Holiday Parties Around the World: How Women Across the Globe Prep for the Season

Free-flowing champagne, fabulous holoiday parties and plenty of time with loved ones, make up the joys of the season. Although we have the blessing/curse of enjoying/suffering through a white Christmas, many countries around the world spend their holiday time celebrating in ways we can’t imagine (like on the beach!).

But one thing we all have in common, regardless of your origin, postal code or even inclinations, is that the holidays are a special time, and slowing down to enjoy all the fun and excitement is a ritual we can all collectively partake in. Whether you call sunny Sydney home or reside in the bustling city of London, an extra step or two while beautifying for the holiday season is a welcome shot of glam. Read on to see the rituals women from around the world indulge in during the most wonderful time of the year.

Lyon, France — Ariel Brothman, Shop Assistant

Living in Lyon, which is a little more than an hour from the Alps, is really cold and windy right now — if you go for a run by the quai, your ears actually pop from the pressure change and freezing temperatures! For me, this means wicked dry skin. I don’t shower as often as I do in the summer because otherwise my skin would dry right out. When I do, I use a lot of Bliss and Elemis products.

Before I wash my hair (which is about once per week because I have a lot of hair), I put Elemis Frangipani Monoi Oil from the base of my neck down to the ends and wrap it in a hot towel for 15 minutes. I’ve been trying to grow my hair longer for years, and this is the only stuff that has actually worked. Plus it re-moisturizes my hair, which is good protection against the Lyon wind!

In the shower, I use Elemis Devil’s Mint Scrub; it’s super exfoliating and really helps to get rid of ingrown hairs. After washing, I use Lush’s R&B Hair Moisturizer on the ends. It’s been about a month since I started using it, and my ends certainly seem less split. I used ingrown hair pads by Bliss, and then moisturize my skin with Lemon & Sage Body Butter, which is also by Bliss. I should also mention that the Monoi Oil seems to be intended for body use, but the instructions say you can use it once a week on your hair. I did try it on my body and my skin was AMAZING, but I wanted to save such a jewel for my hair and decided to use the body butter for my body.

For the holiday season, I keep it pretty low key and simply swipe on a festive red lipstick, like French brand Bourjois’ Rouge Edition Velvet. It’s super softening, has a soft-matte texture and fades to a really pretty stain (which is great when snacking at holiday parties). Also, since I’m in Europe, I might add a bit of hot wine to my diet.

Wellington, New Zealand — Sophie Surrige, Law Student and Bartender

Feeling fraaaash

A photo posted by Sophie Surridge (@sophiesurridge_) on

Thanks to fake tanner (I use Bondi Sands Ultra Dark Mousse) I’m pretty much tanned all year round.

In winter, because New Zealand is generally pretty cold (and always windy!) from May to September, my skin is always really dull during this time; this means my main focus is bringing life and colour back into my skin. Despite the weather changes, my skin routine is pretty much the same all year round, I just alter one or two products depending on whether it’s morning or evening, and whether I’m breaking out, oily or dry.

For starters, I wash my skin at least twice daily with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. When my skin needs to be exfoliated, I love using LUSH Dark Angels, followed by a spritz of Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner. However, if my skin is oily or I have broken out, I use pure tea tree oil as my toner, followed by a Tailor Skin Care Hydrate Gel (BEST PRODUCT EVER! It’s a NZ brand). At night as a moisturizer, I use AESOP’s Parsley Seed Antioxidant Serum. I also try to do a facemask at least once a fortnight. When my skin is dry, which is mainly in the winter, I use LUSH Rosey Cheeks (in summer when my skin’s oily I swear by LUSH Cupcake).

My goal with makeup application is to achieve a natural but full coverage look. I definitely go for a dewy look year around as opposed to using products. My favourite part of my makeup is primer. I have tried so many, but my number 1 is Mecca Cosmetica Soft Focus Smoothing Primer when my skin is oily. When my skin is on the drier side (again in winter due to the wind), I use STILA’s One Step Correct primer. If I am after a fuller coverage, I always use NARS Sheer Glow foundation in Stromboli. If it’s a lighter coverage I’m after, I use Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation. I always mix these in with a pea-sized amount of illuminator as I think it gives me a really nice glow — I love J Bronze Shimmer Instant Illuminiser for this purpose. Concealer wise, I love NARS’ Radiant Creamy Concealer, however, under my eyes I use Maybelline Fit Me concealer.

