For almost two years, a jumbo-sized Diptyque candle sat on a bookshelf in my living room completely untouched. I insisted I was "saving it for a special occasion." This, of course, was ridiculous. Life is a special occasion. (And it's nothing if not unpredictable: I finally burned that candle during a days-long power outage.)

Several months into stay-at-home orders, I was reminded of this as my eyes danced over the bright lipsticks and colorful liners in my makeup collection that sat gathering dust. I could wait to wear them for a special occasion — maybe my first day back at the office, or to one of many weddings postponed to late 2021 — but… why? Instead, on a random Wednesday night, I poured myself a glass of red wine and reintroduced myself to my favorite eyeshadow palette. And fire-engine red lipstick and cream blush and a contouring palette. Because even if you have to stay inside, you can still go all out.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't snap a few selfies (I'm a millennial, after all), but that wasn't the point. The point was to delight in the process, to relish in every flick of my blending brush and dab of highlighter. I've always looked at makeup as armor — but it turns out the very act of applying it can be just as empowering as walking through the world with it on.

In the months since, I've taken to pairing loungewear with a swipe of lipstick or a wash of sparkly eyeshadow. Yes, even on days I don't have Zoom calls. In fact, it's usually the evening — once the ping of incoming emails quiets and I find myself aching for a connection to pre-pandemic life — when I find myself carefully applying a cat eye, or swiping on layers of lip gloss. And sometimes I even light a candle to mark the occasion.

So in the spirit of finding joy in getting all dressed up with nowhere to go, we asked makeup artist Maki Ryoke and hairstylist Evanie Frausto to dream up fantastical at-home looks for our February issue. And boy, did they deliver. Scroll down for their inspiring takes. Dianna Mazzone

Not since ancient Egypt has eye makeup been more significant in human life. It is time to get expressive: Render a cat eye in stunning crimson or white like makeup artist Ryoke did. Try NYX Cosmetics Vivid Brights Liner in Vivid Fire.

Prop stylist Alicia Sciberras leaned into our theme of getting creative using what you have at home and turned the leftovers on our set into — pardon the pun — sole food.

Left: Versace sweater. Simone Rocha bra. Acne Studios bottoms. Lelet bow. Falke tights. Tétier Bijoux ring. Chelsea King and Maryam Nassir Zadeh scrunchies. Ottolinger dress. Panconesi and Acne Studios necklaces. Chelsea King scrunchies.

There's a common misconception about dressing up that says doing so immediately precedes another occasion of perhaps greater import, like a charity gala or a niece's birthday dinner. But, good news: You can look great at home for no particular reason! A few repeated applications of gel and a comb make for an elegant, taut ponytail that pairs beautifully with the hair accessory
of the season — the scrunchie, reimagined. 

For the look at left, try L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow in Amber Rush and Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Ginger Spice. Lancôme Color Design Eyeshadow in Clock Strikes 12 and Color Design Lipstick in Afraid Not will help you achieve the look at right.

A wash of shimmering champagne shadow sets a softer backdrop for graphic eyeliner. Choose a lip color not much darker than your natural shade to keep the focus on the eyes. For a similar look, try Dior Diorshow On Stage Liner in Matte White and Rouge Dior Ultra Care Liquid in Rosewood.

When strategically placed, a handful of white elastics can turn a ponytail into a living sculpture. Then it’s all about building bricks, as in a buildable brick-red shade, like Danessa Myricks Beauty Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color in Rootbeer, which looks lovely sheered out on the eyes and packed densely into the lips. Or vice versa. Skip mascara and liner to keep the look fresh. Fresher yet: Trace the tops of your cheekbones with Chanel Baume Essentiel in Transparent.

The next level of mask-wearing: a full-face sock. Which frees you up to cultivate a true halo of curls, floating just beyond the crown of your head.

Liven up fields of gold eye shadow with shocks of blue where you least expect them. (Try using Revlon ColorStay Crème Eyeshadow in Caramel, ColorStay Eyeliner in Sapphire, and Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in Love.) Then add a deep red purse — it goes with everything!

Let frothy spirals liberate themselves into a cotton-candy cloud. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Illuminator in Moonstone and MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Fresh Papaya — applied under brows and glided over lips, respectively — also feel light as air.

Photographed by: Peter Ash Lee. Fashion stylist, Jaime Kay Waxman. Hair: Evanie Frausto. Makeup: Maki Ryoke. Models: Tiana and Bea. Prop stylist: Alicia Sciberras. Details, see allure.com/credits.

A version of this story originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of Allure. Learn how to subscribe here.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

More beauty inspiration:

  • Hunter Schafer's Face Is Her Favorite Sketchbook
  • Pinterest Adds Eye Shadows to Its Virtual Try On Feature
  • How the Pandemic Changed the Way We Dye Our Hair

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