7 Makeup Looks That Are Always Classy

There are endless ways to wear makeup, and that is all part of the joy of both applying it and wearing it. We've always got our eyes peeled on the trending makeup looks that crop up on TikTok, as well as the defining makeup trends of the year. Experimentation is half the fun, and trying a new makeup look can bring you out of a beauty rut and reinvigorate your makeup bag once more.

However, as trends come and go, there are some classy makeup looks that stand the test of time. Think of the kind of beauty moments that you see time and again on the red carpet. A red lipstick, for example, transcends every decade without looking dated, and there is hue and texture to suit just about everyone. Not only is this look a great option for the evening, but it also works just as well for a statement daytime accent—it's the ultimate French-girl makeup signature, after all.


(Image credit: @michellerosedrumm)

When it comes to classy makeup looks, they usually all have one thing in common. They all all bring the drama to just one feature. A red lip, for example, is worn with barely any other makeup, while a smokey eye looks best paired with a neutral lipstick to balance its intensity. There are also plenty of simple makeup looks that suit for daytime, too, whether it be for work or your weekend.

Ahead, you'll find some of the classiest makeup looks to try, as well as the best products to achieve each.

Classy Makeup Looks

1. Classic Red Lip


(Image credit: @hungvanngo )

From deep berry through to flame red, a bold red lipstick is one of the most timeless of beauty looks, especially if you're looking for a bit of drama for the evening—it's the perfect party makeup look. Red lipsticks usually fall into warm (think orangey reds) or cool undertones (think deeper blue tones). You can find out which one might suit you best by looking at your skin tone; if you have a warmer skin tone, then warm reds will flatter you best. If you have a cool skin tone, then you'll find that those cool-toned reds look great on you. Whether you prefer glossy, satin or matte lipsticks, there's a red lipstick shade for everyone.

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2. Bold Brows


(Image credit: @ninapark)

It's true that brows frame our faces, and a pair of well-groomed and defined eyebrows instantly make you look classy and pulled together. Brushing brows upward and outward creates a lifting effect that opens up your eyes and allows you to see where you may need to fill in any sparse areas. Look for micro-fine brow pencils that deliver featherlike strokes to mimic real brow hairs to make them look naturally full.

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3. Winged Eyeliner


(Image credit: @nikki_makeup)

Known as the siren eye, fox eye or cat eye, this classic makeup look is constantly reinvented. However, the winged eyeliner look remains a beauty classic. It adds definition to the eyes without being as intense as a smokey eye and pairs well with a neutral lip hue or even flatters red lipstick. But it also looks great worn alone as statement, whether you choose a small kitten flick or wing it out. A liquid liner will give a crisp defined line, whereas running kohl or eye shadow along your lash line will provide a softer effect. Choose longer formulas for the best results.

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4. Brown Eye Shadow


(Image credit: @hungvanngo )

A brown eye shadow quad should be in everyone's makeup bag. Neutral tones suit everyone, helping to give natural definition to your eye shape and suiting all eye colours too. Matte brown eye shadow works perfectly for your everyday makeup looks but can be dialled up for evening by upping the intensity of your shades and experimenting with shimmering tones. This makeup forms the basis of almost every classy makeup look.

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5. French Lipstick


(Image credit: @thevisuelofgrace)

French women have a particular way of wearing their red lipstick—wearing it completely on its own. Okay, you might want to apply a touch of concealer or a slick of mascara, but this looks best when the rest of your makeup is scaled back. It's no wonder that the French consider this a classy makeup look, as it's both effortless yet stylish. In terms of lipstick textures, look for lip stains or liquid lipsticks for a budge-proof finish.

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6. Smokey Eye


(Image credit: @kennethsohmakeup)

The smokey eye is a timeless beauty look that we see on celebrities time and again, adding a classy yet dramatic effect for evening soirées. I'll admit that a smokey eye can be a scary look to execute, but you only need a couple of tools for a subtle smoke. A creamy gel eyeliner buffed with a smudging brush is enough to add a smoulder to your eyes, while a few coats of mascara tie it all together.

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7. Dewy Skin


(Image credit: @ninapark)

Healthy, glowing skin is always in. A glowing base provides the ideal canvas for any makeup look but looks great worn alone for days when you don't want to wear too much makeup. Skin prep is a must, so look for skin-quenching moisturisers that leave a dewy finish and light-reflecting bases and highlighters that give all of the glow with none of the glitz. 

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Up Next, I Have Hooded Eyes—a Makeup Artist Just Showed Me How to Do Eyeliner

Eleanor Vousden
Beauty Editor, Who What Wear UK

Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor for Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards for her work on Powder and also contributed to the title winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards.Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career, as well as celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner and her miniature dachshund.