From your imminent Christmas Eve spruce-up to that all-important pre-New Year’s Eve prep, getting party-ready really boils down to looking and feeling the sexiest version of you. Don’t overwork it, says I who can’t abide too much sparkle or shimmer over 45 – be stylish, elegant and easy with it!. Here’s my party evening rundown – it’s pure slummy mummy- ie zero time, but fast! Promise!


Keep things simple: focus on your best feature and run with it.

A Punchy Red Mouth

Now I’m strictly a smoky eyes kinda gal (mostly as I hate my teeth but more on that in the New Year!), BUT…party time is THE best time to do a RED LIP. And the best thing about a strong lip is that it barely needs any other makeup to look its best. Truly, the moment you add even just a liner it starts to look too ‘done’.

+ Steer clear of shiny lips at parties (unless nude), as they go everywhere.

+ Apply like this! Press, blot, press and ‘matt it’ right into your skin, so it looks like a majorly enhanced version of your own lips. This way we can all venture into wearing red. When it sits on your lips in an obvious layer, that’s super ageing, as with all makeup, past 45 btw!

+ Opt instead for one of the latest velvet matte textures that are highly pigmented so they stay in place longer yet amazingly aren’t drying. NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in Under My Thumb, £23; Diorfic Khol Lipstick in 751 Intense Garnet, £29.50; Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet No3, £28; Givenchy Le Rouge Intense Color Sensuously Mat Lip Color in Grenat Nocturne, £26.50. Match with Orly Just Bitten Nail Polish (see below)

Dramatize your eyes

I promise! Your eyes will look bigger, lashes longer just by doing this. Grab a mega-magnifying mirror and a fab ‘tubing’ mascara that won’t smear whatever you do (I love Trish McEvoy High Volume, £22.50, but also the new Benefit BANG Bad Gal, but not out till Jan). Look down into the mirror and coat your lashes from root to tip focusing heavily on those tiny inner and outer lashes that we so often miss. Use the tip of your mascara to really paint each little lash: you’ll be amazed at the difference.

JUST 10 extra seconds! “Always make time for curling lashes,” says one of my fave make-up artists Claire Ann Ray, “Your eyes instantly look bigger even before doing anything else.”

For an Easy Smoke? Use a creamy long-wear liner such as Hourglass Mechanical Gel Eyeliner, £16 at, or the new Tom Ford Eye Kohl Intense, £27, that both reliably don’t budge after about 30 seconds (so better smudge quick), apply along your upper lash line, blend and smudge out into the corners, creating a lifting, slightly triangular shape. The trick? Get right in between the lashes so it paints the roots so lashes look thicker.

BEST PARTY TOOL? There’s nothing like smudged liner or not being able to get your red lip quite right to hold you up when the cab’s waiting, so keep a cotton bud on hand. Just dip in makeup remover (a face oil or moisturiser will do the trick too) to neaten edges and remove mistakes fast. They’re also rather a fab way of smudging eyeliner and shadow for an easy smoky look rather than using fingers.

Velvet Skin Tricks

From daylight to candlelight, here are my ‘go-to’ skin party pick-me-ups, because when your skin – face and body – looks freshly scrubbed radiant and velvety, that’s all anyone truly notices (unless that mascara truly is smudged to hell of course).

Fastest pick me up ever! In the space of 18 months, face masks have gone from thoroughly underrated to skincare’s ultimate game changer. Transforming your skin in 5/10 minutes or less, the best pre-party, energy boosting masks are creamy, super plumping with hyaluronic acid that halts dehydration and fills out fine lines. My favourites include the lightweight cooling gel Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio Repair Gel Mask in the mask kit, £24 at; the delicate creamy Fresh Rose Face Mask, £48, that suits even the most sensitive skin; or the much-loved indulgent classic Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask, £79.50. Also loving Erborian Sleeping BB Mask, £12, that I’m pretty sure is the formula in their new Glow Sheet Masks in the New Year!

Wipe away those party lines with a power primer such as the brilliant YSL Top Secrets Instant Moisture Glow, £31, that adds a much-needed dewy base for your foundation and prevents it from looking heavy and drying. I love this on top of foundation too.


Add a flash of radiance to the centre of your face simply by using a slightly lighter foundation. Quicker and easier than contouring, brightening the centre of your face instantly helps define your contours (cheeks, jaw, temples) from the fuller parts of your face. Follow with a shimmering highlighter on cheekbones and browbones à la Chrissy Teigen: try creamy Delilah Liquid Gold Highlighter, £28, with your fingertips.

In need of some emergency cover? Just loving the new NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick, £30, on-the-go base stick with a built-in spongy blender the other end.


If you do one thing…

shaping and enhancing your brows makes you look wide awake and ready to play even when you might rather stay in. “Investing just 10-20 minutes to get your brows expertly shaped will help groom and lift your entire face,” says Vanita Parti at BBB. Love the new Blink BBB Browbone Concealer that’s out in Jan. A finishing coat of Browcote Waterproof Brow Sealer, £6, helps maintain all the effort you put into filling and brushing your brows yourself.

Super fast glow…

Quickly wash your face, using Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Foaming Cleansing Wash, £34, then add a couple of drops of oil to your moisturiser to give yourself an extra boost moisture, that stays gleaming even under layers of party makeup. Try Rosehip PLUS Rosehip Oil, £10, enriched with vitamins A, E and the antioxidant lycopene.

Seriously speedy coat…

For fingers & toes, Orly Velvet Dream nail lacquer collection, including Just Bitten, Black Cherry and Velvet, £65.70, just has this brush that literally covers virtually the entire nail in one swipe.


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