10 best Christmas party makeup
Here are the beauty buys that will see you through this year’s festive celebrations
Even the most minimalist of makeup wearers can embrace the fun and flair that party season offers (though we thoroughly approve such looks year-round). It’s a time to take risks with colour and texture, revel in drawing attention, and go all-out with sparkle. It’s also a time when lack of sleep and a less-than-healthy diet means you need a little more help than usual from quick-fix skincare and complexion concealers.
These are our favourites for evening looks, a combination of perennial go-tos and brilliant bold products. For a simple, paint-by-numbers approach, keep skin soft-focus and neutral, and balance colour and depth with a strong, matte lip with a nude, shimmery eye, or vice versa.This year we're favouring a
soft wash of colour (pink is an on-trend and unexpected choice) or a clear glossy lid paired with a strong, matte lipstick: low-maintenance and striking.
Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment: £23, narscosmetics.co.uk
A satin-y soft lip might be most comfortable for everyday wear, but high-gloss or matte is perfect for a party. It takes a while to get used to applying Nars’ Powermatte, a liquid that goes on glossy and dries to a perfect matte finish, but the colours are beautifully strong and it actually stays put (through a three-course dinner and a fair amount of wine). Our pick is hot-pink Get Up Stand Up for a twist on the standard bold lip red.
Charlotte Tilbury Stars In Your Eyes Palette: £60, charlottetilbury.com
Occasionally a new product lands on our desk that is nothing short of perfect, and this is one of them. Uniting four shade trios in one palette, this is a gorgeous collection of warm rose, gold, amber and aubergine in a mix of matte and shimmer shades that blend effortlessly. For painting-by-numbers ease, stick to the trios, or mix and match across as you like; we’ve been enjoying blending the pale pink in 'Love Eyes’ across the lid with the deep brown-red of ‘Happy Eyes’ in the crease.
Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder Glow: £29, spacenk.com
Loose powder has been out of vogue for a while, given as the majority are cake-y, not to mention messy. But this new launch from Laura Mercier is a brilliant return to form for the formula. It keeps shine at bay (top up through the night as required) while giving a sort of soft-focus, luminous glow that makes you look infinitely healthier than your lifestyle probably is right now.
Glossier Boy Brow: £14, glossier.com
We’re proponents of going big on colour and keeping skin and brows simple when it comes to party season. Glossier’s Boy Brow is a pigmented brow mascara that brushes, holds in place and fills out brows in a done but still natural and slightly messy way. Perfect to pair with a barely-made-up eye and killer bold lips.
Kevyn Aucoin The Exotique Diamond Eye Gloss: £30.50, cultbeauty.co.uk
The glossy eyelid has the potential to be a disaster zone and may feel counterintuitive, particularly for those who spend a lot of time fighting greasy eyelids. However, it looks slick and unusual, and is a beautiful counterbalance to a strong lip colour. Kevyn Aucoin’s eye gloss in Moonlight has a slight silver sheen and, unavoidably, does feel sticky on the eyelids, but not to the extent that you don’t forget about it after a while – much like wearing false eyelashes. Don’t be tempted to wear eyeshadow underneath it, just apply with a finger straight to the eyelid, and finish with a lick of mascara.
Lancome Advanced Genifique Hydrogel Melting Mask: £16.50, Boots
When you need a quick-fix to fake a good night’s sleep, a good sheet mask offers minimal fuss and a great short-term boost. This, from Lancome, in infused with the brand’s much-loved Advanced Genifique serum. Cooling and moisturising on the skin, it reduces irritation and redness and brightens a dull complexion. It’s pricey for a single use, but considerably cheaper than a facial, which it mimics very well.
Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara: £25, John Lewis & Partners
Hourglass’s Caution Extreme Lash Mascara was an exciting launch in the beauty world this year. The formula is black, lengthening and dramatic, but without clumps and natural enough to wear every day. Plus, the unusual triangular shape of the tube stops it rolling off your table-top, is comfortable to hold (not unlike a pencil grip) and gives you extra grip for opening.
Clarins Instant Concealer: £22.50, clarins.co.uk
Usually we’d recommend sleep and water as the best treatment for dark circles, but sometimes (a lot of the time) you just need a quick fix. Clarins’ Instant Concealer is a desert-island product for us with its thin, easily spread formula and super intense pigment; no settling into fine lines and no eye-make-up smudging.
Sisley Le Phyto Rouge: £38, sisley-paris.com
There is nothing that isn’t luxe and fun about this packaging: the casing is gold with zebra stripes, the bullet an unusual faceted shape, and it comes in a red velvet pouch. It has a satin finish and a balm-like softness on the ps. Dark red Rouge Capri is a classic choice, while the purple-toned brown Beige Copacabana will look beautiful and unusual on brunettes paired with a wash of pink eyeshadow.
Mac Dazzleliner: £17, maccosmetics.co.uk
We love liquid eyeliner and we love glitter, so this is a no-brainer. It’s quite sheer, so use a light shade (such as gold-pink Holiday Time!) alone for a warm, sparkly wash along the lash line, or top your usual black liquid liner with A Little Moonlight, which is charcoal grey with iridescent silver glimmer. The applicator is slim and delicate and the formula has plenty of glide, so application is simple.
The Verdict: Best Christmas party makeup
For bold colour, texture and party-ready longevity, Nars’ Powermatte can’t be beaten. But for a purchase you’ll use regularly well into the New Year, Charlotte Tilbury’s palette is a stunning investment.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.