For contouring, I use NARS’ Laguna bronzer and HOOLA bronzer by Benefit; I never really use blush as I am already naturally quite red I think. I have also just stumbled across my dream contouring tool, which is NARS’ double ended The Multiple— on one side is a creamy version of my beloved Laguna bronzer and on the other, a highlighter in the shade hot sand that is my new holy grail.

For eyeshadow, I always opt for a natural look and I go between the Naked 1 & 2 palettes by Too Faced. When I want to add a dramatic colour into my look — particularly when I’m going out — I experiment with Chi Chi’s Warm Vibes eyeshadow palette. Due to the wind issues in Wellington, my eyes are always watering so for mascara I love using They’re Real by Benefit as it is semi waterproof and can last through my wind tears.

I also love a good strong eyebrow and use the Natio Eyebrow kit. To keep everything in place, I set my makeup using Urban Decay’s Long Lasting setting spray as I hate using powder; it makes me look caked and clings to the baby peach fuzz on my face (hahaha). I always go for a gloss on my lips, and I have an assortment of glosses that I rotate through. My stand outs are definitely NARS’ Turkish delight and Greek Holiday shades though, and any of the NYX Butter Glosses (bonus: they’re super cheap!). I prefer these picks as my lips are always dry and flakey, yes, due to the constant wind in Wellington.

When it comes to the holidays, around Christmas and New Years it’s always beach and BBQ time, so we stick with what’s natural. This means relying on good, fresh looking skin — I use the Estée Lauder Double Wear All Day Glow BB, my aforementioned favourite NARS Laguna bronzer, and then add a bright lipstick to keep it festive (NARS’ Morange is my absolute favourite). To finish, all I need is a swipe of mascara and to rim my inner lids with white eyeliner to eliminate the look of bloodshot and tired eyes, as kiwi festive season is pretty hectic with the fam!

Sydney, Australia — Lauren Vickers, Model, Presenter, Personal Trainer and Blogger at

Fresh for summer ? New @naturalbeautyhairextensions by @shifthair ??and @makeup_bysamantha of @glamazon_app ?

A photo posted by Lauren Vickers (@laurenkvickers) on

Sydney Summers can be pretty brutal. Temperatures can soar above 40 degrees Celsius for several days in a row, and the hole in the ozone layer above Australia makes our sun especially harsh.

My number one skin care priority is always sunscreen all year round, but especially in summer. I love how easily Mecca Cosmetica’s To Save Face SPF30+ just melts into my skin and doesn’t leave a white sheen, and Dermalogica’s Solar Defense Booster SPF50 can be added into any skincare or makeup for extra protection.

I have definitely noticed Aussie women aging faster than their European counterparts, so to avoid looking like a crocodile when I’m older, I have been fully converted to the art of the faux glow with Tuscan Tan. This takes a little extra preparation to have an even base — I absolutely love Ingrid Millet Source Pure Claire Gommage Aroma Peeling Cream for an enzyme exfoliation that leaves your skin feeling baby soft and bright, and twice a week, I’ll use my Clarisonic Mia to buff away any rough patches.

I can’t go past layering Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector under my moisturizer and SPF to save me from my past sun baking sins, and I love the richness of Dr. Lewinn’s Eternal Youth Day and Night Cream to rehydrate and protect my skin from our hot, dry climate. To keep my body soft and fake tan even for up to a week, I love drugstore favourite Vaseline Cocoa Glow Body Lotion.

With all the sunscreen that’s designed to stick around through sweating, swimming and daily wear, it’s important for me to invest in proper cleansing solutions to let my skin breathe at night. I love Bioderma’s Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution to take off makeup and sunscreen, and then I cleanse again with Bliss’ Fabulous Foaming Face Wash. If it’s morning time, I’ll use Sukin’s Cream Cleanser for a moisturizing wake up call.

