The holiday party season is upon us, with endless opportunities to mix, mingle, and impress. Whether you're headed to an elegant office party or getting gussied up for a night out with friends, you want a look that will turn heads. Use these beauty tricks to make a big impression at every holiday event on your calendar this winter. You'll be the talk of the party in the best way possible, and keep the invites streaming in all season.
Perfect Your Smoldering Stare
You may associate the holidays with glitter and shine, but a smoldering stare is the perfect complement to a bright outfit or a lot of sparkling jewelry. Prep the eye area with concealer or eyeshadow primer for a flawless finish. Use black liner around the eye, and smudge till smooth. Try a medium brown topped with a light touch of gold for a fresh alternative to basic black.
If you're dying for dramatic wings, make sure to get an even shape by lightly pressing scotch tape to either side of your eye, leaving a small "V" shape uncovered. Adjust the tape as needed to get perfect symmetry without the hassle of adding or removing liner on each eye.
Highlight Your Eyes
You can use this trick in conjunction with inky outer corners, or as a low-key way to add a little shine to a simple holiday look. Instead of lining your eyes with a dark shade all the way around, make them pop with a light, metallic hue around the inner corners. Take your color inspiration from your skin tone. If you have fair skin, use a shimmery champagne liner. Gold glints beautifully against olive skin, and bronze is a stand-out pick against a dark skin tone.
For a dramatic party look, use a darker liner around the majority of the eye, excluding only the inner corners. Add a darker shadow as well, particularly if you're attending a swanky evening event. The contrast between light and dark will really help this look pop. When the rest of the eye is finished, apply metallic liner above and below the eye at the inside corner. Use a domed smudge brush to broaden your strokes and blend the liner in. The finished result will make your eyes look wider and more elegant.
Get Messy-Chic Hair
The side braid is another popular pick for a stylishly messy hairstyle. Start with a Katniss-style French braid on the opposite side of your head, particularly if you have layers or shorter hair that will fall free if you begin on the far side. Once you've reached the nape of your neck, braid loosely to the bottom. If your braid ends up too tight, just pull at the snug bits until you get the look you desire.Pop into the party looking cozy yet chic with an alluringly messy 'do. The messy bun is a party favorite that you can pull together in minutes and rock all night. To add a touch of sophistication to the look, start with a high ponytail on top of your head. Wrap your hair around in a loose bun and secure with bobby pins. A quick spritz of hair spray will tame the worst escapees, but remember that this look works best when it appears just a bit undone.
Go Nude With Your Gloss
Nude lips lend flawless style to any look. The key to achieving a truly nude appearance isn't actually going naked on your lips. Rather, you need to find the perfect shade for your skin tone. Nude lips look best with a glossy sheen. Avoid a matte lipstick that will leave you looking parched. A creamier product will plump up your lips to a kissable shine that's perfect for a stolen moment under the mistletoe.
To get the right tone, consider the shade of your skin. Nude lips should never be lighter than your skin tone, though you can go with an almost imperceptibly perfect match. If you have a light skin tone, choose a product with pink undertones. For darker skin, find something with orange undertones.
Freshen Up Winter Hands
Winter weather can wreak havoc on your hands, leaving them cracked and dry rather than soft and supple. Give yourself a luxurious DIY mani with a few simple steps. First, use a hand scrub to slough away dead skin. Nourish dry hands by applying your favorite moisturizer and slipping them into plastic bags. Wrap each one in a warm, damp towel, and let your hands sit for five minutes. Put your favorite show on before you begin, so you're not tempted to cut your time short.
Gently pat your hands dry when the time is up. Apply a drop of cuticle oil to each nail, and push your cuticles back while the skin is still soft from the moisturizing treatment. Shape your nails by filing from the outer edges toward the center, moving in one direction rather than back and forth. Finish your manicure with a base coat, two coats of polish, and a clear top coat. Try a trending winter nail color like blue or grey.
Sail Through the Season in a Simple Dress
If you have a packed party schedule this season, simplify things by splurging on one really great dress and wearing it to all your winter events. Avoid anything too showy, and your one-dress strategy won't stand out, even to those who happen to attend multiple parties with you. A form-flattering little black dress is a timeless go-to, but you can dress things up for the festivities with a pop of cobalt, a brave red, or a sheath of pristine white.
Slimming princess seams and skater skirts are popular holiday looks that works well for both casual dinner parties and more formal occasions. Steer away from sequins and lace to let your accessories take center stage. This gives you an easy way to differentiate your look for family dinners, work parties, and chic cocktail hours, while your unadorned frock racks up serious miles impressing crowds at each event.
