These Valentine’s Day Makeup Looks That Are Far From Cheesy

If Valentine’s Day were a person, we’d hate-follow it on Instagram. Between the wave of Victoria’s Secret sale emails and romantic-comedy tropes, it’s hard to feel good on February 14 if you don’t have someone special to spend it with.

Even so, a lot of us do make plans on Valentine’s Day, whether we’re in committed relationships or not. No matter the plan — a date with a single friend, drinks with a blind date (organized by a nosy coworker), or home-cooked dinner with your live-in S.O. — we like to start the night with our makeup.

Now, “date makeup” is the kind of B.S. we don’t buy into; however, it’s no secret that putting on a sexy red lip or sultry cat-eye makes us feel confident and powerful. So, why not try an empowering look on the one day a year Hallmark tries to make us feel otherwise? Just think: You’re doing it for yourself — not the person sitting across from you at the table.

Just in case you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of the best makeup looks worth trying on Valentine’s Day — or, really, any day.

Matching your makeup to your pre-planned ensemble makes getting ready that much easier — but you can’t copy Kendall Jenner’s look without topping off your neutral lip with an iridescent gloss that’s sure to catch your date’s eye.
Despite common misconceptions, red lips are perfect for date nights — just make sure you find a long-lasting formula that can survive dinner, drinks, and a makeout sesh.
Pink cheeks, lips, and lids — plus lots of mascara — makes for the sweetest makeup look, ever.
Want something that’s bolder? You can’t go wrong with a smoky cat-eye for a sultry stare.
Gemma Chan’s just-bitten pink lip is an essential for the plans that skip dinner and go right to dessert.
A peachy lip and subtle smoky eye look pretty during the day, but downright magical by candlelight — at least, according to Rowan Blanchard.
An all-pink makeup look feels less cheesy if it’s inspired by the decade of free love. Ash Walker kept it simple with mascara, a shimmery shadow, and Glossier’s fan-favorite gloss.
Or take a bolder approach with a jet-black eyeliner and nude lip.
Ditching dramatic lashes for a soft, monochromatic eye and lip duo never seemed so good until we saw Angela Sarafyan try it.
Sure, we love a dark lip all on its own, but pair it with a negative-space silver eyeliner and you’re that much closer to being Beyoncé (with your very own private photographer/ Instagram Husband).
Copy Priyanka Chopra’s standout look and wear violet tones on your lids and lips. The color may seem intimidating, but it’s actually super-flattering on almost all skin tones.
Shimmery rose-gold eyes, dewy skin, and a demi-matte lip — we’ve loving makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes’ contrasting textures in this look.
A swipe of pink underliner spices up an otherwise no-makeup makeup look on blogger Zolee.
Kate Bosworth let her expertly-applied red lipstick take center stage by pulling her hair back in a tight updo.
Pair a bold lip with a soft, barely-there eye like Yara Shahidi. Simply grab your favorite eyeliner pencil and apply it close to your lashline. Then, use a smudge brush or your finger to lightly diffuse the color.
Use the occasion as an excuse to finally whip out that bold jewel-toned eyeshadow you bought on a whim and haven’t attempted to wear out yet.
Tap into your vampy side with a deep aubergine lip and blinding inner-corner highlight à la model Duckie Thot.
This look combines three of our favorite trends: eye gloss, pink shadow, and inner-corner strobing.
A hardcore makeout session will only make this punk look even cooler.
Lily Collins’ dusty lilac eye may be simple, but it packs a romantic punch when paired with soft waves and a pale pink lip.
Tired of all the pink and red? This smokey halo eye is perfect for a night out.
There’s no time like a date to break out the blotted lip. Even if you don’t snag a first kiss once the night is over, at least your wine-red lipstick will make everyone think you did.
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