Get the Christmas party look naturally
’Tis the season to be jolly – yet, come December, if we’re honest, many of us struggle to put our best face forward. Even if you’ve managed to swerve copious mince pies, it’s likely that harsh winds, central heating and hiding your hair under a woolly hat will have taken a toll on your overall appearance. This coincides with the Christmas party season, when you want to look your best.
You might be tempted to go straight to your make-up bag for a solution, rather than embrace natural beauty. Indeed, British women wear three times more make-up during the Christmas period compared to any other time of year, according to a recent survey. However, a minimal, all-round approach to your beauty ritual is a better way to combat the relentlessness of the party season, and find your sparkle. Try these natural beauty tips for some inspiration.
Christmas party hair
‘Winter weather can play a big part in the condition and manageability of your hair,’ says hairdresser Olivia Crighton, founder of Glasshouse Salon. She explains that heavy winds and central heating can leave your locks dry and frizzy, with increased breakage.
An at-home TLC session will give your hair a party pep-up. ‘Use a hair mask to strengthen the hair and help give it volume,’ advises Crighton. Try a mask rich in manuka honey to show your locks some luxury. Manuka penetrates deep into the hair follicle, locking in moisture and stimulating growth.
Style-wise, Crighton says, ‘A low bun or a slicked-back pony with a strong middle or side parting is a timeless look, and it’s a style that’s likely to stay put all day and night.’ Alternatively, use tongs to create tight curls the morning before your big night. ‘Your hair will naturally loosen throughout the day into a beachy wave,’ says Crighton.
And if you’re in a last-minute panic? ‘Even just dry shampooing the front of your hair and scooping the rest up into a clip or bun will help you feel party-ready.’
In the days leading up to a party, be sure to practise skincare rituals at home to revive a dull complexion and enhance your natural beauty. ‘Exfoliate and moisturise day and night,’ recommends facialist Deborah Mitchell.
Winter sniffles? ‘When you get a cold, your whole face becomes heavy and your skin becomes sensitive, especially around the eyes and nose,’ explains Mitchell. ‘Combat puffy eyes using an eye cream containing hyaluronic acid, which reduces heaviness. Finally, use a light, creamy moisturiser on dry skin around the nose – non-perfumed is best to avoid irritating sensitive skin.’
The night before a party, set aside some time for skincare. Try to find a face mask which contains primrose oil to boost your skin’s moisture and increase elasticity. ‘Using a mask, whether it’s for 15 minutes or two hours, is the perfect way to relax,’ says Mitchell. ‘When you are relaxed, your skin is relaxed, giving your complexion a natural glow.’
For the after-party, follow Mitchell’s double-cleanse ritual to properly remove your make-up and clean the skin beneath. ‘Use an oil wax cleanser first,’ she says. ‘Massage into your skin with a circular motion to remove the dirt and stimulate collagen production. Follow up with a foaming cleanser.’
A little make-up can go a long way to enhance your natural beauty. ‘Bold brows and coloured mascara are big festive beauty trends,’ says make-up artist Denise Rabor. She also recommends adding a touch of shimmer to your eyes or lips – but not both.
Faced with a complexion that hasn’t seen the sun for months, it’s all about adding light and a hint of tan. ‘A quick facial massage always perks up the skin. Follow up with a good illuminating primer that is designed to diffuse light,’ says Rabor. ‘Then, using a brush, apply a soft golden bronzing powder.’
Strapped for time? Rather than applying a whole new face of make-up, Rabor explains how to freshen up your daytime look for the night. ‘Use your fingertip to add a cream highlighter to your cheekbones, temples and brow bone,’ she says. ‘Alternatively, you could go for a bright lipstick, or add a metallic eyeshadow over your day look.’
Don’t let ragged nails ruin your hard work; manicurist Tana Archer recommends a 10-minute manicure you can do at home. ‘First, apply cuticle oil, a must to keep your cuticles moisturised during the winter,’ she says. ‘Follow up with a rich hand cream, which promotes healthy skin surrounding the nail plate and prevents hangnails. Lastly, file your nails all in one direction until smooth.’ Look for a cuticle product which contains virgin olive oil which is easily absorbed by the nailbed and helps nourish and restore war-torn winter hands. As for some festive fun, Archer says, ‘Metallic and glitter reds never go out of fashion for Christmas time.’