Dramatic makeup for the party season

Caroline Cassidy

A show-stopping dress and perfectly coiffed do aren't all you'll need for the Christmas party season - make-up is the ideal way to add drama to your outfit. If, however, you're unsure where to start or what products to choose from the multitude on the shelves, here are a few tips to help you achieve the right look.

Christmas party makeup tips
Christmas party makeup tips

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Metallics and shimmering peacock colours are bang on trend this winter, and they're a perfect combination for unmissable eyes. Combining colours like MAC's Deep Truth blue for the inner corners with greener tones, and sweep right up to the eyebrow for an iridescent shimmer reminiscent of peacock plumage. If that's too dark for your taste, deeper tones can softened by mixing with contrasting metallics like lilac and gold to create an equally dramatic look. Keep other makeup to a minimum so that the focus is on your eyes.

The catwalks have also been awash with geometric lines and prints this year, and the likes of Antonio Marras, Lanvin and Armani embraced the trend in makeup too. To get the look, use a soft grey shadow for the lids, then arm yourself with a bold black product like Estee Lauder's Quick-Thick Eyeliner. Trace the upper lash line, creating a wing effect at the outer corner, then continue the line along the eyelid crease back towards the inner corner. It's a look that works really well for a chic LBD or retro outfit, and be kept sharp or smudged depending on your preference.

As always, smoky eyes are set to be a hot party season trend, whether you choose a traditional sooty shade or brighten things up with a metallic or sunset hue. To achieve this sexy look, use a dark shade to line the upper and lower lash lines, fill the area up to the eyelid crease with a medium shade, and use the softest, lightest colour to extend up to the brow bones as a highlighting effect. Finally touch up the darkest colour as eyeliner and smudge to get that sultry smoky look and boost lashes with an extension effect mascara.

If you're struggling to get the smoky effect right, Max Factor's Smoky Eye Effect Eyeshadow is a double-ended tool that makes it easier than ever to get right and comes in a variety of colour palettes.

For those who like a dewy glow, the just-in-from-the-cold look is all the rage. Apply concealer and foundation or BB cream to even the skin tone, then apply a coral blush (try Bobbie Brown's Pot Rouge cream blush for a range of natural colours) just below the apples and cheekbones for winter rosy cheeks, and choose the same colour for your lips, ideally a shade slightly deeper than your natural lip colour.

But for anyone that has limited time or needs a quick day-to-evening makeup lift, that seasonal favourite, red lipstick, is a party must-have. It's the quickest way to a dramatic look that requires very little effort, as you'll want to keep your remaining makeup to a minimum. And this year, you can choose anything from high gloss to scarlet matte or even a vampire-like oxblood hue to ensure all eyes are on you this Christmas.