Sarah Tolan: Get prepared for the office party

Sarah Tolan. Pic: Greg Macvean
Sarah Tolan. Pic: Greg Macvean
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ASIDE from being the season to be jolly, this time of year is also all about the festivities with office parties and family gatherings. And when it comes to party make-up, this can be as full-on or as natural as you feel comfortable wearing. But chances are, no matter what the look, you will want it to last into the night. And there are a few beauty tools to help.

If you’re going out straight from the office, prepping your skin in the morning can help your make-up stay in place beyond your working day. And whether you are going out fresh faced or not, primer is the ideal product to achieve this. It helps to smooth out the appearance of skin, with some offering oil absorption to help keep the shine at bay. Primers also help to prolong make-up, with Benefit’s Stay Flawless primer, £24.50, promising to help make-up stay in place for up to 15 hours.

Of course, different primers work for different skin types and give a variety of results so do shop about and try before you buy. There is a mineral primer by US brand Hourglass, available in Space NK in Harvey Nichols which deserves a mention as it claims to be waterproof so perfect for any Scottish sleet or drizzle.

For ladies short on time but still looking to dial up the glamour with a more dramatic eye make-up look, then my advice would be to try shadow sticks. These offer fuss-free speedy application on account of their design and there is a kaleidoscope of colours out there. Deserving a special mention is Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Bronze from the recently launched Old Hollywood collection, £20, as well as the Tuxedo Black from the same range which is ideal for speedily creating that party make-up favourite – the smokey eye look.

Certain shades impact on different eye colours with warmer shades looking particularly pretty on those with blue eyes. All manner of plums and purples are perfect for those with green eyes and those with brown eyes are in the fortunate position of suiting everything. But this is not a hard and fast rule so if you prefer, stick with your favourite shade.

For some, festive make-up wouldn’t be complete without some sort of sparkle and there are plenty of ways to add this depending on your taste, time and make-up capabilities. Tom Ford eye shadow palettes are a good way to add some glitter to eyes without looking overdone. The brand has recently launched four new eye quads.

Nail polishes are another great and subtle way to include this look. Beauty brand Illamasqua does an iridescent nail polish called Hemlock, £14.50 which looks lovely on its own or indeed on top of a darker base shade.

And Butter London’s Illusionist Collection is another trio of topcoats ideal for this look. Some may even like to add some sparkle to the décolletage, arms and legs and shimmery dry oils such as Michael Kor’s Liquid Shimmer are the way to achieve this.

And then there’s your crowning glory – your hair. Going out straight from work, rub a small amount of Aveda’s Pure Abundance Hair Potion, £19, into the roots of dry hair. This not only absorbs excess oil but also adds lift and volume.

Or if you have time to style, there are hair tools to help and the Babyliss Big Hair, £45, available via Boots has revolutionised my own hair routine. Roughly dry hair about 80 per cent then separate into sections and use this tool to dry the rest.

Alternatively, leave it to the experts and book yourself for a professional blow dry. For the month of December, Broughton Place Hair and Beauty is offering Evening News readers 15 per cent off either the Broughton or Chelsea blow dry or party-up do. Popular with the likes of Kate Middleton, the Chelsea blow dry begins with an intense conditioning treatment followed by blow drying with plenty of volume into the root of the hair. Contact the salon on 0131-556 4478 to find out more.

And to combat hectic party schedule, why not book yourself in for a spa visit? The All Wrapped Up spa package at the One Spa at the Sheraton Hotel begins with lymphatic skin brushing and body exfoliation before the Ultimate Body Wrap with Algae or Marine Mud to eliminate toxins.

The package includes a head and back massage, as well as use of the spa’s Thermal Suite and Hydropool. It is available for £125 (usually £160) and is valid Monday to Friday until December 31. For further information visit