Peanut butter and jelly, Harry Styles and fruit-centric lyrics, cabernet and manchego, Mariah Carey and Christmas… Some pairings in life are fated by destiny. And while Carey is an icon with a capital I 365 days a year, at the stroke of midnight on Halloween night, our perennial admiration takes a quick swerve into a blinged-out green and red Christmas-caroling extravaganza. And thanks to her 1994 hit "All I Want for Christmas Is You," Carey is at the epicenter of our exciting celebration. I mean, you have seen this video, right?!
We're very much into celebrating all of our favorite women and honing in on their super-secret beauty tips, tricks, and product musts (see Katie Holmes, Halle Berry, and January Jones to name a few), but who better to investigate next than the queen of Christmas herself, Mariah Carey? I've been an adoring fan of the singer from the moment I laid ears on "Honey" (ahem, I was four), and my admiration and appreciation for the star have only grown over the years.
Of course, if all my Christmas dreams came true, I'd turn into a Swarovski-bedazzled Mariah at the stroke of December each year, but since that will likely never happen (hey, a girl can dream), I reached out to the star's longtime makeup artist and very close friend Kristofer Buckle to get in on her beauty magic, instead. (Fun fact: Buckle has been at Carey's side since 1997 and is responsible for all of her most iconic beauty moments.) So if, like me, all you want for Christmas this year are some of Carey's all-time best beauty secrets, keep scrolling. Buckle is sharing his top six below!
Secret #1: It's All About Carey's Eyes—Period
"It’s always about the eyes!" Buckle tells me right off the bat. "Mariah’s look is eye-centric… period. I love the Swarovski earth-toned crystal eyes I did for her Magical Christmas Special on Apple+. I glued 50 stones to each eye over a smoky chocolate and gold eye shadow to create a magical light-show effect."
To frame and accentuate Carey's eyes, Buckle uses his own Brow Champion Pomade to sculpt and give a natural lift to her brows. Then, he adds falsies from Stilazzi for her signature flutter.
Secret #2: Lips Are Important, But They Are Secondary
Take a scroll through Carey's Instagram, and you'll all of a sudden realize the singer almost exclusively wears a glossy neutral lip instead of ultra-bright or dark shades. According to Buckle, there are actually multiple reasons behind said strategy.
As we mentioned above, Carey's big brown eyes are the glamorous focal point for every look, so the lips should complement, not compete. Additionally, Buckle says keeping her lips "soft and neutral" is a smart way to frame "the magic that is sung through them."
To prep the singer's lips with lots of shine and moisture pre-lipstick, Buckle reaches for Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant—a cult-favorite multitasker that's beloved by many makeup artists.
To add definition and dimension to Carey's pout, Buckle relies on this lip liner from Chantecaille—always in this hue called Natural.
Psst! This lipstick shade called Bardot is Carey's all-time favorite.
Secret #3: To Keep Makeup Perfectly Set, Add an Extra 50% to Your Normal Routine
"When I have to get Mariah ready for a tour look, I do everything the same times 50% so it will hold up through the heat, costume changes, and lights," explains Buckle. "The goal is to remain picture-perfect from start to finish."
"I love using Decléor's Essential Balm as a moisturizing prep for Mariah's makeup," Buckle tells me.
For a super-seamless base, Buckle uses his Triplicity Foundation on Carey, blending and buffing it into her complexion with a synthetic brush.
To finish, Buckle mists this Power Lock Setting Spray over the completed makeup. (You can use it whenever, but Buckle tells us it's especially clutch before Carey's on-stage performances.)
The goal is for Carey's makeup to stay put, but keeping everything dewy and moisturized is still of utmost importance. To keep his work budgeproof but fresh looking, Buckle uses a sponge to press rose water over the set makeup.
Secret #4: A Darker Shade of Your Foundation Is the Best Contour and Bronzer
"I always use the Triplicity Foundation in a darker shade to bronze and contour Mariah," Buckle says. "So yes, go ahead and buy a few different shades of your favorite foundation formula—you'll get the most blend and finish."
Secret #5: Don't Forget Your Nose
Meaning, you're going to want to hit it with a touch of highlighter and blush for a Carey-esque sculpt and glow.
"I always apply my Light Enhancing Duo Highlighter down the bridge of her nose to give a sculpted look and a little blush in the center of the bridge to give a cute sun-kissed look," Buckle explains.
Secret #6: Carey Loves a "Roasted Cheek"
"Mariah loves a roasted cheek, so I apply a pigmented coral-cream blush on her cheeks before I set her makeup," Buckle reveals. "Then, I'll add more on top after the makeup has set. It naturalizes the blush so that it looks airbrushed and soft."