Christmas is like marmite – you either love it or you hate it but whichever way you swing, there's no avoiding it. Ironically, it's also the time when you want to look your best – family reunions, bumping into old flames, festive flirting with your work colleague crush... Yep, despite 11 months of mayhem, you want to look sexy and sorted, not fatigued and frazzled and this is how you're going to get away with it...
1. Make your make up last longer
Right now your skin is at risk from dryness (weather), dehydration (heating and alcohol) and spots (hormones and alcohol). Reapplying new make up over old stuff won't help either; it will just clog pores and draw out any precious drops of moisture you do have left in your skin. The solution isn't to go foundation free but to invest in a finishing spray (make up artists have been using them for years). The concept is simple - you wouldn't expect your hairstyle to last without a blast of hairspray so why expect the same from your skin? Acting as a veil for your make up to literally set it in place, you don't have to worry about the fade factor or sweat causing a make up meltdown on the dancefloor. Less drying that a traditional finishing powder, Japonesque's new Make Up Setting Spray, £22, is the best in the business and doubles up as a great skin refresher too. Double whammy!
2. Master a sexy hangover hairstyle
You arrived home during the early hours and now you've slept in and feel too delicate to face the hairdryer but look, there's those post-work Christmas cocktails you plonked in the diary ages ago. Dry shampoo can only do so much so refresh your hair with a style takeover instead. Backbrushing is every hairdresser's go-to because the aeration it causes between each strand of hair instantly creates volume while the brushing motion distributes any greasiness or leftover product from the night before. Not enough? Follow celeb stylist, Mark Hill's advise and add a prop. "Bun rings and clip-in extensions are lifesavers because it means you don't have to be a hairdresser to get amazing results. Pull your hair into a high pony, clip in your ready-made bun close to your crown and then smooth and wrap your backcombed hair around it." Ta-dah, that sexy, slept-in hair that everyone wants, done in five.
3. Paint your nails to fake a polished persona
A slick of colour will automatically make you feel more 'together'. There's also the extra advantage it'll cover up chipped, chewed-on nails - not classy when you're chin-chinning with the in-laws or big boss. You don't even need to go to the pros because causing a buzz right now are Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel Polishes, £9.99, Boots. The at-home version of your gel manicure except you don't even need an UV or LED light to set and cure the colour, just the clever topcoat (also £9.99), these are serious game changers. With 47 shades to choose from, apply at the start of Christmas week and you won't have to think about re-application until 2015!
4. Reap the rewards of a statement lip
Faded equals jaded which is why the pros have a constant stash of bold lipsticks to hand backstage at red carpet events. Unfortunately not all of us have an expert waiting in the wings to top up our tint so rather than worrying about reapplication, cheat the system and apply some sparkle. Read: ACTUAL glitter, not a sparkly lip gloss. As well as being totally on trend (and Christmassy!), the 3d glitter effect will hide dry flaky lips and even if some of the sparkle does drop off, you'll still have your bold base colour as back-up. Glitter Lips in Ultra Glam, £12.50, comes with its own applicator to make life easy while Ciate's Glitter Fix, £14, contains a genius glitter gripper to stop stray sparkle sliding away and a fan brush to remove excess. Another top tip. Do a Gaga and get rid of AWOL glitter with a strip of Cellotape!
5. Choose a one-shade-suits-everywhere face enhancer
That tiny faux fur clutch looks incredible but disaster strikes when you can't wedge your entire make up bag inside. The answer lies in a multi-tasker and not just a balm that soothes lips and dry skin (they're great but party-friendly... not so much!). Choose a cream-based product with a hint of colour like Clinique's Chubby Stick Colour Balm in Robust Rhubarb, £19, or Mac's Cream Colour Base in Hush or Root (it's in every make-up artists back catalogue), £15.50. Go for something that doesn't stray too far from your natural colourings – the trick is to enhance your complexion and something more neutral will allow you to apply it all over - on cheeks to contour and liven up sallow skin, on lips for a nourishing pop of colour and even on lids for a non-complicated smoky eye (it'll conceal any tired eye redness too). The creamy consistency means it will be less likely to fade too. #winning
Need to stock up on a few make up essentials? Here are our favourites:
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