the amazing Indian fashion designers on the carpet besides, of course, attending the screenings. As someone who is just not an influencer but also an actress, I thoroughly enjoyed all the red-carpet screenings and meeting like-minded film talent from around the world at the event. At some point in the future, I would like to be attending Cannes for a film I’ve featured in.


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Shivani Bafna

Creators are often placed into boxes of where they belong and the rooms they can be a part of. Being on the red carpet dismantles the ideology that there’s a cap on how far we, as creators and as a South Asian community, can go and what we can achieve.

The Cannes Film Festival has always been viewed as the epitome of a glamorous event — everyone who attends looks like they’re living their best lives. I used the platform to share an authentic message of what the experience felt like for me. To represent all of us who doubt our potential, experience imposter syndrome, and are nervous to find their place, yet continue to push through to achieve their dreams!

As the first Indian American influencer to walk at Cannes, I hope I can inspire young women to confidently ask, ‘Why not me?’


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There’s no doubt that the Cannes Film Festival is centered around films, and continues to be a unique space for the global film fraternity to bring their art and showcase their aptitude. But, creators like Bafna, Singh, Buller-Khosla, and Kaushal — a special shoutout to Raja Kumari for being instrumental in paving the way as well — have their own set of responsibilities to fulfill upon their invitation to the prestigious event. Their will to represent their South Asian identities, celebrate their industries, and continue to hold space for their peers makes their presence at Cannes more than just clothes.

All images in the featured photo are from the influencers’ Instagram feeds.

By Sandeep Panesar

Sandeep Panesar is an editor, and freelance writer, based out of Toronto. She enjoys everything from the holiday season to … Read more ›