There isn’t much that makes us envious of a Downton Abbey lifestyle, but having the luxury of all that time to gossip, while getting ready for a dressed-up dinner, does get Team Beauty Bible a tad wistful. Today, we’re meant to squeeze prepping for a party, a dinner (or even just a school play) into a narrow ‘window’ – often as little as 15 minutes, and sometimes five if we’re lucky. But it’s doable – with the right products and the right know-how. And here are our top tips…
Wake up tired eyes with an ice cube. Suffering from under-eye baggage? Nothing works like a couple of ice cubes, wrapped in hankies or Clingfilm and smoothed over the pouchy areas under the eye, always in an outwards movement.
Brush your teeth. It’s one of the quickest lifts: takes a minute, makes you feel ten times fresher.
Reach for the dry shampoo. An absolute godsend for the time-poor. Turn your head upside-down and spritz onto sections of roots. Brush through with a vent brush, and you’ll find that the texture enables you to ‘puff up’ the root with your fingers, which is where most of us need some extra va-va-volume. (Tints of Nature Dry Shampoo is a great option for darker hair tones – 99.5% natural and organic, unlike most.) If your fringe is flat, we love this tip demo-ed once upon a time by our friend John Frieda himself: simply rub small sections of hair between your fingers at the root area to ‘fluff’ them up. Lasts an evening, anyway.
Get the light right. A fluorescently-lit bathroom (or office loo) is a terrible place to apply make-up. Our friend and guru-of-gorgeousness Barbara Daly suggests removing the lampshade from a bedside light, and making yourself up facing the naked bulb, as that’s much closer to reality. (Alternatively, switch your bulb for a daylight bulb – you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.)
Clean up your eyes. One of the best secrets we ever heard for ‘repairing’ make-up to get ready for the evening ahead is to clean up under the eye area with a Q-tip rolled in concealer. It removes specks and smudges, but doesn’t leave skin ‘bare’ – and if you use a light reflecting version, you’ll brighten the under-eye area, too. Add a dark sweep of eyeliner – but forget liquid liner if you’re in a hurry – it requires precision, not a panicked shaky hand and opt for a smokey pencil. Add a touch of shimmery shadow to brow, a smoosh of lipstick over balm, and you’re pretty much good-to-go.
Make-up wise, go for powder textures. Creamy-textured products – which can be applied with fingers, in a hurry – are a boon to busy babes, but if you can possibly find the time, powder textures have greater longevity: shadows, blushers and all-in-one compact foundations are always the best option, if you don’t want your make-up to disappear, Cinderella-style, by midnight. (Be sure to apply powder textures over concealer and/or foundation and powder, not directly onto moisturised skin. They need a ‘canvas’, to glide on smoothly.)
Plump up your lips. Party make-up should be all about lips and lashes, we always think. ESHO Sculpt is an amazing lip-plumper which works almost instantly to boost lip volume (yes, it tingles – but yes, it’s worth it). Lovely and glossy, too – you can layer it over or under lipstick.
Shine up your skin. Now, we’re not really ones for strapless frocks and bare shins at this time of year – but we know plenty of hardy women who like nothing more than showing off some skin, for the party season. What’s essential is to ensure that skin is beautifully nourished and gleaming. Ideally you’d buff skin in the shower, first, using an exfoliator – to get rid of dry and dusty surface cells. But at a pinch, massaging in Dr.Hauschka Rose Nurturing Body Oil will make skin more bare-able. It also creates a great ‘base’ for fragrance to cling to: perfume doesn’t like dry winter skin and evaporates quickly, but this harmonises well with many fragrances that you’d layer over the top.
Drink a glass of water. If you’ve been rushing around, take a minute or two to rehydrate. When we’re stressed, we often forget to drink enough liquid; sipping a long glass of still or sparkling water (before you hit the fizz!) will also help rebalance you mentally, shifting you from pre-party panic to a feeling of confidence that you can walk in and own the room.
So it only remains for us to say: have a wonderful festive season – from all of us at Beauty Bible…