Christmas party beauty tips

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty 19 Comments

It’s now officially less than a month until Christmas.


Half of you are running and hiding as I type; the other half are probably wondering why it’s taken me so long to get on to the topic of Christmas on this blog.

See, I don’t stick to any rules or traditions surrounding when Christmas decorations go up or come down.

In our house, this time of year is pretty hectic with school and uni finishing as well as a good sprinkling of pre-Christmas birthdays.

This year, we’ve also had the added bonus of house-hunting for our move to Brisbane so this whole Christmas-is-coming caper has been something I’ve had to just let happen.

It hasn’t been ignored. Just not prioritised.

Until this week.

This is the week of THE CHRISTMAS PARTY.

Not my party (that’s happening next month in Sydney). No, Mr SY’s party.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you would have read previous years’ posts and understand that it’s kind of a big deal.

For starters, it’s just a small gathering for 1200 plus people at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Last year, Jessica Mauboy was the entertainment. Frocking up is ALWAYS part of the night.

Now, the other thing that happens when you’re a partner at these things is that it can be actually quite nerve wracking.

Your partner sees these people every day. You see them once a year.

So, if you’re going to be stranded with strangers, you want said stranding to happen in close proximity to the bar and you want to bring your best hair and beauty game to the plate (the outfit is important too … but more on that later in the week).

I don’t know about you but if I’m having a good hair day and my makeup is working for me, then I feel more confident.

In the interests of sharing and caring, I thought I’d run through my pre-party beauty preparation. The following Christmas party beauty tips will apply for cocktail and formal Christmas events but equally for other similar events and occasions throughout the year.

Step 1

Work out your out-sourcing budget. This year, I’ve allocated my dollars to nails, spray tan and hair style. I’m a lazy-girl at heart and I think about where the professionals are best allocated.

My hair stylist is already excited about the New York theme of the evening and is working on something I would be incapable of re-producing at home.

I’ve timed my fortnightly spray tan to be just right for the Friday night event; ditto my gel nails.

The Christmas party is not a time for experimenting at home. It’s a time for doing the stuff at home you know you can do almost with your eyes closed and calling in reinforcements for the rest.

Step 2

For some occasions, those reinforcements have included a makeup artist, or I’ve booked in at a makeup counter (usually redeemable on purchase of product and very handy if you’re due to re-stock your foundation) but mostly I’ll give it a red hot go myself.

If you want to create a new and exciting look, can I suggest that an hour before kick-off is not the time for playing?

I’m all for a bit of makeup experimentation but play around in the weeks or days leading up to the event. This way you’ll be so confident on the day that it will be second nature – and you’ll have all the products you could possibly need.

Generally speaking a party makeup look is either all about the eyes OR the lips but even if you’re wanting your lips as a focus, it’s still important to define the eyes as you’ll be standing in a dimly lit room. Soft lighting is great for hiding a multitude of sins but we don’t really want to hide our eyes, do we?

For this year’s party, I’m planning a soft, smokey eye and a red glossy lip. The key for this not looking like I’m a washed-up dancer from Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love video (circa 1985 for the young kiddies playing at home) is going for a defined eye but not one that’s competing too much with the lip.

The process

1. Pretty much every makeup artist I know starts with the eyes. Not the foundation. I don’t worry so much about this for an everyday or work makeup but when it comes to special occasion makeup, I follow this learned rule without fail. The reason? When you’re playing with dark makeup colours around your face, there is going to be fall-out. It’s so much easier to deal with that with a wipe when there isn’t any foundation in place. (If you haven’t caught my smokey eye video in the past, click on over here. And if a black or grey smokey eye scares you, then try a bronze one.)

Christmas party beauty tips eyes

Ere Perez | NARS | BYS

2. Apply your foundation using a foundation brush for even coverage that lasts. Choose your foundation wisely too. For events, I ditch my daily BB cream and opt for a go-the-distance foundation. Apply concealer after foundation. Compulsory extras: an illuminating cream on the top of your cheekbones and down the bridge of your nose. We’re not talking the sparkle and glitter of the same era referenced by Mr Palmer above. No, it’s more about harnessing our inner glow and bringing it front and centre. Finish foundation with a foundation or setting powder.

