I love an excuse to get gussied up but I find the application process for some after-hours looks overly time consuming. As much as I love glittery lids and a carefully-crafted smoky eye, for parties and festive looks on the run, all you really need is a dab of colour.
Here are four tools that can take you from zero to glam in no time.
The fastest and simplest way to colour is lipstick. For parties, simply switch up the shade you wear day-to-day: If you always wear rose, then try a plum or cherry; if you always go for nude, try a fire red or bright coral. The right colour is something that you love and that you feel comfortable wearing, and may be a touch outside of your comfort zone. Something new and different worn to a holiday party will give you a boost and help you feel dressed up without taking up too much of your time getting ready.
For those of you who don’t wear much makeup, try a lip conditioner. It’s kind of like a hybrid between a balm and lipstick, with a sheer to medium wash of colour. Lip conditioners are easy to apply, don’t need lip liner, and look pretty. If I’m really in a pinch, I dab a little on my cheeks too. My current favourite brand of lip conditioner is Ilia Beauty. Try a plum like Arabian Nights, or Bang Bang, a cherry red.
Got a little extra time before you dash out the door? Add a little luminizer. Not quite sure what a luminizer/highlighter can do for you? A barely-there swipe on the top of your cheekbones (up toward your brow-bone) lights up your face with a glow that appears to emanate from under the skin. Try a creamy version, like RMS Living Luminizer, for the most natural effect. A soft shimmer is a perfect touch for parties, and will help reflect light in photos.
Layering isn’t just for the cold: Two coats of mascara will help bring attention to your eyes. Add a second layer of mascara before you head out the door for a little more drama. Let dry between coats and comb through with a lash comb, or a wand from an old mascara that you’ve washed and cleaned. If you tend to have a couple of mascaras at hand, do a first coat with a defining formula, and the second with a volumizing one.
Having a few quick beauty tricks at hand can make getting ready for a night out with family and friends a more enjoyable experience. It’s easy to lose ourselves in the bustle of the holiday season, but take a moment to enjoy how you look and try something different – a little gift for yourself.
Andrea Victory is a beauty writer in Toronto.
This article was originally published in December 2012 and was updated in May 2014.