With bronzed skin, a light foundation is great, even for photoshoots — my favourite is Bare Minerals Serum Foundation for it’s lightweight texture, and then all I need is a little help from the Revlon Contouring Palette, a light dusting of NARS Blush in Orgasm on the cheeks, a sweep of Ere Perez Almond Oil Mascara on my lashes and a dab of Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm on my lips and I’m good to go!

For the party season, I love brighten it all up a little by brushing on a little Saleha Beauty highlighter in Hollywood Gold on my cheekbones, brow bones and on my Cupid’s bow for that incandescent glow, swipe on a lick of Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Prescision Pen for some extra cat eye definition, and brighten lips with Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour in HD Passion.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Luisa Girado, Journalist and Communications Student

Most of Brazilians are superstitious people, and they do everything they can to bring lucky into their lives. During Christmas and New Years, that concern increases even more, and our beauty routines are also totally different from other places in the world during the holidays. As Europeans and Americans enjoy the freezing weather, Brazilians celebrate the holidays with the highest temperatures of the year.

Our main concern is surviving and trying to stay fit with all the carbohydrates enjoyed during the seasonal menu, as we’re still showing our bodies at beach! The answer to this problem is easy: miracle diets, more time spent in the gym than the rest of the whole year, and a lot of beauty treatments that focus on drainage and body aesthetics.

In addition to body care, skin care is also something very important Brazilians in general, and again, especially during this time of year when there are a lot of holiday parties and days spent on the beaches. This also means we can’t leave our houses without sunscreen. It’s a rule. Nobody wants to suffer from damage that makes you look older or look like a lobster. Thermal water is also always in our bags to refresh and stay hydrated.

The make up for Christmas and New Years is a little bit more elaborate from other days. Metallic tones, like silver, gold and ivory aew usuallt the choice we love for New Year ’s Eve. On Christmas, the eye usually is well lined, and to complete the look, a festive bright red lip. Us Brazilian women never go to bed with our make-up on, though, and proper removal and moisturizing is Always done before bed.

When celebrating New Year’s, there are a number of rituals we participate in to bring us luck; we do everything we can, like eating grapes, to make our wishes come true at midnight. Usually, we wear white clothes to bring us good energy and peace, and it’s a tradition for Brazilian women to wear colourful panties to bring them luck for whatever it is they’re wishing for. Red is for passion, pink is for love, yellow is thought to bring money, blue encourages harmony, while green brings prosperity. Some also believe painting your nails in whichever colour you’re wearing reinforces this notion.

The food on New Year’s Eve is also an important ritual. We have to eat lentils and twelve grapes at midnight, and make a wish for each one. You have to save the seeds of the grapes and put in your wallet until the end of the year. Also, we believed that jumping in seven waves in the ocean on the first day of the year brings luck. And everything must be enjoyed with champagne, of course!

London, England/ Dublin, Ireland — Louise O’Reily, International Model and Blogger at

Switching up your beauty and makeup routine to match the colder climate is always somewhat daunting. However, over the years I’ve found it’s all about balance with some key products today that work quite well for me. The first thing to really help is finding out what skin type you have and working your beauty bag around this. I have sensitive combination skin that tends to get dehydrated (meaning it can give you the illusion on ultra dry skin when it’s not, exactly).

As I work as a model, I tend to look towards key items for castings which give a really fresh faced au naturale effect. For foundation during the summer I love Mac’s Face and Body as it works really well for warm to hot climates, but in the winter months, I find Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk to be a wonderful “cold weather friendly” foundation. It gives a natural radiant effect and wears really well throughout the day.

As a beauty routine, rose water will always be my favourite toner for every part of the year. Its wonderful for all skin types and if you travel a lot for work it will be a wonderful travel beauty essential to keep skin hydrated and soft. During the winter, I tend to add some extra products to keep my skin fresh. If you find your face is looking tired and dull, This Works Light Lime Cleanse and Glow facial wash is an absolute go to for me as it instantly gives a brighter look to dull or tired skin. For exfoliators, Philosophy’s Microdelivery exfoliator will help keep dead skin cells at bay while still being gentle on sensitive skin.

During the summer I tend to use more lighter moisturisers such as Vichy Idealia, while the last couple of weeks I’ve started to introduce my skin to Revitalising Supreme + by Estee Lauder that can be used in conjuction with their Advance Night Repair serum. It helps to boost your skin’s cell renewal and elastin naturally without feeling heavy on your skin.

