Beauty products to take you from your desk to the party
Mid-week seasonal soiree? Fear not. The right products will help you go from office to dance floor in a flash, says Katie Wright
When it comes to parties, we can all agree that getting ready is half the fun, but in the run-up to Christmas, when mid-week soirees mean we don't have the luxury of lazy afternoons to primp and preen, the pressure really is on.
A little planning goes a long way, however, and with the right prep and products, you can transition from office to out on the town with ease - and keep your festive beauty mojo popping along with the Champagne corks.
These are the daily essentials that will help you sail through party season.
EASY AS NAILS
A UV-cured manicure is your best bet for polish that will make it through the 12 days of Christmas chip-free, but if you haven't got time to get to the salon, a DIY gel effect polish, like Nailed London, will still go the distance.
You need a shade that will complement all your outfits, so dark or nude is best, and the Perfect Classics Collection, £24, Amazon, offers both (www.amazon.co.uk).
Fancy a quick change? Nails Inc's innovative new Paint Can Spray Nail Polish, £10, cuts your mani time in half. Paint on a clear base coat, spray Hoxton Market liberally, finish with a top coat and wash the excess off for a hot pink hand makeover in minutes (www.nailsinc.com).
A BREATH OF FRESH HAIR
December can take its toll on our bank balances and sometimes, a visit to you colourist just isn't an option. But you needn't worry about revealing regrowth, because there are now a plethora of root cover-up products on the market.
Most come as a powder or spray, but Kazumi Root Varnish, £30, is a gel formula that can be brushed onto wet or dry hair, allowing greater precision in five shades, from blonde to black (www.boots.com).
If lacklustre locks are a problem, dry shampoo will give them a new lease of life pre-party (or pep them up the morning after).
Aveda's new Shampure Dry Shampoo, £22, is a powder that you massage into your roots then brush out, adding volume and a fresh scent (www.aveda.co.uk).
We do more than our fair share of dashing around in December, so keep a can of Sure Women Crystal Invisible Black & White, currently reduced to £1.65 from £3.39 (www.superdrug.com), on hand, to freshen up while changing into your evening attire. Crucially, it won't leave marks, whether you're in an LBD or a white tux jacket.
Going tights-free in the deep mid-winter can be somewhat terrifying, but Sanctuary Spa Wonder Body, £8, will allay your flesh-baring fears. The moisturising lotion blurs, smooths and adds a hint of colour and sheen (www.sanctuary.com).
If your desk becomes your dressing table right about now, a strict cosmetic edit is a must.
A palette will save you carting round a mountains of make-up, while also giving you flexibility to chop and change your look, should the mood take you.
Yves Saint Laurent Kiss & Love Makeup Palette, £59, offers interchangeable eye, lip and cheek options in a sweet kiss-print compact (www.houseoffraser.co.uk).
Pair it with Ecotools Mini Essentials Brush Set, £5.99, to create seductive eye make-up looks and perfectly flushed cheeks (www.boots.com).
When boozy lunches have a tendency to bleed into cocktail hour and beyond, you need a lipstick that just won't quit.
Laura Mercier's Velour Lovers Lip Colour, £22, comes in 12 matte shades of saucy-sounding colours, like hot pink Boudoir and Foreplay (the brightest red), the colour pay off matched only by its staying-power (www.johnlewis.com).
Can't decide on one shade? MAC Irresistibly Charming Pink Lip Gloss Kit, £26, consists of a quartet of rosy hues in handbag-ready mini tubes (www.maccosmetics.co.uk).
We can't cure your hangover (sorry), but there are ways to hide the evidence of your festive excess.
Halo Eye Make Up Remover Pads, £1.50, are soft, perfectly sized and soaked with lotion, so wiping away panda eyes is a breeze (www.superdrug.com).
If that's not enough to get those eye-bags to budge, try a couple of Masque Bar Dark Circle Reducer Eye Patches, currently reduced to £6 from £9.99 for five pairs (www.boots.com).