The seasonal celebrations are finally under way - but heading straight to your work's festive bash from the office usually means a speedy turnaround. Lisa Haynes reveals the secrets to looking party perfect in minutes
By Lisa Haynes
There's no better feeling than spending hours pampering and preening to look beyond glam for a party.
But let's be real. If it's a weekday bash you're heading to, chances are you'll be freshening up in the office loos, or attempting a makeover-on-the-move in the back of a taxi on the way there. Cue wonky eyeliner and lipstick on teeth!
But, all hope is not lost... When time is of the essence, rely on beauty's party season saviours and clever application tricks to dazzle in minutes.
Here's how to turn up the glam-ometer in record time. Ready, steady, party!
If you have...
You have time on your hands but not enough to sprint to the salon for a blow dry. Plan ahead and go to work armed with kirby grips, hairspray and a brush - all you need to create show-stopping hair.
"The beehive is the perfect style to take your hair from drab to fab," says Guy Cammarano, creative director of Regis salons.
"It works best when not created on freshly washed hair, making it ideal if you've spent all day in the office."
If you're unsure, watch masterclass beehive videos on YouTube to perfect the techniques at home so that you can execute the style with confidence in a hurry.
Lugging your make-up bag to work can end in disaster. Too many products to apply in too little time means precious minutes wasted, plus the contents won't cram into your teeny-tiny clutch.
Lighten the load by using a glam palette featuring multi-tasking products in shades that flatter your colouring.
"Look for a palette that contains shimmery shades that you can layer on top of eye shadows so they're instantly transformed into something glamorous," advises make-up artist, Daniel Sandler.
"Don't buy a palette with shades you'll never use but do invest in something you'll use at Christmas, New Year, a special occasion or night out with the girls."
For fluttering transformative effects, a false lash fix trumps mascara any day.
If you usually struggle to apply them, invest in a product like Bourjois Falsh Lash Applicator, £4.99 (Boots).
"They have a long curved arm to grab the length of the lash and place onto the whole lid in one movement," says Cassie Lomas, Bourjois celebrity make-up artist.
"The soft angled tip on the other end can be used to gently press the false lash onto the lash line."
Try falsies featuring crystals on the lash line for extra eye dazzle.
If you're really pushed for time, a strong lip is all you need to wow the party pack. Try festive red or raspberry. Apply, blot then re-apply for extra longevity.
"A bright lip will detract from tired eyes but avoid dark colours unless you have fresh, glowing skin," advises Liz Pugh, Avon professional make-up artist.
"You can also use the lip colour to inject some flushed colour onto your cheeks. If your lipstick is heavily pigmented, apply to your hand first and dab the colour onto cheekbones for a gorgeous party glow that matches the tone of your lips."
You're never going to feel like the life and soul of the party if you're arriving with flat, limp hair. Dry shampoo not only revitalises your hair for that freshly washed feeling, it also boosts volume.
"Spray lightly and evenly approximately 30cm from your hair," says Joanne Marshall, Batiste brand manager.
"Lift up sections of the hair to make sure you fully refresh your roots. Massage through with fingertips, leave for a few moments and then brush out, preferably with a natural bristle brush. Voila! From office to party gorgeous in seconds."
Spritzes are your seconds-to-spare best friend. A rich, alluring fragrance applied to pulse points will instantly put you in the party mood and an atomiser highlighter will add a subtle sprinkling of glamour.
Chase Aston, The Body Shop international make-up artist suggests: "Create an inner glow by lightly spraying highlighter over cheeks, or spritz across the decolletage for an elegant luminosity."
Day to night drama
Celebrity make-up artist and author of Pretty Powerful Bobbi Brown shares her expert tips for a speedy transformation:
:: If you normally wear brown eyeliner, switch to black for evening for extra drama and glamour.
:: Usually wear one coat of mascara for day? Go with three for night-time.
:: A little sparkly iridescent shadow on the lower lid looks gorgeous at night - it can also be placed under the eye on the inner corner for subtle drama.
:: Try a glamorous smoky eye for night. Add a darker shadow on the lid and smudge up to the crease, blending and adding more to achieve the desired effect.
:: A touch of shimmer on the apple of your cheeks over your blush is a quick way to illuminate your skin for evening.
:: Take your lips from day to night by going deeper in colour. If you wear pink and rosy tones during the day, try going a shade or two darker for night.
:: A red or pink bright lip looks best with a cleaner eye and pastel blush.
:: Light shimmer lips look fantastic with a stronger eye and pop of brighter blush.
Tried & tested
Kate Whiting preps for a busy party season schedule.
There's no better way to get ready for the coming month of festivities than by sloping off for an indulgent pre-party pampering session with your best girlfriend. Elemis has designed the ultimate treatment for two, the Perfect Party Package, with almost two hours of relaxation and grooming - ideal for a long lunch break or the afternoon before the office Christmas do. The session starts with a skin consultation, to work out which products should be used in the facial. As my friend looks on, my face is photographed and then the skin under my eyes, on my nose and cheeks is analysed to create a Facial Assessment Report revealing where my spots, wrinkles and UV brown spots are. Scary part over, it's time to relax with the first treatment, a full body Lime and Ginger Salt Glow scrub (£36.50), which smells gorgeous and makes my skin beautifully soft. After a quick shower, I'm back on the heated bed for my bespoke facial, which involves the Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask (£48). Whilst the facemask is working its magic, I'm given a soothing back and shoulder massage with Japanese Camelia Body Oil Blend (£29.50), which makes my Christmas to-do list anxieties drift away. As I continue to float on the heated bed, I'm given an express Essie manicure with a pink polish for the finishing touch. Now I'm top-to-toe ready to face all those festive parties.
:: Perfect Party Package for two costs £200 for 1hr 45minutes at Mayfair, London (020 7499 4995/www.elemis.com/dayspa)
:: All Elemis products available at www.timetospa.co.uk
Buy it now
Fit for a partied-out princess, Shavata's Cooling Eye Masks are the perfect at-home evening accessory. The mask is free when you spend £40 or more at Shavata's Brow Studios in House of Fraser stores nationwide (www.shavata.co.uk).
:: Middleton mania
She's been in the headlines after announcing she's expecting a new heir - and for the new hair she's sporting recently! Now, a salon has devised the 'Middle-trim' in honour of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. The express treatment at Lisa Shepherd includes a sweeping fringe trim for just £5 after incredible demand from clients to re-create her look. Celebrity stylist and salon director Jason Cocking says: "Kate is an undeniable fashion icon and we've been overwhelmed by the response to her new 70s-inspired style within the salon."
Santa red is the colour of the moment. Carry your Christmas shopping spends in a mock-croc bright red purse, free with the purchase of any women's Armani, Cacharel, Lancome, Stella McCartney or YSL fragrance 75ml or larger (excluding gift sets). Offer available at The Perfume Shop nationwide and online at www.theperfumeshop.com