Christmas and the New Year are fast approaching, meaning that you’ve probably got several celebratory meals and parties in the coming weeks. At this time of year, we all want to feel our best, and often, getting prepped and preened for a party is a great way to get a confidence boost. Whether you’re a low maintenance individual or you love getting glammed up, here are our top tips for preparing for the party season, from indulgent skincare to make-up looks.
The most important thing to remember before you think about prepping for the party season is to take a moment to feel good in yourself. Whilst guides like these will suggest steps that many people take to get themselves ready for a special occasion, remember that it’s all about what makes you feel good. You don’t have to wear make-up or shave your legs unless that’s what will make you feel confident. Take a few moments to do something that will make you feel great about yourself, whether that be an exercise session or a warm bath. Beauty, as they say, comes from within, and your confidence will shine more than any eyeliner, hair ’do or outfit.
The first step to perfecting your Christmas party season look is upping your skincare regime. But don’t start doing anything radically different simply because you have events coming up – stick to what you know works for your skin. If you have sensitive skin, harsh oil-stripping treatments are not worth the reaction you may experience just to clear out clogged pores. In fact, using too many products in general can clog the pores.
As skincare expert Caroline Hirons suggests, follow the basic steps of cleansing, toning and moisturising every morning and night, and exfoliating once a week in the lead-up to the office party. Amongst this, remember to stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep and maintain a healthy diet – limiting your intake of sugar, caffeine, dairy and alcohol, which are all bad for the skin. The majority of our skin health comes from the inside, so looking after your whole body will give you that guaranteed glow ahead of the festive season.
The day of your big event, you may wish to give your skin a bit of a boost to get it looking its best. Beauty blogger Kayla Seah from Not Your Standard recommends, “My ultimate skincare tip for prepping for the festive season is nightly brightening face masks. They add such a beautiful glow to your skin." Caroline Hirons advises that, for special occasions, you should look for a facial “that includes plenty of massage, masks, serums and moisturisers to leave your skin plumped up and bouncy - something that will last for around 48 hours.” With plenty of beauty-orientated spa day offers on the market around Christmas, this is the perfect time to put your skincare in expert hands so that you feel amazing ahead of any seasonal celebrations.
To get that all-round pampered feeling, you may want to indulge in a little body care before a big party. This can be anything from putting on a nice moisturiser to treating yourself to a body wrap or spa body treatment. For a low-key pampering session, take a warm bath with your favourite bath bomb or nourishing oil and exfoliate your down to get rid of any dry skin caused by the winter cold, and then moisturise from head to toe. You can put a little body shimmer on your collar bone and shoulders for something extra. Spritz on some perfume or cologne and you’re ready to go.
Before you start preening ready for that big party, you might want to decide what kind of look you’re going for. Getting ready can be a lengthy process, and this is even more likely to be the case if you’re undecided on whether to wear your hair up or down, flats or heels, dress or jeans, t-shirt or shirt. Ask around your group of friends who are also attending the event to gauge the dress code of the evening, but don’t be constrained by expectation – if you want to wear something a little different, now is the time to show off your unique style!
For work Christmas parties, blogger Amber Katz from Rouge18 suggests “switching up your office look — whatever it is, do the opposite. So if you typically wear a bold eye to the office, don a red lip. If you wore your hair up during the day, let it down for night.” This is a great way to stand out and really get that off-duty feel. Perhaps you dress in a smart suit and slick parting at work. To mix things up, don a colourful plaid shirt and fitted jeans to feel suave yet relaxed.
For many, big parties mean choosing between a sleek up-do and a glamorous hair style leaving your hair down. With so many tutorials now available on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and more, there are plenty of gorgeous styles to choose from, whatever your hair length and type.
To recreate that classic up-do, Mane Addicts suggest a twisted chignon. To create this minimalistic look, begin by creating a deep side parting, and work some moisturising oil through the hair from root to tip. Take two sections from the side of the head with less hair, and twist them into a rope twist braid, securing the ends with elastic. On the other side, brush the hair back and spray into place, before creating another rope twist braid. Finally, loop the two braids together and pin up.
Alternatively, if you want to let your hair down this Christmas, this glam holiday waves tutorial by Luxy Hair blog is perfect for any party. This retro look is inspired by Hollywood icons and is created by curling sections of hair towards the face before clipping the curl while it cools down. After some time, carefully brush the hair out to form beautiful, bouncy waves.
If you’re looking to really make a statement, why not try a faux-hawk? This style is perfect for looks with a little edge, harkening to the punk era. Gently back-comb your hair in sections and create a quiff at the front of your head. One at a time, pin sections of hair close to your middle parting, then curl the length and pin the curl like victory rolls down the centre of the head. To see how this is done, check out this video by Confessions of a Hair Stylist. For an easier alternative, you could put your hair in several ponytails down the middle of the head and create plaited buns, pinning in place and teasing for volume.
If you have short hair or facial hair, a trip to the barbers can be a great way to refresh your style ahead of festive celebrations. Whether you opt for a short back and sides, a quiff, a beard trim or a full shave, this is a great way to complete any look, from fresh-faced to rugged.
Nail painting can be one of the most creative parts of the beauty regime, and Christmas is the perfect excuse to have some fun with it. Forego the traditional manicure and experiment with colours and textures to wow during the holiday season. For striking glitter nails, apply a protective clear bottom coat, before adding a couple of layers of your chosen colour polish. Then, either apply a glitter polish or dip your finger in real glitter while the nails are partially wet and secure in place with a clear top coat. If this is a bit too much for you, consider adding glitter to just one nail, or placing it at the tips of the nail, blending back into the coloured polish.
Alternatively, why not try your hand at some nail art? No matter what your level of skill, there are plenty of simple designs you can recreate with a little time and patience. This snowflake nail art design is simple yet effective. Apply your chosen base colour of nail polish and allow to dry. Then, using a nail pen or a toothpick dipped in a contrasting colour of nail polish, add simple lines to create a snowflake. Allow to dry and finish with a clear top coat.
If you prefer not to paint your nails, simply get a nail brush and have a good clean, before filing your nails neatly. This will not only look smart, but protect your nails from breakage.
If you wear make-up, a Christmas party is the perfect opportunity to switch up your look, so whether you fancy trying a plum lip or some winged eyeliner, try something different. Christmas is all about glitter and colour, so try adding some sparkle to your eyes. Lara Eurdolian from Pretty Connected says:
“Top tips: You can never go wrong with a red or bold lip, it's festive and a quick way to make a statement. Have a shimmery eye shadow palette (I like Tarte’s In Bloom 2) to create versatile party girl looks. Everything from copper around the eyes or a metallic smoky eye is always so glam!”
Another staple of the festive party look is glowing skin. Taye from Stuff She Likes recommends, “A great go-to solution to having a polished holiday make up look is a combination of bronzer and highlighter. Bronzer on the cheeks, hair line, sides of the nose, eyelids and jawline, and highlighter on the highest point of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, mid forehead, chin and eyelids. Add a swipe of black eyeliner and a red lip and your face is done.”
With all the late nights of excitement during the Christmas period, it can be tempting to let your skin maintenance slip. However, if you’ve been indulging in food and drink, it’s essential to give your skin all the help it can get. Lara Eurdolian from Pretty Connected says:
“Lastly, whether it's makeup wipes next to your bed, or a full make-up removal process at your bathroom sink, whatever you do, do not sleep with your makeup on!” Treat you skin as well post-party as you would before a big occasion to help it recover and prevent any break-outs or dry patches.