The holiday season is here, and chances are your social calendar is filled with everything from after-work cocktails to family get-togethers. Ready to be the life of the party? We’ve got you covered with eight beauty tricks (think gilded eyelashes and slip-on braids) that are as unexpected as they are festive. And if you’re worried about lipstick smudges and creasing shadow ruining your good time, fret not—we’ve borrowed a few hacks from the pros to ensure your makeup will last all night long. Now all you have to do is prepare to make an entrance!
1. Slip on a Braid
We're betting "what a cinch" is not the first thought that comes to mind after eyeing these braided styles. But fret not—there's hope for the hopelessly uncoordinated. Instead of trying to wind multiple plaits on the back of your own head, create your updo and then grab a prewoven extension, the clip-on variety (we like POP by HairUWear Clip-in Long Braid, $9; hairuwear.com) or a braided headband (like Hairdo by HairUWear French Braid Band, $10; ulta.com). Mist strands with hairspray or dry shampoo to supply the traction needed to keep the piece from slipping. A tip from Bridget Brager, Kate Bosworth's stylist, to soften the look: "Loosen the braids with your fingers after styling."
2. Glow in the Dark
You can RSVP under the condition of candlelight, or you can BYOB (bring your own brilliance). Marina Gravani, Hannah Simone's makeup pro, suggests some "strategic highlighting." Start with an emollient foundation. Blend a light cream bronzer under cheekbones, then add a layer of highlighter on top. Rub iridescent-tinted moisturizer over cheeks before hitting the apples with a pink blush. Get the look with Charlotte Tilbury's Filmstar Bronze & Glow ($65; charlottetilbury.com).
3. Stay in the Red
Nothing glamorizes the face faster than perfect crimson lips, says Claire Danes's makeup artist Matin Maulawizada. While a matte finish is dramatic, we love the idea of going high-wattage with a blinding coat of shine. To make your sheen last past three sips of a peppermint martini, layer different formulations of red, starting with a matte liner like Chanel Precision Lip Definer in Rouge Profond ($29; chanel.com) . After filling in your pout, top with velvety lipstick like the brand’s Limited Edition Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour in La Flamboyante ($35; chanel.com) and tinted (not clear) gloss. We recommend Rouge Allure Gloss in Pirate ($34; chanel.com).
4. Gild Your Lashes
Like the open-toe stiletto booties that reinvent your LBD, a colorful flutter can ignite your look in the blink of an eye. Pop on a pair of false lashes flecked with sparkle. We love LashDip's 24K Gold Highlighted Vintage Lashes ($275; lashdipshop.com). Just coat the backs of the lash strips with adhesive, then press each atop the roots of the upper lash lines. Play down your pout and even out your skin to balance the effect, then bat seductively.
5. Tuck a Choker Into Your Chignon
If your simple go-to knot has come down with a serious case of the blahs, take a peek inside your jewelry box. Most necklaces or bracelets with a slim chain can be anchored into a hairstyle for instant impact. Michelle Dockery's stylist Mara Roszak recommends making a loose braid and then wrapping and pinning the plait into a bun. Tuck either end of a chain under the knot, and use bobby pins to fasten it against the scalp.
6. Hide Your Hardware
Metal underpinnings can belie your "effortless" updo. If you're going for a chunky bun like this, slick on serum (we like Dove’s Nourishing Oil Care Anti-Frizz Serum, $7; amazon.com), blow-dry, then make a ponytail; twist hair into a knot, but first mist bobby pins with dry shampoo. That'll give them grip so they remain right where you put them, says Sarah Hyland's pro Ryan Richman. Push your misted pins (ripple-side down) underneath the hair elastic and out of sight.
7. Bulletproof Your Smoky Eye
To make sure your azure shadow doesn't slide down your lids and onto your cheekbones (or cake into your creases), apply primer around your eyes. Use a brush to blend a blue powder over the lids (we like Dior’s 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow in Carre Blue, $60; nordstrom.com), keeping the color contained under the sockets. Grab a smaller, pointed brush to drag the shadow under the lower lash lines, says Kerry Washington's makeup artist Carola Gonzalez. Take a dark blue liner (try Neutrogena’s Nourishing Eye Liner in Twilight Blue, $8; drugstore.com) and trace along the top and bottom lashes for extra definition. To open up your eyes and add some brightness, dab the brand’s shimmering Crease Proof Eye Shadow in Forever Platinum ($9; neutrogena.com) over the corners of the inner eyes.
8. Pair Old with New
If you take just one move from this party playbook, make it this: Be unexpected. Siren waves and pearl studs scream #throwback, so clash those cascading ripples with an edgy accessory like an ear cuff (we love Forever 21’s rhinestone ear cuff set, $4; forever21.com). Take a cue from Leighton Meester's stylist Benoit Moeyaert, and set hair in hot rollers before running a paddle brush through waves and tucking them behind one lobe to show off your ear candy. Another idea: Embrace temporary hair tint, and wear colorful strands with natural-looking makeup.