Christmas party beauty tips foundation

Illlamsqua | Napoleon Perdis | Too Faced | Clinique

3. Apply blush from temples down to top of cheek bones (see here) and if a bit of bronzer action is your thing, get some tips from here before you apply.

Christmas party beauty tips cheeks

ModelCo | NARS | Maybelline NY

4. With a red or bright colour lip, I’ll line my lip in a nude pencil first. This helps avoid feathering and bleeding into the fine lines around my lips and keeps the lippy in place. For events I also always go for a long-lasting lip colour in a hybrid gloss/stain that doesn’t dry my lips out but also doesn’t need re-applying after the first sip of champagne.

Christmas party tips lipsYSL | L’Oreal Paris

5. On the night, take the lip colour and a small powder compact with you for touch-ups. At home, have makeup wipes at the ready for when you stumble through the door in the early hours of the next morning.

So tell me, have you got a Christmas party on the horizon? What’s your beauty plan?

Comments 19

  1. Great tips Nikki! I haven’t had any Xmas parties to go to for a number of years now (hubby’s is staff only), but it’s fun reading about what others are doing 🙂 I had a look at your last Xmas ideas link and just loved all the dresses, and the accessories too – you have fabulous taste! Looking forward to seeing what you’re ensemble is this year!

  2. I love how you make this all look so simple Nikki. Oh and I must tell you after your recommendation re that Napoleon concealer I bought some and it is pretty amazing. At first I thought – are you kidding me this colour is weird but then it blends and conceals beautifully.

  3. Ditto – 2 work-related Christmas parties for me (husband’s and mine). Husband’s is usually a Thursday night dinner and mine this year is a Friday lunch. As these events are both pretty low-key and smallish, I don’t tend to outsource anything.
    As for Christmas itself, that’s another story! For the first time ever, I have 2 weeks off starting Monday 23 December so I have already booked in my waxing and spray tan (Monday) and mani, pedi and hair (Tuesday) ready for Christmas Eve drinks at our neighbours and the main event – Christmas Day.
    Thanks for the tip re a long lasting stain/gloss combo. Going to get myself one of those.

  4. I had my Christmas party last Friday, with a Hawaiian theme in a marquee beginning with torrential rain! It did fine up later in the night, but the storm caused me to abandon the hair and make-up, so I just went straight from the office with my day old makeup. But you know what? I had a great night dancing, drinking, eating and laughing with my work pals and never worried about how I looked at all.

    However, my husband’s brother is getting married this Saturday. I had the eyebrows done this morning and I’ll be outsourcing hair and nails, too. I have been layering on the gradual tan in preparation. I will do my own make-up, so love the link to the bronze smoky tutorial (although that lead me down a rabbit hole of make-up tutorials)

  5. Yes I have 2 Christmas parties on the Horizon ,like your husbands I only see those people once a year so I frock up and the makeup has to be perfect!Also I have to smell amazing thankyou Michael Kors for that.I don’t know about you Nikki but most of the work peoples wives/partners are nice but the CEO’s wife is *ahem Up herself and she always checks me out ,she looks you up and down and in not a nice way,so I go out of my way to look nice.
    I also like the facelift effect everyday re the blush.I agree about doing the eyes first and getting all your bits and bobs in place before.I also have one other tip do NOT drink a Chai latte or any drink when you are dressed and ready to go because you are likely to spill it all over yourself like I did on my Birthday! This year it is a fancy Harbour cruise with only Us on the boat with dinner and entertainment ,so I hope the weather is kind.I can’t wait to see your Pics from your Christmas party this year Nikki,you always go to such fancy places,Enjoy!

  6. I have my work Christmas party next week. I have got the dress, outsourced the spray tan, brow wax and hair color but will do nails and makeup myself.
    Casual elegant is the look I am going for:)

  7. Lol. Hour before I walk out of the door for a big gig is when I have been known to experiment with makeup. So not a good idea. Enjoy xx

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