Easiest-Ever Hair and Makeup for Parties
Written by: Brianna Peters
Updated: December 21, 2022
Photo courtesy of Heather Hazzan/The Licensing Project
Sometimes the most glamorous look is the simplest. “Holiday parties are breeding grounds for bad angles and unflattering group selfies,” says New York style guru Jenna Lyons, who founded LoveSeen lashes. “So I keep it easy with a red lip and clean eye.” New York makeup artist and Westman Atelier founder Gucci Westman is feeling similar vibes: “The contrast between beautiful, luminous skin and a bold lip is just so chic,” she says. Similarly, top LA hairstylist Mark Townsend says it’s the little details—a great pin, an extra boost of shine—that make a look feel festive.
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Westman Atelier Lip Suede goop, $85SHOP NOW
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Get Your Skin in Shape
Everything about your skin looks better when you exfoliate, and what makeup you do use goes on more evenly (and thus looks more natural). “I exfoliate—I love GOOPGLOW Microderm—first to get rid of dead skin cells and leave behind a polished, healthy glow,” says Westman.
Another brilliant premakeup secret: nanocurrent, particularly the event-prep facial treatment from ZIIP. Legendary electric aesthetician Melanie Simon developed ZIIP so clients could give themselves the firming, brightening, smoothing treatments that they came to her for before important events; it works with your phone to deliver electrical treatments that target different skin concerns from sagging and dullness to breakouts. Simon has just updated her offerings—all ZIIP users now have access to a library full of brand-new facials and longer-term treatment plans—and they’re all amazing, but we’re telling you the five-day Event Prep is exceptional when you want your skin to really shine.
Makeup artist Jillian Dempsey’s secret for waking up her clients’ skin has become a goop-staffer obsession: Smooth your skin with GOOPGENES face oil, slap one of Dempsey’s gel masks under each eye, and lift and firm your skin with her vibrating gold roller. The effect is stunning—and lasts all night.
This isn’t just for the health of your skin: Moisturizer and eye cream help plump up skin and smooth wrinkles temporarily, plus they help foundation and concealer blend much more seamlessly.
Touch Up Your Skin
The boost your skin gets from moisturizer is enough for some people; others like a faintly gleamy primer (the one from RMS is beautiful). Then, depending on your skin and your taste, you can smooth on foundation or simply touch up dark or red spots. “I like to use a concealer brush with my Vital Skin foundation stick to cover redness or blemishes,” says Westman. “If you need more, it’s easy to add.”
Wake Up Your Eyes
With natural skin and a bold lip, subtly defined eyes look best. The trick: First, smooth liquid eyeliner between the roots of your lashes along the outer half of your upper lids. Clean up the line with a Q-tip, then apply a coat of mascara.
Alternately, the chicest set of false lashes ever—by LoveSeen, from Jenna Lyons and top makeup artist Troi Ollivierre—obviates the need for mascara or liner, and the look is incredible. “I love the Cate lashes for a natural oomph,” says Lyons, who also created a (genius, incredibly easy) tool for putting them on.
Fill in and brush up brows using brow pencil or gel. “Brows frame your face, so don’t forget them,” says Westman.
Bring the Party
Glide sheeny, pearlescent highlighter along the tops of your cheekbones, the inner corners of your eyes, your Cupid’s bow, and the bridge of your nose. You can also dab a bit on eyelids for a glassy effect. “The right highlight gives you the prettiest glow,” says Westman.
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Golden peachy pinkWestman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlighter
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The final touch is, of course, a lip. Westman loves a bold one; her Lip Suede includes four shades, all beautiful reds and pinks. “Use the brush for classic, gorgeous shape and texture,” she says. “And remember you can always use a dash of it on your cheeks to pull everything together.” If serious lipstick isn’t your jam, tinted gloss is so pretty; we’re obsessed with Tower 28’s Pistachio, a semisheer milky nude pink. And tinted lip balm—the new Tomato shade in the also-beautifully-priced goop lip trio is fantastic—is all you need.
Guarantee a Good Hair Night
Before you even step into the shower, pretreat your hair for extra shine and fantastic texture. Made with cuticle-sealing vitamin C, omega-rich sea buckthorn oil, and shine-boosting plumeria monoi oil, the goop serum goes on 20 minutes before you shampoo for results you won’t believe: less frizz and amazing shine and texture, plus it moisturizes and helps detangle, no matter your hair type or texture. Afterward, do your routine, from shampoo and conditioner (these ultramoisturizing ones are just so good) to drying (use a hair towel to tamp down frizz further) and styling as usual.
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Long and Shiny
To give your hair beautiful texture and shape, style your hair in a loose wave or bouncy curl (we love the NuMe wand because it has five different attachments to match the style you’re going for). Section your hair into one-inch sections, curling one section at a time. Hold the wand facing down, wrap a section of hair around it for about five seconds, and release; wrap hair in the opposite direction for the next section, and continue to alternate directions section by section as you go. When you’ve done your entire head, shake your hair out and comb your fingers through it. Townsend loves to use the goop hair serum as a beautiful finishing touch for ends. “It gives hair a boost of shine and softens frizz,” he says.
“For a messy topknot, mist salt spray throughout your hair and then scrunch it with your hands to give it texture,” says Townsend. Then gather it up into a high ponytail, wrap your hair around the base of the ponytail, and stick a (glamorous) hairpin in to secure it, letting several pieces fall: “A few flyaways are romantic and chic,” says Townsend. If you need a bit more control, try braiding your ponytail first before you wrap it around the base. “It looks so intricate and detailed,” he says.
For a half-up, half-down look, spritz a little dry shampoo into your roots. “Dry shampoo is amazing for more fullness or just a little zhuzh,” says Townsend. Section your hair from just above your ears and pull the whole piece back, twisting it into a bun. Secure the bun with a large pin or clip. If you’re worried about the pin slipping, Townsend likes to coat the pin in a bit of dry shampoo for more grip.
Add an Accessory
Add instant glamour with a headband or pins, says Townsend: “I love a headband with hair that’s down—especially with a pretty detail like crystal embellishments or velvet. You don’t need to use it to slick your hair back, so leave hair as is and just place it on the top of your head right behind your ears.” Townsend also loves using gold or silver bobby pins and letting them show. “You don’t have to spend time hiding bobby pins anymore,” he says. “I love that it adds a little unsuspected bit of sparkle.”