Christmas beauty

Writer, make-up artist, and podcaster Madeleine Spencer shares the tips and tricks that will help your make-up to look fresh and modern this Christmas.

If youire a make-up fan, I suspect you'll fall into one of two camps over the festive period:

1) You are at a stage in your life where you can enjoy the process of getting ready, and will willing throw time and, potentially, money at making up your face.

2) You're the person who's cooking/looking after kids/caring for parents/working long hours, in which case it's more than likely you don't have the time to think about which shade of eyeshadow suits you best. 

Whichever of the two you are, I've got a few pointers – and product recommendations – that will help.

Glow-giving products – and how to use them

If you're someone who loves make-up and devotes time and energy to it, you probably already have a routine and won't be swayed. Which is ideal, really: make-up always looks best when the wearer is confident. But at this time of year, you might find you look a little tired, and your usual efforts a bit flat. If that's you, breathe life into your make-up with these three additions:

– Blush

If you find that your skin looks tired and wan, reach for blush to infuse it with subtle colour. Try Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blush – it comes in lots of hes, and the formula fuses beautifully with skin, lending it a lit-from-within look.

– Highlighter

Whether you like a powder highlighter (Troy Surratt's is amazing) or a liquid one (try Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, Perricone MD No Highlighter Highlighter, or Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Light Wand), highlighter is the ticket to making your skin look healthy.

Make sure you're blending the edges properly, either with a brush or by tapping with your fingers, and remember that you can always add a little highlighter to your foundation, and then pop more onto the high points of your face for extra glow.

Lip balm

Whatever lipstick you've gone for, try tapping a tiny bit of balm right in the centre to reflect light and make them look slightly juicier. Added bonus: no tightness if your lips are dry.

Speedy make-up that will perk up your face

There are two ways to offer a nod to Christmas with your make-up and, handily, neither take a long time. Wear one or the other, or combine the two for the ultimate quick party make-up look.


To keep glitter modern, try using a mix of sizes, pressed over your eyelid. Get your hands on Glossier Play's Glitter Gelee to make the process easy: each gel contains large and small glitter particles, and all you have to do is tap the glitter gel onto your eyelid, which should take you approximately 20 seconds. 

After that, add lashings of mascara (try Westman Atelier Eye Love You mascara or, alternatively, Nars Climax Mascara) for a big impact.

Red lipstick

This is the ultimate make-up win, because it packs a punch, but takes only a couple of minutes to apply.

Red lipstick

Here are my top red lipstick tips:

1) Make sure you even out your skin tone. If heat or wine tend to make you flush, apply some base to your skin first as red lipstick will only make pink in your skin look more pronounced. Try It Cosmetics CC cream for a beautiful, creamy finish.

2) Use blush, not bronzer. Hard though it may be, put down the bronzer brush on this occasion – red lipstick looks fresher without any bronzer. If you want to add colour, reach for some blush.

3) Care for lips. If you have dry skin on your lips, grab a cotton bud, dip it in lip balm, and roll it over your lips to help grab some of the flakes off as well as deeply nourishing before you apply your lipstick. Do this as early in your morning as possible so your lips have time to soak in the balm.

4) Soften the edges. A sharp edge to lipstick looks dated, so once you've painted your lips, take a cotton bud and gently roll it across the edges to diffuse the line.

5) Pick the right shade. You'll know if a red is right for you when it makes your skin look lively and the whites of your eyes whiter. If shopping for one, hold the bullet up in front of your lips and look in a mirror to see what the colour does to the rest of your face.

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(Above: Madeleine Spencer)

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