Use Oversized Accents
Giant jewelry pieces are all the trend this year, with large earrings and big bold necklaces rocking the runway for the 2015 and 2016 season. Give your look a big boost with one of these pieces. A simple neckline immediately takes on added interest with a coil of oversized pearls, a thick braided adornment, or a plethora of broad gold chains. If you don't mind the weight, big earrings are a fool-proof way to turn heads this season.
If you want to try this trend without weighing yourself down with layers of jewelry, consider going with a big brooch. This time-tested piece is making a surprising comeback. Falling in line with the trend of the season, brooches are bigger than ever. You can easily opt out of other jewelry pieces with a stylish brooch that adds interest to your outfit.
Nourish Your Hair
There's nothing quite as envy-worthy as a thick mane of shining, healthy hair. If the winter weather is leaving your locks a little lackluster, try a DIY treatment to restore them to their full potential. Indoor heating can cause nearly as much damage as a day-long session with a low-key blow dryer. Pamper your hair with a deep conditioning mask. Choose a nourishing product with moisture-enhancing ingredients.
Coconut butter is high in fatty acids and proteins that will help condition your hair. It's also a great pick for reducing UV damage. Don't make the mistake of thinking the sun isn't doing harm in the winter just because it's less evident. A day on the ski slopes can leave your skin sunburned and your hair brittle. Jojoba oil sinks into the scalp and battles dry skin, banishing those unsightly flakes we all experience from time to time. Keratin is another prime ingredient to look for, as it will minimize frizz and boost shine.
Get Cascading Christmas Waves
If you want to let your long hair shine, leave it down with some elegant holiday waves. Don't shampoo the morning of the party for the best hold. Spray a two-inch section of hair lightly, then wrap around a curling iron at least one-and-a-quarter-inch thick. Rather than releasing the curl, slide the iron out carefully and pin the hair in place. Continue until you've curled all your hair. Let your hair cool completely while you attend to other elements of your party look.
When your hair is ready for its big debut, carefully remove the pins and brush your curls into place with a nylon and boar bristle brush. Arrange your curls over one shoulder for a modern look. Add a light shine spray to your finished tresses for a flawless sheen.
Apply a Fresh Touch of Scent
Your look isn't the only thing that can turn heads at the holiday party. An alluring scent is sure to garner some attention as well. Make sure your fragrance lasts all night by applying it properly. Fragrances last longer on fibers than on skin, making your hair a prime contender for perfume application. Instead of spraying your favorite scent directly on hair strands, spritz it on a comb. This will allow some of the alcohol to dissipate, so the scent you apply doesn't have a drying effect.
You should also dab scent on pulse points where the skin is warm and slightly moist. These spots are behind your ears, on the inside of your wrists, behind the knees, and on the inside of your elbows. Don't overdo it with a liberal application in each area. Instead, apply just a light touch. You want long-lasting diffusion that's enticing, but not overpowering.
Strut Comfortably in Heels
A pair of great heels will elongate your legs, show off shapely calves, and give you that sexy strut you can't replicate any other way. The problem with these stunning shoes is that their allure wears off when you start limping across the room. If you know a party is coming up, give your feet a break from heels for a couple of days beforehand, and you'll be fresh and ready for a long night of showing off. Make your favorite heels more comfortable with a few smart tricks, and you can show off those gams all night long without suffering for it the next day.
Gel insoles are the first step to adding comfort to your shoes. Select a product made just for heels. These insoles relieve pressure and help the ball of your foot stay in place so your feet don't slide forward and crush your toes. If you have a particular spot on your foot that's problematic, cover it with moleskin. You can cut the moleskin padding down to the proper size and shape for discrete protection from friction in a particular part of the shoe.
Get Luxurious Lashes
Long, thick lashes are a stunning complement to any type of eye makeup. Begin by curling your lashes close to the root. Hold the curler in place for a few seconds at the base of your lashes, then move the curler out and press again. Continue once or twice more depending on the length of your lashes.
Apply two to three coats of your favorite mascara. Wiggle the wand as you move away from the roots for even application that's not clumpy. Don't rush the process. Give your mascara about two minutes to dry between coats, and comb the tips lightly with an eyelash comb between applications. For added pop, glue two or three false eyelashes to the corners of your eyes. This will subtly pump up your lashes without a full-on falsie application.
Whether you try one tip or snag a handful of helpful ideas, this list is packed with strategies that will help you head out in stunning style, from your carefully coiffed tresses to your perfectly padded toes. Now give yourself a little pampering before the big night, and get ready to watch handsome heads snap around as you glide through the room in scintillating style!