There’s no need to wrestle with a bulging make up bag, simply because you’re going out for Christmas drinks straight from work, writes Lisa Botwright. All you need are just a few key products to take you from desk to date in minutes…
If there’s one thing you can certain about at this time of year, it’s that your diary will be fuller than usual. Socialising is a serious business at Christmas, and just as high maintenance as the present-buying and the menu planning. ‘Let’s put a date in for some drinks in December,’ say your work colleagues/book group/mums from school/long lost university friends – and so before you know it, you’re cramming half the contents of your bathroom into your handbag, with the intention of dashing straight from work to give you any chance of meeting by the agreed 7pm rendezvous.
But there is another way. According to top beauty experts, it’s all about ditching the paraphernalia and focusing on the few make up items that you actually need. This way you can streamline your makeup bag, as well as the time you need to spend in front of the mirror.
Firstly, if you already know you’re going out after work (ie it’s not a spontaneous suggestion as the day draws on – and if it is, go anyway, even if you don’t have time to glam up; life is for living), you need to be a bit clever in the morning: at this stage preparation is everything. It’s worth getting up five minutes early to allow you to apply your base more carefully, preferably by using a good quality primer such as Photo Finish Primer (smashbox.co.uk £26) underneath.
“The biggest mistake most women make when bumping their day look into a night look is just applying product on the same makeup they’ve been wearing all day,” cautions American celebrity makeup artist Marianne Meissner – and so it’s better to get your foundation right first time around, thus avoiding any ‘cakiness’ later on.
Apart from that, all you need for now is just a light touch of mascara (pass on the eyeshadow and eyeliner for the same reason), along with your usual daytime blusher and lipstick, and you’re set for the day.
Fast forward eight hours: it’s getting on for wine o’clock. Time to bring out your newly edited kit.
If you’re prone to particularly oily skin, Whitney Coy of sheknows.com has some advice. “[Rather than adding more product], use blotting papers to remove any oils that may have built up over the day. Pay special attention to your T-zone, as these are the areas that tend to build up shine.” Try oil-control blotting paper by shiseido.co.uk £18.50.
Otherwise, use a good concealer for some strategic touch-ups over the areas that are the hallmarks of your long day at work – the redness around the nose, for example, or shadows under the eyes. Clinique’s Airbrush concealer is a superb multi-tasking tool that handily doubles as an illuminator. As well as using it to cover small imperfections, try sweeping it along your cheekbones for a highlighting effect, and dabbing it in the inner corners of your eyes to brighten them.
Now it’s time to add some colour. As Christina Farrell of themakeupblogger.com says: “A few simple steps are all you need. Refresh your mascara, add some eyeliner, a sweep of blush, and a nice, bright lipstick.”
For major impact, be sure to choose a volumising mascara, such as Lancôme’s Hypnôse Drama.
Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge goes one step further and suggests getting in the party spirit by adding some festive sparkle.
A discreet touch of grown up glitter eyeliner, such as Urban Decay’s stunning metallic range, can make all the difference in taking you from professional to partygoer. As for blush, Charlotte Tilbury has just the right product: Chic to Cheek – as easy to apply in the back of a taxi as it is in your bathroom mirror. Her fail-proof Swish and Pop ritual is really straightforward: Swish a large brush around the lighter colour and use as you would a bronzer, to bring a natural glow to your face. Follow with a pop of the brighter colour from the centre of the compact, to the apples of your cheeks.
Using the right brush can make all the difference and there are some great, compact retractable options on the market, such as the Too Faced Kabuki brush (£30 beautybay.com). Choosing a retractable brush means less mess, and, of course, is also much more hygenic, as the bristles won’t get squished up in your make up bag.
Never underestimate the power of lipstick to complete your look. As Gabriel DeSantino, founder of gabrielcosmeticsinc.com, says, “switching to a bolder lip colour is a quick and easy way to transition from day to night.” And if you’re going to pull out a lipstick at your desk or in the back of a taxi, make it an elegant one. I particularly like the Rouge Allure range, which has some stunning shades to choose from, all encased in the swoonsome, signature black packaging of Chanel.
Makeup suitably fabulous, the only thing left is to indulge in a quick spritz of perfume. Carefully chosen, it can set the whole mood of your evening, making you feel wonderful before you’ve even left the office. Sisley’s latest offering, Eau de Soir, has the perfect name and smells delicious: fresh – but with just the right ‘night-time’ balance of amber and musk. Taxi!