Beauty Fix: 5 foolproof products you can rely on during the most wonderful(ly hectic) time of the year

Every week our Beauty Fix columnist takes on your questions about makeup, skincare, hair and more. Have a beauty question we haven’t answered? Email us at [email protected] or ask away in the comments below.

How can I make my at-home mani look more professional?
A lot of effort goes into a really killer manicure when it’s done professionally, so there’s no reason to skimp on the effort just because you may not necessarily be a pro nail artist. Take your time when applying polish to avoid “colouring outside the lines”. Pros always make sure to tidy up their work, and you should too, especially if you’re going with a non-neutral shade that will highlight any polish application mishaps. Keep Sephora Collection Precision Nail Polish Corrector Pen ($10, on hand to make every manicure you do perfectly precise and tidy, using it to clean up any stray polish that found its way to your cuticles instead of your nails. Bonus: this pen comes with replacement tips to make sure you get the most mileage out of it!

I’m traveling throughout the holiday season. What can I pack to streamline my makeup bag?
A makeup palette is your best friend when it comes to packing light when you’re on the go (even more so if you’re hauling gifts along in your luggage!). Be sure to look for a palette that can help you tackle more than one area of the face, such as Guerlain’s Petrouchka Palette For Eyes & Blush ($95,, which is a stunner of a palette. The sleek gold compact fits in the palm of your hand, but it houses 5 shimmery shadows (all wearable, especially through the holiday season) and 4 blush shades (matte and satin options), so you can mix, match and build up your look throughout the day as you please.

How can I keep breakouts away during this stressful time of year?
As enjoyable as the season is meant to be, the holidays are a high-pressure time for many and that stress can manifest in the form of breakouts. Give yourself as many time outs or breaks as you need from the hoopla of the season, and make sure to take care of your skin along the way. Pick up Boscia Tsubaki Secrets ($58,, a skincare set containing Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel (to breakdown makeup and impurities), a Konjac cleansing sponge (enriched with hydrating clay) and Tsubaki Beauty Oil (loaded with nourishing camellia oil). This set gives you three products that push you to slow your roll during a hectic time of year and take care of your skin.

Are all matte lipsticks drying or is there a budget-friendly formula out there that won’t dry my lips out?
Matte lipsticks are inherently drying because the lack of emollients in the formula to create a matte appearance. It’s a frustrating tradeoff: high impact colour for parched lips. Drugstore options have usually left something to be desired, until Maybelline’s Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lipstick (shown in “Siren in Scarlet”, $10, came along. The formula contains hydrators like beeswax and sesame seed oil to provide a creamy matte texture that wears comfortably without dehydrating lips or compromising colour payoff that you would expect of a matte lipstick.

What’s the best mascara to use if I don’t want smudging, but can’t use waterproof mascaras?
Waterproof mascara is heavy-duty stuff, so if it doesn’t agree with your eyes (it can be quite drying for many users or too difficult to remove), seek refuge in a fibre mascara if you’re worried about smudging. A fibre mascara builds on to your natural lashes and won’t budge until you use water and cleanser to remove it, at which point it breaks down with minimal effort. Try L’Oréal Voluminous Butterfly Intenza Mascara ($11, at drugstores), which has a micro-fibre formula to build up volume and length without clumps due to its brilliant double-winged brush head, which makes achieving dramatic lashes a breeze.