Beauty confidential: The secrets of sophisticated party make-up, by the experts

Grown-up glamour: The secrets of sophisticated party make-up, by the experts

We’re all allowed a bit of sparkle at Christmas, but it’s important not to overdo it. Here, top make-up artists come to the rescue with face-saving tips, tricks and products for a grown-up party look, whatever your age.

Expert tips: We show you how to look glamorous whatever your age

Expert tips: We show you how to look glamorous whatever your age

I”m over 60 – can I get away with sexy party eyes

Make-up queen Laura Mercier says: ‘The older we get, the more visible the signs of ageing become and red veins can begin to appear on the eyelids.

‘A great tip to disguise this is to use a flesh-toned eye primer or base — try Laura Mercier Eye Basics (20.50, SpaceNK) — which works as a foundation.

‘It cancels out the redness, veins and discolouration and also serves as a base to your eyeshadow, ensuring it goes on more smoothly and lasts longer.

‘You don’t have to avoid eye make-up if your eyelids have become crepey and lined — I find matte colours and cream shadows work really well.

‘Avoid shadows that are shimmery, pearly or frosty because they attract attention to crepey lids. The idea is to keep colour emphasis close to your lashes, rather than focusing attention on the lid.’

Liz Pugh, a make-up artist with Avon, suggests mixing concealer with eye cream to diffuse the appearance of any lines.

‘Add a little definition by blending a taupe shade of eye shadow into the socket. Apply a lighter shade under the brow bone to lift the eye,’ she says.

‘For a more glamorous look, draw a line close to the lashes from the centre to the outer corner — try Avon Glimmerstick Diamonds Eyeliner in sparkling silver (3, This will give you all the sparkle you need.’

Laura Mercier eye basics Bobbi Brown So Laque! ultra shine

Laura Mercier eye basics, Bobbi Brown”s rich lip colour Old Hollywood and So Laque! ultra shine

I look like a ghost without blusher, but how to I avoid looking like a clown I”m 53.

‘Highlighting and contouring is the easiest way to soften the hands of time and is especially flattering on women in their 50s,’ says Lori Taylor, Smashbox lead make-up artist.

‘Add dimension by contouring the hollows of the cheek, the side of the nose and jawline. Smashbox Blush Rush in silhouette (20, Debenhams) is a pale apricot shade and perfect for subtle contouring. Create subtle highlighting to the top of the cheekbones, above the brow and centre of the face by choosing colours with a subtle sheen — this will help define cheekbones and give a plumping effect.

‘Then add a youthful flush to the apples of your cheek by choosing colours that are slightly deeper than your natural skin tone. A pale bronzer used sparingly will really help create a healthy glow.’

How can I create a statement pout, but not look scary Soften the hands of time: Smashbox Blush Rush in Silhouette

Soften the hands of time: Smashbox Blush Rush in Silhouette

Make-up guru Bobbi Brown says: ‘You need to feel confident about the shade you’ve chosen. The darker your lip tone, the deeper shade you should use. If your lips are pale, bright red is a great option. Medium-toned lips look best with a warm red or brick shade. Dark lips can handle a deep red, raisin or berry shade.

‘Instead of applying it directly from the tube, use a lip brush to paint the colour on to your lips, so you can control how much you apply.’

Make-up artist Georgina Pelosi suggests experimenting with different shades of red to find one that complements your skin tone. ‘A creamy, semi-matte formula looks softer and more modern than a flat, matte lipstick,’ she says.

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color SPF 12 (18, in Old Hollywood is a cherry red. Karen Alder TRUST Lipstick (8,; 0800 50 40 30) is vibrant with a velvety finish — and all proceeds go to the Prince’s Trust.

Can I get my nails party-ready straight from the office

Marina Sandoval, the celebrity manicurist who was responsible for the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding day manicure, suggests the following insider’s trick for professional looking party nails.

‘Paint your nails in the morning (or the night before if you are pushed for time) in a strong shade — a bright, bold red such as Bourjois So Laque polish in Rouge Escarpin No 24 (5.99, Superdrug) — and allow to dry thoroughly.

‘Then spice it up for your evening out by adding a touch of clear sparkly polish before you go out.’

