Lunar new year is a big deal. Nearly a quarter of the world’s population (that’s roughly 1.5 billion people), predominantly East and Southeast Asian cultures, celebrate the holiday. Also known as the Spring Festival, it coincides with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and marks the transition of one zodiac animal—of which there are 12 total—to the next. This year happens to usher in the tiger, an animal embodying strength, courage, and confidence. Meaning, this year is all about stepping out and taking risks—beauty looks included.
To help get the wheels turning, we rounded up 12 makeup looks that channel the spirit of this year’s tiger zodiac with pro tips from celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman. From bold lips to daring eyes, these lunar new year beauty looks are nothing short of fierce. Keep scrolling for makeup inspiration that celebrates the year of the tiger.
Meet the Expert
- Jamie Dorman is a NYC-based celebrity makeup artist whose clients include Bella Hadid, Anne Hathaway, and Dascha Polanco, among others.
Bold Red Lip
Never underestimate the power of a bold red lip. Not only can it take your look from dull to daring, but according to Chinese culture, the color red may also bring you good fortune (which—if we’re being honest—couldn’t we all use more of)? Here, makeup artist Emily Cheng uses Dior Lip Contour ($31) in 943 and Rouge Dior Refillable Lipstick ($39) in 999.
This year, don’t be afraid to experiment with color and design. “This look adds brightness to the eye with the white dot on the lower lash line while lifting the eye with upward sweeping lines on the outside edges,” Dorman says. “The glowing skin and glossy lip add for an overall hydrated and youthful glow.”
To copy a similar style, Dorman recommends priming the skin with Alpyn Beauty Bearberry Vitamin C Glow Serum ($59) and following with your favorite foundation. “After foundation, add Lys Aim High Pressed Highlighter Powder ($19) for a shimmer on top of already glowing skin,” she says. For eyes, you try a neutral taupe shade and blend it up to the crease. For a fun graphic look, you can use any colorful liner to draw lines on the outside edge of your eye. Dorman likes Lime Crime’s Venus Pigmented Liquid Eyeliner ($18) in Marigold for a graphic lines and the brand’s Baby’s Breath ($18) for the white dot along the lower lash line.
We love a multipurpose product (whether it’s marketed that way or not). Blush, like Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze ($34) in Sunset Strip can be used to color your eyelids and contour your cheeks. The result is this monochrome makeup look with echoes of color and sculpted cheekbones that give off tigress vibes.
When contouring with blush, apply product from the top of your cheekbones towards the temples. For added drama, you can even drape blush across the bridge of your nose.
Jeweled-Tone Smoky Eye
Long, lush lashes will always be high on the list of beauty things we love. Whether you achieve them with voluminous mascara, an eyelash curler, or falsies, a fluttery set of lashes can tie together any face. In this case, you can keep the rest of your makeup neutral, like Carissa Perusse, to keep the focus on your eyes. And, hey, a little shimmer liner won’t hurt, either.
Nicole Kang’s bold cat eye pays homage to this year’s zodiac while enhancing her eye shape. “Winged liner is always flattering to various eye shapes because they make the eye look lifted and bigger,” says Dorman. When creating a winged look at home, Dorman says to look straight into a mirror to plot your wing shape. “This makes sure the lines are cohesive when the eye is open,” she says. “When going for a big cat-eye, it’s important that the end of the tail is very defined and sharp to keep it from looking sloppy. I like a precise liner like Westmore Beauty Wing Effects Liquid Liner ($21),” Dorman says.
Contrary to popular belief, orange is a wearable and versatile lip color. The trick, however, is finding the right shade for your skin tone. Here, Olivia Munn wears a bright red-orange hue—something similar to MAC’s Lady Danger ($30) —that makes a statement without saying a word.
This lunar new year is specifically the year of the water tiger. Consider paying tribute with something blue, like this swipe of turquoise neon eye color. You can try it out quickly with the Dior Diorshow On Stage Liner ($31) in Pearly Turquoise.
You can give your cat eye an upgrade by adding a graphic twist (seen here in Shay Mitchell’s crease). You can customize this look with color and design, making it subtle or bold. However, we’re partial to Mitchell’s minimalist iteration that doesn’t require advanced makeup skills to pull off.
Green might not be your go-to eyeshadow color, but Gemma Chan’s sparkly green moment is convincing. “This green eye look is especially flattering on girls with warm brown eyes,” Dorman notes. You can practice playing with green by lining under your eyes with a bright green shadow, like Nars Single Eyeshadow ($19) in Matcha.
A barely-there makeup look might not be the obvious choice to reflect the fierce year of the tiger beauty, yet it exudes confidence (which is always beautiful). This year, opt for a natural-looking complexion, and if you’ve got freckles, don’t cover them up— embrace them.
There’s a lot about Amy Song’s makeup (done by Patrick Ta) that is chef’s kiss. But it’s quite literally a bold “eye of the tiger” vibe that we love. You can use Anastasia Beverly Hills Chroma Stix Makeup Pencils ($18) to draw on similar orange eye accents and wait for all the compliments to roll in.