If you’re anything like us, you’re feeling slightly time-poor right now, between the writing of the Christmas cards, the ordering of the turkey, and the three-line whip to attend the annual vodka-sodden office knees-up.
So yes, we’d l-u-r-v-e an hour to prep for a party or go for a spa treatment – but it ain’t going to happen. So this month, we thought we’d share some of the best beauty quick-fixes we’ve ever learned. You shall go to the ball – and it really doesn’t need to take long to get ready.
Fluff up flat hair fast. This is ridiculously low-tech and simple – but it works. Our old friend John Frieda taught us this trick, and we do it whenever the oomph’s gone out of our hair but there’s no time for a blow-dry to refresh it. It’s a sort of back-combing technique using fingers: take small sections of hair, right by the roots, and simply rub them between your fingers; you’ll feel (and see) the lift. It’s best along the parting and especially good to renew root-lift to a fringe. (If you need extra help, turn your head upside-down and very lightly spritz a dry shampoo into the roots. Works a treat.)
Alternatively, add a hair accessory. A glittery comb or grips add instant glamour to any hairstyle. If you forget to bring one to work, improvise with a brooch from your jacket.
And cover up your roots. Ideally, we’d all be able to plan our social lives around our hair appointments and/or at-home colouring sessions, but at least there’s absolutely no excuse now to turn down an invitation because we’re embarrassed by having gone ‘back to our roots’. We regularly give thanks for Color Wow, which brushes onto roots (from a sexy-looking compact) to disguise regrowth – and stays put till you wash it out. (We have friends who are actually using Color Wow to cut their hair colouring bills, since it allows them to extend the time between appointments by at least a couple of weeks.) Quite a few shades so most women can find a match (men, too!) – and particularly fantastic for grey/white hair.
Squeeze the spot that’s threatening to ruin your evening. (Carefully.)
Use light-reflecting concealer to clean up smudges. In our experience there’s rarely time to start our make-up over, before cocktails or dinner, but by the end of a busy day, our under-eye zone is often smudged, with stray flecks of mascara. Instead of removing the lot, dip a Q-Tip in concealer and roll it over the area. It will remove ‘fallen’ make-up, but evens out skintone at the same time.
Remedy a ‘Widow Twankey’ moment. We’ve all done it: applied too much blusher in a hurry and a panto dame’s staring back from the mirror. Generally, there’s no time to cleanse and start from scratch, so if you’re wearing powder blusher, liberally dust translucent powder over your cheeks to diffuse the colour. If you’re wearing cream blusher, tone it down by sponging a teeny amount of liquid foundation on top.
Add a touch of shimmer to go from desk to dinner in a flash. It’s no accident that party make-up articles invariably wax lyrical about shimmering, glimmering shades and textures. In low-lighting (restaurants, nightclubs, and um, the photocopying room), matte make-up, which can be perfect in daylight, looks flat and dull. You don’t need to go mad with the glitter, however: just add a touch of gleaming ivory or cream eyeshadow to the brow-bone (lightly blend it from just under the arches out to the ends of the brows), and to the centre of the eyelid just above the pupil. (Just pat it on here over your usual eyeshadow.) You can also add a touch of shimmery gloss to the centre of your lips, over your regular lipstick, and smoosh them together. Then you’re candlelight-ready…
Shift a sluggish mood. When you’re feeling like sofa-isng rather than socialising, use aromatherapy oils to nudge you off the couch and out of the door. We literally know nothing better for getting us in the party mood and revving us up after a long day than anointing ourselves with Aromatherapy Associates Revive Massage & Body Oil. Uplifting essential oils in this blend include petitgrain and grapefruit, eucalyptus and mandarin orange; the bonus is that smoothing it into skin also makes any body part instantly smoother and bareable, too: arms, décolletage, legs (if you’re going tights-free for the evening).
Have a spritz of BetterYou B12 Boost – Pure Energy. Honestly, we wouldn’t generally ever recommend taking this after around 4 p.m. (as with caffeinated drinks), because it really does get you buzzing. (We have a few spritzes under the tongue in the mornings: a fantastic start to the day.) But having (almost) accidentally discovered how alert-making this is before a party, it’s now our go-to supplement for late-night Duracell bunny impersonations.
If all else fails to give you a lift, put on a pair of high heels. Maybe the effect’s purely psychological, but we don’t think so. However, we do like to buff feet before slipping them into sandals with a Margaret Dabbs Superior Foot File to remove the hard skin that can make standing around agony. And besides, if anyone happens to come round with a glass slipper after the ball, it’s nice to know our feet will be up to the scrutiny…