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How To Get Party-Ready In Minutes

The best beauty tips for when you’re rushing to impromptu drinks (or when you just… have kids)

By Sherine Youssef

I’m a planner who likes plenty of notice, which means getting an invitation to a last-minute festive soirée is not my idea of a good time. But it happens! (And those events are usually the most fun.) So, whether you’re making a cameo at a hastily put-together shindig, or just can’t be bothered to go through the whole process (me, once January rolls around), I’ve pulled together an express-beauty tip sheet for us. Cheers!

Kudos to you if you’re a regular body moisturiser person (I am not), as your limbs are probably already in show-off condition. For the rest of us, exfoliate vigorously in the shower to buff off dead skin cells and get blood pumping, and follow with lashings of post-shower body moisturiser or oil for gleam. Got another five? Layer a body highlighter over key spots: décolletage, shoulders, down the arms, on shins and the tops of feet.

TRY Epzen Unwind Shower Balm is one of my favourite finds of 2022; it feels like it was made for me. You apply it in the shower, after cleansing, and it nixes the need for post-shower moisturiser.

If you need to add volume, now, you have options: go old-school and do some backcombing, use a crimper (remember those?) on a few small sections around the crown (stay close to the roots), or mist a root lifter on your entire head of hair and blast with a hairdryer until dry. And if you’re attending a party tomorrow, then tonight, before bed, brush all of your hair to the front hairline and loosely tie it up with a scrunchie. When it comes to styling, my go-to is the sleek, centre-part bun or ponytail because it’s off my face, it reduces the chance of frizz, and I can forget about it.

TRY If you’re blow-drying, KMS Therma Shape Quick Blow-dry Spray really does cut down the time it takes for hair to go from damp to bone-dry.

It’s a fact that makeup sits better on skin that’s smooth and moisturised, so if it’s the day-of, exfoliate (with a scrub, peel or mask that you’ve used before—now is not the time to experiment!) and follow with a hydrating serum and moisturiser, plus eye cream. If you have 24 hours, go to bed with an exfoliating serum on your face, and wake up to skin that’s considerably more even. And a fast face massage right before applying makeup will reap glowing dividends. After applying a serum, moisturiser or face oil, use your fingertips to do a quick knead to get the blood moving and perk up your whole face.

TRY Arcona Cranberry Gommage and GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator are two of my all-time favourite exfoliators. And Go-To Transformazing Sheet Mask makes for excellent pre-makeup prep.



When you’re pressed for time, a skin tint or tinted moisturiser is more low-risk than a full-on foundation, and trust me, skin always looks better when it has as little coverage as possible. Use your fingers for the sheerest application, or a foundation brush or sponge for medium to fuller coverage. When it comes to concealer, forget the Instagram influencer trickery and only apply it where absolutely needed to camouflage spots or redness.

TRY L’Oréal Paris True Match Nude Tinted Serum is so damn good, I suggest having it on standby year-round. And I’ve used my TULA Rose Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm down to the nub.

If you want your eyeshadow to last all night, you’ll need to remove the oil from your eyelids (cleanse gently or wipe with a cotton swab, and follow with eyeshadow primer) before going in with eyeshadow. I prefer cream eyeshadows because they’re usually richly pigmented, have less fall-out, are long-lasting and easier to apply— I can dab on and blend with my finger for a fast smoky eye. And if you’re more of an eyeliner girl, something as simple as swapping out your trusty black for a plum, burgundy or navy shade, can have an instant, “Wow, you’ve done something different!” effect.

TRY MECCA MAX Zoom Shadow Stick Matte if you prefer a matte finish, or Natio Glide On Eyeshadow Stick if you like some shimmer (me! I like shimmer!).

If you have 10 seconds, run a clear gel through your brows to put them in place (and keep them there). Got 30 seconds? Use a tinted gel, which will deposit some colour and hold hairs in place. And if you have longer, whip out your go-to brow product and carefully craft your perfect arches. (My tip: always go for a shade slightly lighter than your brows to avoid any Cruella comparisons.)

TRY Benefit Gimme Brow+ is iconic for good reason: not only does it offer hold and colour, it also adds tiny fibres to brows for lush fullness. I love this.

LIPS & CHEEKS When you’re already late for the party, skip the contouring and bronzing (these are two you definitely don’t want to rush through) and go straight to blush. Don’t leave home without blush! A combo lip/blush product is a timesaver (and clutch space-saver), and I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you of the makeup mantra we beauty editors love to repeat: a bright lip is an instant game changer. Seriously, you could brush your brows and slick on some lipstick, and head out.

TRY Charlotte Tilbury Tinted Love has earned a spot in my car for last-minute touch-ups.

NAILS You could get a gel mani, and that should see you through a couple of weeks of cocktail parties. If your nails are naturally strong and in tip top shape (I’m jealous), I would buff and go bare (it’s Anna Wintour’s signature).

TRY Essie make two of my favourite nail products: Expressie dries in around one minute (I timed it), and Hard to Resist Nail Strengthener leaves behind the sheerest pink tint that means any chips won’t be so obvious.

How a beauty PR gets ready for party season…

December and January are always busy for Jessy Marshall, director and founder of boutique PR agency Hive HQ. Marshall, whose clients include Naked Sundays, Bangn Body, Straand, Flavedo + Albedo and Gem, is always polished and pulled-together. With three-to-four work and personal events every week over the festive season, I asked her how she maintains her look.

PLAN: As I’m often going from day to night with no time in between, I schedule my beauty treatments accordingly, and try to use multipurpose products where possible. Something like Naked Sundays Lip Oil is a daytime lip balm and a nighttime tint.

THE NIGHT BEFORE: I sleep in Beauté Pacifique Instant Hydrating Masque—it gives me that extra glow.

THE DAY OF: I Am Beauty Studio is right next door to our office, so I’ll do a 20 minute LED session for an instant pick-me-up and bright skin.

MY SIGNATURE LOOK: A bare eyelid with a liner to shape my eye, and mascara for a full lash.

MY GO-TO HAIR STYLE: I have naturally frizzy hair, so I prefer a wave in it to give my hair movement. Most weeks, I get a blow dry and it lasts quite well, but if I need a quick fix or to stretch it out, evo Haze Styling Powder adds texture and lift.

IN MY BAG: My lip oil and Nars Blush in Bumpy Ride (I love a blush moment).

BEFORE BED & THE MORNING AFTER: Even if it’s late and I’m exhausted, I always cleanse my face and apply my skincare. The next day, I’ll up the hydration to replenish—Bangn Body Firming & Brightening Beauty Treatment is the perfect serum (with SPF over the top), and Holme Beauty Primer if I need a bit more “fresh face” happening.


BY Sherine Youssef

Sherine Youssef is a freelance journalist and co-founder of gloss etc who loves a festive soirée... with plenty of warning

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