Look Party-Perfect (and Great the Morning After!)


For all its delights, the holiday season can leave you looking and feeling less than your best. After food-indulgent parties and consuming more spiked eggnog or mulled wine than you'd like to admit, you may not be looking forward to photos of yourself showing up on Facebook the next day, but not to worry: We've got a cheat sheet any woman can use to look party-perfect, plus bonus tips for looking great the morning after.

Freshen Up Your Complexion

If you are headed out to a party straight from the office and only have a few minutes to touch-up, reduce oily shine with blotting papers, and smooth out concealer that may have creased or diminished over the course of the day to brighten the eye area. Stash a makeup sponge and foundation in your makeup bag to spot-apply foundation where needed, such as redness peeking through around the nose, mouth, chin, or blemish-prone areas. Set by lightly dusting with pressed powder and voila!

Get Glowing

There's no quicker way to liven up a dull complexion than with a touch of shimmer applied to the high points of your face. In a party atmosphere, you can get away with more luminosity that will really accentuate cheekbones and perk up a dull complexion. Achieve this look with a luminous-finish blush, or your regular blush + highlighter dusted over cheeks. Check out Beautypedia for our top recommendations. And don't forget to touch up your blush a bit more than usual; in the dim light of a party atmosphere you don't want to look pale and washed out.

Emphasize Your Eyes

No matter how tired you really are, strategically applied eyeshadow can help hide your exhaustion and create alluring eyes at the same time. Contour your crease with a soft, matte brown eyeshadow to create subtle but elegant drama and blend in a deeper brown or black shade along the outer corner of your eye for a sultry, smoky look. Add a moderately thick swipe of eyeliner (a deep navy blue can help the whites of your eyes look whiter) and extra mascara or false eyelashes, and finish with cream-colored shimmer applied with a small brush around the inner corner of eyes for a sexy, bright-eyed look.

Note about false eyelashes: Don't be afraid of them. They can look gorgeous, and almost any M.A.C. counter will be glad to sell you a pair and teach you how to put them on at the same time!

Choose Your Lip Color Without Fear

Many women simply put on the same color they wear every day for their evening look. Big mistake (think of it like wearing workout clothes with high heels, it's just the wrong mix). A dress-up event means dressing up your eyes, face, and lips! This is the one time of year to consider wearing red lipstick or some other bright, intense color.

Of course, if the intensity just feels like too much, you can always try a rich nude-, pink-, or mauve-toned lipstick and layer it with a high-shine, sparkly gloss for more drama with a twist.

Don't want to worry about lipstick touch-ups? Try one of the long-wearing, 2-step lip paints, such as M.A.C. Pro Longwear, and go for the shimmering topcoat for an extra bit of glam.

If your lipstick tends to bleed, lock it in with an anti-feather lipliner like this one.

Revitalize Skin the Morning After

Upon waking the next day you may feel bloated, a bit hung-over, and tired, but your face doesn't have to show it. The first step to waking up beautiful actually starts the night before by washing your makeup off. If you're prone to coming home and conking out before you can make it through your nightly skin-care routine, keep cleansing wipes (see Beautypedia for our recommendations) on your nightstand to remove all your makeup, especially eye makeup. While not optimal for everyday use, at least you'll be less likely to break out or wake up with agitated skin and puffy eyes.

For even better results, find the energy to cleanse your face and remove eye makeup with a non-irritating makeup remover (this will definitely help your eyes be less puffy in the morning). Follow with your normal routine, plus a Paula's Choice antioxidant or retinol serum to help replenish dehydrated skin and increase firmness the next day.

Hide the Morning-After Dark Circles with Concealer

Look for a concealer that's light enough to cover dark circles convincingly, but not so light that it leaves a white mask around the eyes. A soft matte finish (rather than one that's too creamy or greasy) will stay on longer and resist creasing throughout the day. After concealer, you can dab on a sheer liquid highlighter to help reflect light away from naturally shadowed areas. Find products recommendations on Beautypedia.

Add a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen and a sweep of pink- or rose-toned blush and no one will suspect you were up too late (or had too much of a good time)! For more makeup secrets from Paula, watch her step-by-step makeup application videos!

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! Learn more at Shop Paula's Choice.

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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