What’s Going on December 11th?

So, you’ve got your outfit sorted and you’ve bought all the gifts; you’ve figured out what wine you’re taking to the Christmas party and you’ve made a mental list of all those awkward topics you need to avoid when making small talk with certain people (we don’t want another “when’s it due?” “I’m not pregnant” fiasco). But there’s one very important thing you still need to decide; what sort of face will you be painting on tonight? Will you be dramatic, or natural? Will you be feminine, or grungy? Will you focus on your eyes, your lips, or both? And what will you do with your hair!?

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This is a typical scenario in my world. I always find that I’ve planned everything perfectly for a looming social event, including preparing my outfit and accessories; but choices to do with make up and hair are always left until the last minute, and then I’m left panicking and desperately swimming through my make up drawer in desperation, trying to find the exact face which would match my ensemble.

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This Christmas, I’ve decided to enlist the help of the catwalk to prevent such last minute panics. I’m sure that the vast majority of people plan their make up well in advance, but it’s always helpful to look at what the top make up artists are doing at the moment in order to keep your look fresh and contemporary; so, here are some of my favourite beauty trends for you to experiment with this festive season.

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The classic smoky eye is always my go-too look for a night out, and this season has seen a rise in dramatic eye-shadow; with a twist. At Roberto Cavalli, Lucia Pieroni was one of many make-up artists to bring the classic look right up to date with a glossy finish, the careful blending of colour with the creamy texture making this eye more “oily” than smoky.

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Stick with bold, monochromatic hues, and don’t be afraid of being too heavy on the shadow; if you’re feeling particularly daring, follow in the footsteps of the likes of Gucci and try out a metallic burgundy.

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If all that colour is a bit much for you, never fear, because the key word here is “metallic;” another trend which has stormed the catwalk this season. Darker gunmental shades are also very edgy and contemporary, and are arguably easier to pull off than the brighter hues; look to Donna Karan for inspiration. Most importantly, perhaps, don’t be afraid to extend that eyeshadow right up to the brow; it is Christmas, after all.

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Speaking of brows, I think it hardly needs to be said where we stand when it comes to that particular feature. Dramatic brows have been big news for several seasons now, and this does not look set to change any time soon. If you’re going to go for the bold brow look, make sure you keep them strong and well-groomed; don’t be afraid to utilise brow make-up!

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“Pencils are great for women who want to draw in shape – filling brows will make them look fuller and define your eye area,” says Shavata Singh, Brow Guru. “To apply, use soft, sweeping movements.”

Those with naturally fuller brows should need little more than a brow colour to enhance shape and depth, whilst eyebrow polish will safely ensure that not a hair is blown out of place. However, the most important tip; stay on top of this (surprisingly important) part of your face. Once you’ve established a style which complements your features and facial shape, keep it up with daily maintenance, rather than as a weekly after thought.

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If the brows and the eyes are to be bold, the story is very different when it comes to the skin, as we have seen everywhere this season. Minimal make-up has dominated catwalk beauty for a very long time, and this autumn/winter it was all about pale, matte skin with very gentle contouring, often creating a very masculine look. Just look at the satin faces of models at Victoria Beckham, and Balmain.

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Of course, if you’re not America’s Next Top Model, the thought of “no make-up” might be slightly disconcerting; but I wouldn’t worry, because that “natural look” stuff is all a big fat lie. Make-up artists actually spent five times as long on the skin than on the rest of the make-up at Isabel Marant’s A/W show, proving that the “effortless” look is actually the one which demands the most effort. The trick is to apply the make-up so artfully that it appears you have naturally perfect skin; perhaps difficult without a team of trained artists following you around, but not impossible. The key here is subtlety; hold back on the blusher and let your bold eyes and feature brows do the talking.

Of course, I’m probably eyeliner’s biggest fan, and so this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention it’s role on the catwalks recently. Taking this summer’s Sixties trend one step further, this season has seen futuristic twists on that classic favourite, winged eyeliner. At Anna Sui, there was a more severe, graphic feel to that top lid, whilst regimented dots under the eyes add to the ordered, contemporary feel.

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Dior, meanwhile, shot us straight into the space age, with those deft swoops of eyeliner glimmering in silver, rather than black, and stained lips which bleed pink from the inside out.

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This stained, diffused look has taken over from matte, painted lips this season; as well as the idea of gradienting colour, as exemplified by Dior, a darker, berry stained effect has also become a huge hit on catwalks everywhere. I just love berry shades at this time of year, as I think they breath warmth into even the coldest, palest of faces, and they compliment all those richly coloured winter coats and jumpers. Just take a look at the models of Derek Lam, Prada and Vera Wang, and try to deny that those warm winter tones are perfect for the festive season.

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Of course, maybe you’re not feeling festive; maybe you’re feeling rebellious, full of angst over having to spend Christmas with old people who drink sherry and say “make sure you eat some sprouts.” What you need, my friend, is the grunge look; the “last night’s make-up look.” Have a peak at the edgy faces of Rodarte  and Missoni, the heavy liner thickly smudged beneath your lower lid in a way reminiscent of the 1980s.

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And, if all this nonsense just isn’t you, why not keep it classic, and go with that old Hollywood glam style. The black eyeliner, bright red lips and beehive hair at Dolce and Gabbana create a look of such timeless chic, almost anyone could pull it off (the crown is optional).

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Similarly, the models of Bottega Veneta look as though they have stepped straight out of the golden age of cinema, with defined eyes, perfectly painted red lips, and curled hair which could have been stolen from a 1940s beauty queen.

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Oh, and don’t forget, ’tis the season; so follow those magic-makers at Chanel, and add a bit of glitter. Go on, it’s Christmas.

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Happy December 11th!

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