Any trip home for the festive season requires a calculated effort on the packing front. Fitting a week’s worth of loungewear and cosy knits in around carefully wrapped presents and those select pieces of laundry you trust only to your mum’s washing machine [wisdom] leaves little room for anything more than the bare necessities when it comes to beauty. For this reason I cultivate a skincare edit consisted almost entirely of samples and miniatures in order to efficiently accommodate the many requirements for a suitably festive makeup look.


I’ve been trialling a few different primers since I finished up my bottle of SOAP & GLORY’s Hocus Focus* [which starred in a couple of the most recent editions of Grace’s Face], but when it comes to primers I have a definite love/hate relationship, and few made the cut beyond a couple of uses. I hit gold however with NO7’s Airbrush Away Primer, which is one of the best primers I’ve ever used [and totally affordable]. The weightless, mousse-like formula glides smoothly onto skin, resulting in a velvety soft finish that truly revolutionises consequent makeup application. What’s more, the formula has an ‘airbrush’ effect that dramatically reduces the appearance of exposed pores, scars, and pigmentation. If I need coverage for blemishes or redness around my nose then I’m reaching for the BOBBI BROWN Creamy Concealer Kit*, which has surprisingly powerful camouflage effect for so sheer a texture. It also handily doubles up as an under-eye brightener, and contains a silky setting powder that allows the cream concealer to be layered up for prolonged last. 

CLARINS’ Everlasting Foundation is my current go-to base. It’s really light and silky so feels completely weightless and requires minimal blending, but also has amazing coverage that completely cancels out redness. The result is a flawless ‘second-skin’ effect that creates the appearance of a naturally fresh, clear complexion without looking like you’re wearing foundation. The effect is intensified when topped up with a liberal dusting of EVE LOM’s Sheer Radiance Translucent Powder*, which adds just a hint of glow, whilst preventing unwanted shine. If you’re of the belief that setting powder is old-school and unnecessary then this one will completely convert you - I’d hugely recommend it to anyone who needs powder, but hates the dry, chalky look that so many result in.

If a full contouring look isn't really your thing, and natural sculpting is what you seek then KEVYN AUCOIN’s The Sculpting Powder provides just a hint of definition. Whilst I prefer ILLAMASQUA's Cream Pigment in Hollow for its superior ease of use and longevity, I can see why The Sculpting Powder is well-loved and frequently recommended; the delicate taupe-grey shade is perfect for sculpting a pale complexion. Come winter, preventing an inevitably white, washed-out complexion calls for a dusting of bronzer that adds just a subtle hint of warmth - in contrast to summer’s deep, sun-warmed glow. A large, fluffy powder brush paired with CLARINS’ Bronzing Compact* provides a strategic hint of colour without veering towards a tangoed effect. CHARLOTTE TILBURY’s Cheek to Chic Blusher in Sex on Fire* has fast become one of my favourite cheek colours of all time. I’m quite convinced that this warm nudish-pink shade looks good on anyone - it really serves to enhance eye colour and the formula is so finely milled that you don't have to worry about overloading your cheeks with colour.


I’ve been flitting between several brow options this winter season, but finally settled with an old favourite in SUQQU’s Balancing Eyebrow Palette. Everything about this palette is perfect, from the light, silky texture of the powders through to the short, firm bristles of the included brush, which deposits product perfectly for a natural and buildable finish. I’ve taken to brushing a little shade and volume into my brows using GLOSSIER’s Boy Brow - part way between pomade and gel, the light, cream formula subtly thickens brows and provides long-lasting lift without drying hairs to a crunchy texture.

I’ve established a few choice eyeshadow combinations this season, with the eventual shadows of choice depending upon the occasion. For day I’ve been indulging my newfound love of dusky pink hues with CHANEL’s Ombre Essentielle Soft Touch Eyeshadow in Palpitation blended with SISLEY’s Photo-Ombre Glow in Gold*. The silky formula blend perfectly together, resulting in a delicate ombre effect with just enough of a metallic finish to add a little bright festivity to a daytime look. By night I prefer to up the intensity and go bold using CHANEL Illusion D’Ombre Longwear Luminous Eyeshadow in Rouge Noir. The limited edition shade is inspired by Chanel’s iconic Rouge Noir nail polish, and whilst I’ve never previously considered wearing a red pigment on my eyes, the warm, deep shade is surprisingly flattering and offers a pleasing alternative to traditional blacks and greys when attempting an intense, smokey look. I’ve also blended the gold Sisley shade in with this on a few occasions to brighten it up just a little and add a hint of festive-inspired sparkle.

I’ve used so many different eyeliners this year but right now I’m sold on the CHARLOTTE TILBURY Eyeliner Powder Pencil in Audrey*. I’ve never been quite so enamoured of a pencil eyeliner, which have typically lacked the innovative revamps that liquid and pen formulas have enjoyed in recent years, spurring them to the fore of exceptional liner game. This one however delivers bold pigment in an incredibly light formula that has zero fallout, and stays put all day. Quite revolutionary, and a refreshing alternative to creamier formulas. The brown-black hue is perfect for a natural look, and is best served when used to define the lashline. Just a little is required to give the appearance of a fuller, bolder set of lashes to an effect that really widens and enhances the eye shape. Recent eyelash extensions [details to come in the new year] have rendered my Christmas and New Year looks mascara-free, but the beginning of the month saw me revive my love affair with CHANEL’s Le Volume de Chanel Mascara - an undisputed favourite in providing long, thick, perfectly curled jet-black lashes. Party-proof is the word.


CHARLOTTE TILBURY’s Lip Liner in Pillowtalk* boasts a durable formula that often outlives lipstick application - ideal for applying ahead of a party or event when you don’t want to worry about constant reapplication. I use it to line and fill my lips, without having to worry about the formula drying them out [as many others do], and the perfectly nude shade works with lipsticks of any and every colour. For day I’ve kept CLARINS Instant Light Comfort Lip Oils* close to hand. I rarely wear lip gloss but these offer a surprisingly wearable [and satisfyingly virtuous alternative] offering up the bright sheen, without the heavy, sticky sensation. Instead the surprisingly long-lasting formula delivers a hint of colour alongside a wealth of hydrating ingredients. By night I’ve taken to adapting my lipstick choice to my eye look; CHARLOTTE TILBURY’s K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Hepburn Honey* is a dependable warm nude with just a hint of shimmer, which provides the perfect accompaniment to a smoky eye look. In contrast, SISLEY’s Hydrating Long Lasting Lipstick in Grenadine* is a bright punch of colour that takes centre stage with a super pigmented satin-matte finish.

Once my foundation has set I dab a tiny amount of BOBBI BROWN's Liquid Face Highlighter* across my cheekbones to lift and brighten. A cool, pearlescent creamy gold, the silky formula provides the perfect embellishment to finish the look with a subtle highlight that can be layered up for truly luminescent illumination.

What's on your festive makeup menu?

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