FIREWORKS night is long gone, but now is the ultimate time for sparkles and dazzling displays . . . of beauty.
During December, a bit of glitz is not only acceptable but almost compulsory, in order to give all those twinkling lights some eye-catching competition.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go OTT with the pots of glitter to look festively glam. A few chic and simple tweaks to your usual routine should have you looking seasonally appropriate before you can say “Santa Claus”.
Keep your festive visions realistic. There’s little point making a Christmas wish for a dramatic blow-dry if you’re attempting a desk-to-dance-floor makeover and glamming up in the ladies’.
Sparkle like the stars with our guide to looking festively fabulous.
Shimmer and shine
A touch of sparkle never fails to get even the most reluctant party animal in the mood to hit the dancefloor.
The younger you are, the more you can use glitter and get away with it. But there are subtle ways to introduce sparkle that won’t leave mature skins resembling a disco ball.
“Neutral metallics such as gold and silver are more understated,” advises make-up artist Jemma Kidd. “Look for a pearlescent finish, which adds light without highlighting creases and wrinkles.”
For maximum impact with minimum effort, try a flash of metal on the eyes by applying metallic liquid eyeliner along the upper lash line.
To avoid pre-party catastrophes, Kidd suggests: “Always apply glitter or shimmer before making up the rest of your face and dust away any particles before applying your foundation.”
If you’d rather make your mouth the star attraction, focus on a classic Forties look with a festive red lip for grown-up glamour. Matte finishes are more resistant to smudges than gloss if you have grand plans for mistletoe kisses.
Don’t forget a clutch-friendly palette like Urban Decay’s Midnight Emergency Kit, £28 (House of Fraser) for all your party top-up needs.
’Tis the season to aim for tresses so high that you can discard your party heels.
Lisa Shepherd, hair expert of TV’s 10 Years Younger, says: “The great news for party queens is that hair is more about the carefully undone ‘do’ than hours of work with the irons.”
For a dramatic look, minus the hours in the hairdresser’s chair, practise your backcombing using a fine-tooth comb, starting at the crown and working backwards. This will add instant oomph to flat hair.
According to Shepherd, this is ideal for dancefloor divas.
“You can choose to go for the cleanest finish by blow- drying hair with a paddle brush for ultimate gloss, then brushing straight back and securing in a smooth pony at the nape. Or secure the pony high on the head for more dance floor swing.”
If you have time, try heated rollers like Mark Hill’s Rock ’N’ Rollers (currently on sale for £39.99, Boots) to cultivate loose curls while you’re putting the finishing touches to your make-up.
Let it glow
Leave the pasty white skin to the snowmen.
Just as you start to get complacent about covering up in all those winter woollies, you have to brave bare skin and flaunt a new party frock. Cue panic.
A glowing base is the ideal foundation for all that sparkle and high gloss. Add warmth to your skin with a bronzing mousse the night before, or an instant wash-off tan lotion will look just as good on the same day.
Emphasise the areas that will be on show for all those festive photographs with a light dusting of shimmer-like Givenchy L'Or Celeste Starry Loose Powder, inset, above, £42 (01932 233 824) – a show-stopping look if you’re wearing a strapless dress.
“Shimmer is great for taking your look from day to evening,” says make-up artist Bobbi Brown.
“Apply your shimmer with a big brush to highlight collar-bones and shoulders.”