4 Red and Gold Makeup Looks to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

Growing up in New York City has given me such a hands-on love and appreciation for different cultures — I realize how much of my upbringing was influenced by the diversity that surrounded me. My local landscape included small businesses owned by families that had immigrated from all over the world, and many came from Asia. These families were part of my daily life; in New York, communities seem to be organically infused with one another, which is something I really never thought about until I moved away.

When I worked at the Bronx Museum (their collection consists of contemporary Latino, African American and Asian art), I was able to further delve into the richness and beauty of Asian culture, primarily Chinese culture. I saw the world through the eyes of the artists; I saw their struggles, their triumphs, and their celebratory moments. Up until this point, I had only been somewhat familiar with the historical images of Chinese women and men draped in beautiful garments with faces painted in hues of red, white and pink — I never knew that it originated with Chinese Opera and that it was used to celebrate Chinese New Year. As a girl, I also knew I was born in the Year of the Ox (and found that quite fitting for my strong-willed personality), but it wasn’t until my museum career that I found myself celebrating two new years with so much enthusiasm and passion. Tying it all to art and history really made it that much more special to me.

We are now entering the Year of the Horse, which is supposed to bring lots of luck and smoothen out the kinks brought to us by 2013, the Year of the Snake. If you’d like to join in on the Chinese New Year celebration this January 31st, here are four simple looks you can achieve inspired by  traditional Chinese colors, red and gold. The color red symbolizes luck, while gold is the color of wealth and happiness. You can’t go wrong with that!


  • Red and Gold for Luck and Wealth 1 of 9

    Have some fun and add a bit of wealth and luck into your beauty routine for the new year!

  • Pink and Gold Eye with Red Lip 2 of 9

    In traditional Chinese Opera makeup, you will see pink eye makeup from blended red and white face paint. But it's also a pretty eye color for spring. Combine it with a red lip for night or a nude gloss for day!

  • Pink and Gold Eye with Red Lip: Get the Look 3 of 9

    Face: Before applying your foundation, use your favorite primer to make sure your makeup goes on smoothly. I used Neutrogena's Shine Control liquid foundation and powder for long-lasting wear and great coverage.


    Eyes: I used Mary Kay's Mineral Eye Color in Gold Coast and applied it on the inner corner of my eyes and lids. I gently applied Urban Decay's Saturated Deep Pink Shimmer starting with a thin line at the middle of my eye, brushing toward the outer edges and blending it with the gold. On the outer edges of my eyes, I dabbed Sephora's Cold Red and blended it with Saturated Deep Pink Shimmer to create a smoky look -- gold to pink to red. To make my eyes a bit more dramatic while still keeping the palette light, I used Mary Kay's Cinnabar on the outer edges and creases. I added a thin line on my top lid with Bobbi Brown's black gel liner. I finished my eyes with Cover Girl's Clump Crusher mascara and colored in my eyebrows with Anastasia's Duo brown eye shadow.


    Blush: I swept my blush up to my temples with Bobbi Brown's Blush in Sand Pink.


    Lips: I tried this look with a soft pink gloss and really liked it. It works well for the daytime. For night, grab a sexy red like Chanel's New York Red and set your look with their loose powder!


    1. Chanel New York Red, $34.00

    2. Cover Girl Clump Crusher Mascara in Black, $5.31

    3. Bobbi Brown Blush in Sand Pink, $25.00

    4. Anastasia Duo Brown Eyeshadow, $23.00

    5. Urban Decay Saturated Deep Pink Simmer, $18.00

    6. Sephora Matte Cold Red Eyeshadow, $21.00

    7. Mary Kay in Gold Coast and Cinnabar, $7.00

    8. Chanel Loose Powder, $52.00

    9. Neutrogena Shine Control Foundation, $12.99

    10. Bobbie Brown Gel Liner, $24.00

  • Chinese New Year-Inspired Nail Art 4 of 9

    Red and gold are the colors of luck and wealth. Add a beautiful floral design or New Year's fireworks.

