If you have to listen to Bríd from payroll talk about her son’s professional hurling prospects over cheap white wine at the office Christmas party, you might as well ensure Bríd is positively squinting through the sparkle emitting from your make-up. When there isn’t light, we create it. That’s what beauty is for, especially at this time of year.
There are never really “rules” when it comes to make-up, but if there were – or if you’ve been imposing some restrictive ones on yourself – they don’t apply in December. There is no age limit on glitter. No eye shape directive on shimmer. No requirement that you have the generous lips of a 20-year-old model or the glowing domino teeth of an influencer before you can wear red lipstick. If it makes you feel joyful and brings light into the depths of the year, wear it. There. That’s the new rule.
There are several beauty launches that have sent a little thrill up my spine recently. You’ll find me wearing all of them at a Christmas party, politely nodding at tales of Bríd’s son’s athletic genius. If you’re intimidated by glitter, I suggest throwing yourself face-first into metallics instead. They’re just as light reflective and intense, but can be easier to apply. I’ve raved about Charlotte Tilbury Hypnotising Pop Shot in Cosmic Rocks (€30 at Brown Thomas) before, but that’s for good reason. It’s a multi-chrome eyeshadow, veering blue, purple or turquoise depending on how the light hits it. So, there’s no faffing about with lots of eyeshadows to create an astonishingly impactful eye.
Just add some black eyeliner and mascara, and you’re good to go. I still haven’t found a better all-round mascara than L’Oréal Paris Lash Paradise (€17 at pharmacies nationwide). It gives immense lift, length, and blackness without crumbling or moving, and it’s often on sale or reduced at this time of year.
Now, you can pair a dramatic eye like this with a shrieking red lip, of course. I like Mac Lustreglass lipstick in Put a Bow On It (€26 at Boots) – it’s a seasonal red with a semi-sheer but buildable finish, making it compatible with both strong eye looks and eating the canapés without worrying about your lipstick all evening. A strong metallic with a red lip is always going to signal a 1970s Studio 54 feel, which is no bad thing, but if you want the eyes to do all the talking, keep lips simple with a good nude tone.
Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Gloss in Bikini (€30 at victoriabeckhambeauty.com) is one I reach for often. This needs lip liner to balance it, but with the right liner for your natural lip tone, the beige gloss has just enough pinky undertones to ensure the ideal chic nude.
If you prefer a matte finish, Violette_FR Bisou Balm in Calisson (€30 at violettefr.com) is the perfect universal (but hitherto unattainable) French girl nude lip. It has a subtle 90s nude look against pale skin, and gains a peachier richness against deeper skin, but it suits everyone.