The simple make-up tricks to leave you looking fresh-faced – even if you're absolutely knackered

Annabel Jones - Sarah Brick
Annabel Jones - Sarah Brick

We all want to look our best over Christmas, but busy days and late nights can make it difficult to find time for self care. Fortunately, help is at hand. Here, we weigh in on your festive beauty dilemmas, plus share tricks and tips to achieving a healthy glow over the festive period.

I always look knackered in Christmas Day photos. Any advice?

It’s tempting to scamper down the stairs in your PJs and smudgy night-before make-up, but, trust me, when you look back at the family photos, you’ll wish you’d brushed your hair and applied concealer. Joan Collins you need not be, but the person holding the camera is unlikely to know his daylight from his flash, so be prepared.

Having done both nothing and all of it, I’ve found these few tricks work best. Uncomfortable though it may sound, rubbing an ice cube over your face after cleansing will do wonders for puffiness – think of it as wild swimming for your face, awakening droopy skin and bringing about a healthy glow.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can extend the benefits by massaging your contours with a metal cryo tool, placed in the freezer the night before, which will drain the lymph nodes of toxins and restore your jawline and cheekbones (make-up artists do this on models before shoots).

Make-up-wise, enhancing the eyes gives the most bang for your buck. Take a gel pencil to the upper waterline for definition. I like Victoria Beckham’s Satin Kajal Liners. Then – this is magic – line the bottom waterline with a creamy coloured shade, which will brighten instantly.

Annabel Jones - Sarah Brick
Annabel Jones - Sarah Brick

Mascara is obvious, but don’t forget its power. Foundation can wait, but do pop a dot of correcting concealer on the inner corner of your eyes where there is a groove and gently push (don’t rub) it in. Do the above and you will appear well rested, if not 10 years younger.

I’ll be cutting back on beauty appointments in the new year – which treatments should I drop and which can I try at home through Twixmas?

Hair colour should be applied in a salon for the best result, though you can certainly drag out the time between appointments to save money, and use touch-up sprays in between. Ditto eyebrow grooming – overplucking can end up being permanent, as eyebrow and eyelash hairs become sparser with age.

If you’re old enough to remember a time before shellac nail polish, you’ll be au fait with painting your own nails at home, so this is the ideal opportunity to sharpen up your skills. The best thing you can do is to oil your cuticles nightly to improve nail strength – CND’s SolarOil is unrivalled. Colour-wise, Dior’s Vernis Couture Colour Gel Shine Long Wear Nail Lacquer can’t be beaten for drying time, and its Nail Glow is a delightful clear with a pink hue.

All that said, a facial can be the most satisfying treatment to do yourself at home. Start with a meditative cleanse using a cream or balm to remove all traces of make-up, dirt and pollution, massaging it in for a few extra minutes than usual. If your skin is oily, follow that with a second cleanse using a gel or foam.

Annabel Jones
Annabel Jones

Facialists tell me exfoliation is the single best way to mimic a salon facial, unveiling brighter, perkier skin underneath. Don’t use anything too scratchy – I prefer daily exfoliating that gently peels, such as Dermalogica’s Microfoliant powder or, in liquid form, Ren’s Ready Steady Glow, an AHA-based toner that leaves skin radiant and silky smooth.

Apply a luxurious face mask tailored to the current condition of your skin, pop on under-eye patches – or cucumber slices – and relax. Remove with a hot flannel – a spa-like touch – and go on to apply your serum and night cream, which is another opportunity to massage your face, and if you do nothing else, will do you and your complexion the world of good.

I just need one simple thing to amp up my look on New Year’s Eve. Any tips?

Choose between eyes or lips. If you are confident enough to pull off red, this will make the most impact, but don’t dismiss variations on the hue, such as plum or even fuchsia, which are equally as pretty. Matte is the most elegant finish for bold lipstick, as shimmery tones tend to look outdated.

Take time to prep your lips by exfoliating them with a facecloth and apply a balm 10 minutes beforehand to ensure a smooth canvas. Novices should try a liquid lipstick, which will create a highly pigmented stain and need less, if any, touching up. Maybelline’s Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick has a range of reds for most undertones.

If you prefer to put the emphasis on your eyes, create a smoky eye look using a pencil first (this is the key to it lasting), blending it with a brush to diffuse the edges before applying your eyeshadow. I prefer deep brown to black, as it tends to be more flattering.

To make it extra special, use a finger and press in a similar toned sparkly eyeshadow on the centre of your eyelids and close to the tear duct. Charlotte Tilbury’s Luxury Palettes come in a mix of matte and subtle shimmering tones that look good on everybody.

Hair and Makeup by Elizabeth Hsieh

Relaxing ­radiance

Beauty picks
Beauty picks

Luxury eyeshadow palette in Queen of Glow


Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick


Satin Kajal Liner in Copper


Beauty picks
Beauty picks

Cryo Sticks


Ren Ready Steady Glow AHA Tonic


CND SolarOil cuticle oil


Read more: Three make-up party looks every 40-plus woman should know

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