Ruth Griffin: 'Tis the season to add a little sparkle to your face

It’s party season! With Christmas get-togethers, dinners, parties and festive bashes, this is the busiest time of year for many of us. And with so many social commitments, it’s not surprising that some of us can feel a little bit overwhelmed by it all.

To make things that a bit easier, I’ve chosen achievable Christmas party looks, including those that can take you from dawn to desk to disco without too much fuss.

If, like me, getting glammed up is your thing, then you’ll love experimenting with these festive beauty looks and trying something a little different – and more sparkly – to your usual look. This is the season to experiment, so if you’re feeling bold opt for that bright lip colour, graphic liner or shimmery eyeshadow. After all, ’tis the season to sparkle.

Party prep

Before you apply product, prep your skin and achieve a glowy, ‘filtered’ visage with a face mask, like the excellent Seoulista Rosy Glow Primer Instant Photo-Ready Skin Mask, € 5.95. Pop on for five minutes before putting on your makeup and it’ll give you a lovely glowy sheen. If going out is the last thing you want to do this Christmas, this gem will give you a brilliant boost and put you in party mood.

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Four to try: Festive beauty looks

Chic and sleek

Best for: An uber elegant, sophisticated Christmas get-together where you want to look put-together from tip to toe.

The low-down: Glossy, expert makeup focusing on smooth skin, strong brows, buckets of mascara and a wet-look, sleek and chic hairdo.

Use: YSL All Hours Foundation, €44; mix with No.7 Custom Blend Highlighting Drops in White Gold, €14; Catrice Glam And Doll Mascara, €5.50; Isa Dora Brow Marker, €11.95; AlfaParf Style Stories Wet Gel, €13.25.

Difficulty Rating: 3/5

This makeup is deceptively difficult to do – it needs a good amount of time to blend properly. Hair is a piece of cake though – you’re done in seconds!


The goddess

Best for: A super-glam Christmas party that will go from dinner to dawn!

The low-down: A smoky, strong eye is teamed with a nude, glossy lip. Very little blush is used to make the eyes pop, but don’t be afraid to lash on the highlighter for a dewy glow.

Use: Charlotte Tilbury Starry Eye To Hypnotise Eyeshadow Palette, €75; e.l.f. Lip Plumping Gloss in Peach Bellini, €6.95; Ayu Radiant Skin Cream, €20; L’Oreal Elnett Electric Nights Hair Spray, €7.95.

Difficulty Rating: 4/5

A confident ability with makeup required here, especially if you find eye makeup tricky to apply.


Power pout

Best for: The makeup lover looking to make waves at their Christmas do.

The low-down: This is a new take on the classic Christmas red lip – it’s more of a berry red than a full-on siren red. You can choose to keep eyes smudged only at the lash roots to downplay the look, or you can go full metal jacket and bring the wings out wide!

Use: YSL All Hours Foundation, €44, and YSL Rouge Pur Couture High On Stars Lip, €34, in NO.13; Rimmel Magnif’eyes Mono Eyeshadow in Black Fender, €5.99; Frizz Ease 6 Effects Serum, €8.50.

Difficulty rating: 2/5

Super easy to do if you’re just going for the power red lip, and a more understated eye. Tiny bit more expertise needed if you’re choosing to wing out the eyeshadow, hair is easy-peasy – done in seconds – just work the serum through the hair and work into a side parting.


The all-rounder

Best for: A casual Christmas dinner with friends or your office party.

The low-down: Gold eyeshadow done right! Only a subtle amount of gold sheen is used on eyelids to give a seasonal hit of sparkle, and a gorgeous rosy pink lip tint make this a look universally appealing. Hair is given a hint of texture with boho waves to finish the laidback but ‘bring me anywhere’ Christmas look.

Use: Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Lip Duo Lipstick-and-Liner-in-1, €18, in Pink Pair; Urban Decay Naked Honey Eyeshadow Palette, €49; Toni & Guy Sea Salt Texturising Spray, €10.99

Difficulty Rating: 2/5

Really straightforward, especially if you’re going straight from your desk.

Ask the expert:  Suzie O’Neill

Suzie O’Neill


Suzie O’Neill is a renowned makeup artist and beauty tutor, and founder of Irish makeup company Ayu

What are your speedy makeup hacks?

If you’re heading out on the town after work, I would avoid setting your face with powder in the morning- this way you will be able to add a little more foundation and concealer where you need it later in the day without your makeup looking heavy or muddy.

What is your most-requested festive makeup look?

Nothing says Christmas glam quite like red lipstick and black eyeliner. I think it’s a real sign of the festive season and party time. Another really popular look for silly season is a gold eyeshadow on the eyelids; it totally amps up the glamour of any outfit. My top tip is to stick to sheens rather than glitter pigments, though.

What should we avoid when applying makeup for after-dark occasions?

Too many layers! At this time of year I find that women want to opt for a more glamorous look but sometimes that can mean they become heavy-handed. Too many layers can leave makeup looking heavy and over-done. My advice would be to do light layers, that way it will last all night and won’t look caked or slide off the face. The secret is in the application. The right brushes are your best tools! Use concealer for under-eye circles and blemishes rather than layering foundation. Keep your base light and add warmth with blush and bronze instead of a darker foundation shade. All of these little elements really make a difference.

Ayu makeup and vegan brushes are available from

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