  • Chinese New Year-Inspired Nail Art: Get the Look 5 of 9

    I only have one nail design on each hand for two reasons: A hint is enough for me and my hands get way too shaky when attempting full hand designs. Most of all, I just like the way it looks.


    Color: Choose your favorite red nail color -- the brighter, the better. Apply two coats to make sure you get the best of your red. Let it dry for about 20 minutes.


    Floral: The design sort of resembles a cherry blossom, but it's a bit more generic to look a like a combination of flowers (the flowers typically used for Chinese New Year are plum blossoms and azaleas). To create, use a brush or nail color specifically designed for nail art. These brushes are thinner and longer, and much easier to control for very intricate designs. Draw a very simple bark with a few branches in black. Keep your wrist and hand very loose. Dab dots on your nails in yellow for the petals. Fill in the center of your petals in gold.


    Chinese New Year fireworks: This one is a little trickier. It's a mix between a banner and fireworks; I've seen the design before and really admired it. Color in your horizontal lines in black and cut across with another thin black line. You can leave it like that or add a few flowers in yellow and gold or just add gold for a fireworks effect.


    1. Art Deco Nail Polish, $1.49

    2. OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red, $6.39


  • Red and Gold Makeup and Nails 6 of 9

    Match your nails and makeup. There's nothing like a classic red lip look, but you can take it to another level with a dramatic cat eye.

  • Red Makeup and Nails: Get the Look 7 of 9

    Skin: You really want your eyes and lips to pop, so use a primer to make sure your skin looks flawless before applying your foundation.


    Eyes: Use whichever liner works best for you: Gel, liquid or pencil. I used a liquid for my top lid and gel for the bottom -- no eyeshadow for this one. Finish your eyes Cover Girl's Clump Crusher mascara in black.


    Blush: For this look you will want to use a very light blush, like Bobbi Brown's blush in Sand Pink.


    Lips: Pick a bold red to go with your nails. However, keep in mind that not all red fits all. Pick a red that works well with your skin tone. I used Revlon's matte lipstick in Love That Red.


    Nails: Follow the steps from the previous slide. And done!


    1. Anastasia Duo Brown Eyeshadow, $23.00

    2. Bobbie Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black $24.00

    3., 4., 5. Art Deco Nail Polish, $1.49

    6. Revlon Love That Red Lipstick, $4.99

    7. OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red, $6.39

    8. Cover Girl Clump Crusher Mascara in Black, $5.31

    9. Neutrogena Shine Control Foundation, $12.99

    10. POND's Luminous Finish BB+, $9.99




  • Red Eyeshadow 8 of 9

    This look was popular on the runways a couple of years ago. It's a lot of fun to recreate, but is certainly not for everyone; it's a bit on the edgier side. However, to celebrate the new year? It's perfect!

  • Red Eyeshadow: Get the Look 9 of 9

    Skin: As with the previous looks, make sure your face is cleansed and moisturized before applying your foundation. You want to have a very clean look.


    Eyes: The cool thing about just using the red eyeshadow alone is that you can play around with creating different shapes. You can also add a faint line to your bottom lid for extra drama. After applying my red shadow, I added a thin black line on my upper and lower lids using Bobbi Brown's gel liner instead of a liquid because I wanted the line to be smooth and soft. I finished my eye with mascara. It's actually very simple -- the red is enough. I really wasn't going for multi-color look with dimensions like I did in the first slide. To top it off, I lightly colored in my brows for a more polished look.



    Cheeks: Keep it light. I used Mary Kay's Sheer Bliss.


    Lips: Since this is all about the eyes, I suggest using a sheer gloss with a pinkish hue.


    1. Bobbie Brown Black Gel Eyeliner, $24.00

    2. Mary Kay Cream Blush in Sheer Bliss, $14.00

    3. Victoria's Secret Shine Drama Lip Gloss in Wet, $12.00

    4. Neutrogena Shine Control Foundation, $12.99

    5. Cover Girl Clump Crusher Mascara in Black, $5.31

    6. Anastasia Duo Brown Eyeshadow $23.00

    7. OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red, $6.39

    8. Sephora Eyeshadow in Cherry On Top, $13.00

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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