Try 17 Nail Xtras Glitter Top Coat (3.99, Boots), which can be used over a colour or on its own, for a glittery effect.


LOOK: The Perfume Shop is a great place to go for gift ideas, deals and offers, and they also provide a gift-wrapping service. This year’s Christmas must-haves include a JustinBieber Someday gift set for 29.99, and a limited-edition Harajuku Lovers Jingle G for 12.50 — a perfume decorated with a cute collectabledoll.

There are 240 stores across the country — or avoid the crowds and shop online from home by visiting

Perfect for Beliebers: Justin Bieber Someday Gift Set Pucker-up Beliebers: Justin Bieber Someday Gift Set and Bobbi Brown

Pucker-up, Beliebers: Justin Bieber Someday Gift Set and Bobbi Brown”s 20th Anniversary Lip Palette

BOOK: Your Christmas spray tan session. It’s worth getting one proper salon spray tan then keeping up the colour with an at-home product. Celebrity tanning expert James Read recommends using a product four days after a salon tan.

He rates Sienna X eXtend and perfect gradual tan (15.95,, which will lift your tan and help it last longer.

TRY: The new Charles Worthington salontreatments are as close as it gets to a professional deep conditioning treatment. The Strength and Repair kit (19.99, Boots) is great for hair that’s suffering from over-styling or heat damage. There are three products to detox and rejuvenate hair — perfect for pre-party pampering.

BUY: Tailor-made for the lipstick lover, Bobbi Brown 20th Anniversary Lip Palette (43, Bobbi Brown counters; has all the colours you’ll ever need. This collector’s edition features the ten original colours launched by Bobbi in 1991 and ten bang-up-to-date shades.

Sienna X eXtend and perfect gradual tan Sienna X eXtend and perfect gradual tan and Charles Worthington The Strength and Repair kit

Sienna X eXtend and perfect gradual tan and Charles Worthington The Strength and Repair kit


Eylure Pre-glued Ready To Wear False Eyelashes (5.25, Boots)

for party lashes, use two strips. But if you prefer a more natural look, use individual lashes or cut up striplashes and place a few in the outer corners of your eyes.

Look Oomph Lash Mascara (7, Superdrug)

Gives a false lash effect. The Look range of 100-plus beauty essentials has been designed by Look magazine, with profits going to the charity Look Good . . . Feel Better, which supports women with cancer.

Eylure Pre-glued Ready To Wear False Eyelashes

Eylure Pre-glued Ready To Wear False Eyelashes

17 Magnetized Nail Polish (5.99, Boots)

This polish contains fine metal particles. Apply and, while it’s wet, hover the magnet in the cap over your nails and watch the effect appear.

Essential Colours Smokey Eyes (7, M&S)

A handy little kit of three eyeshadows, mascara, eyeliner and a step-by-step guide to achieving perfect smoky eyes.

Bourjois Eyeshadow Pearls (8.99, Boots)

Four combinations of five shades. Stays on all day.

Ooomph lashes Ooomph lashes and Tess Daly Tricks of The Trade Gloss Lip Balm

From left: Ooomph lashes and Tess Daly Tricks of The Trade Gloss Lip Balm

Lipsy Daytime Doll Palette

Lipsy Daytime Doll Palette

Tess Daly Tricks of the Trade Gloss Lip Balm (5, M&S)

elegant balm in a gold casing. Apply like lipstick for a non-sticky, moisturising gloss.

Studio London Nail It Collection (9.99, Superdrug)

seven polishes, two special effects top coats, clear top coat and curved nail file.

Accessorize Baked Trio Eyeshadow

Accessorize Baked Trio Eyeshadow

Lipsy Daytime Doll Palette (8, Boots)

compact palette from a brand new range, this contains six eyeshadows, two blushers and an eyeshadow brush, all in a striking zebra print case.

Accessorize Baked Trio Eyeshadow (6, Superdrug)

highly pigmented eyeshadows with threeshades each. Choose from eight colourways. Use with a damp eyeliner brush to define eyes or dry to smooth all over the lids.

Maybelline New York Dream Matte Mousse in sun bronze (7.69, Boots)

Smooth over the face for a winter glow. Gives a dewy look.