With a change in season also comes a change in elements, so I tend to look towards more waterproof options for both black eyeliner and mascara. My current favourites are Urban Decays Perversion Fine Point Waterproof liner and a surprisingly cost effective mascara from Catrice called Pret-A-Volume Smokey Mascara. Both are incredibly reliable hail, rain or snow! For eyeshadows, I definitely experiment more with colour and glitter pigment over the holiday season. As a brown-eyed girl, I love to embrace golds, browns and deep purples. Tom Ford’s Eye Quads and The Urban Decay Gwen Stefani palette are definite holiday favourites for either quick ‘ten minute and under’ makeup looks to the more elaborate smokey eye effect.

For the winter months, I try to ensure my skin is getting a balance between vitamin C and hydration. I do a facemask routine twice a week especially the day before party or an event. I find it important to alternated different masks. For example, I’ll use Image Vital C face mask at the start of the week and something from the Glam Glow range towards the end of the week.

For hair, I find for best results to sleep with a hydrating hair mask applied to my hair and tied loosely in a bun. Moroccan Oil’s Intense Hydrating mask is a holiday season must have as you are guaranteed to have beautifully smooth, silk hair as soon as you wash it out the next day.

Tel Aviv, Israel — Kochavit Akunis, Lawyer and blogger at

? Good morning it's EIGHT30! Wearing: @stradivarius shirt | @hsternofficial rings |

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I’ll share a secret with you – the key to my beauty routine is my mother! By this I don’t just mean the genes I inherited from her (not to worry, Dad, you look good too), or the insistence on order and cleanliness that she passed on to me, but also the fact that my mum is a cosmetician. I often get the feeling that the sole reason behind Mom’s decision to open a beauty salon when my sister and I were adolescents was that she realized that she would have to spend a lot more on our makeup kits!

Quite a few years have passed since then and, as luck would have it, my sister chose to follow in my mother’s footsteps by opening a salon of her own with the result that I happily became a loyal and devoted customer of two top rate and accessible beauty and cosmetics experts.
So to reassure you that I’m no slouch myself and that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, I’d love to share a few tips and products for the holiday season with you; here are some of my favorite items:

Christina Wish Exfoliating Scrub was developed by an Israeli cosmetics firm, and I loe the way this delicate exfoliating scrub gently exfoliates my skin. It’s amazing for removing surface layers while cooling and calming, preparing the skin for day or night treatments. For cream, I love applying Chanel Hyrda Beauty Gel Crème generously as it instantly makes me feel radiant. With its featherweight texture, the gel takes no time at all to be absorbed bringing my skin alive again like a flower bud after the rain.

When it comes to a mask, I love Peter Thomas Roth’s Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask. It contains a mixture of five different types of stem cells extracted from roses, along with four rare essences of roses, for a maximum repair and anti-aging effect. On top of the product’s remarkable aroma, the fact that you only need 10 minutes with the mask for great results and that its texture is a cooling and soothing gel is amazing. I also love that the products contain proteins which accelerate the renewal of skin cells, prevent dryness, and make your skin look young and radiant by strengthening and firming the skin cells. In short, a bouquet of fragrant, soothing and refreshing roses that helps me stay young.

In addition to these super products, I make a point of point to my Mom to have a facial makeover and then a pedicure at my sister’s salon, especially during the holiday season. To put it simply, there’s no way you’ll catch unprepared.

Rabat, Morocco — Ghitta laskrouif, Fashion Designer

Scarf weather

A photo posted by Ghitta Laskrouif غيثة لسكرويف (@ghitta111) on

In order to treat my skin right, I start by getting rid of all the dirt and impurities.
I have both oily skin and hair, so to keep it clear and not overly dry, I use organic Moroccan products as my usual routine both in the summer and winter before showering. I love these products and can trust them to help me achieve healthier skin and hair, plus they’re easy to find everywhere in Morocco (from big stores to the souk!); they’re amazingly effective and very affordable.

First, I start by using Beldi black soap once or twice per week to gently exfoliate and help renew my skin’s natural radiance, and it immediately leaves my skin feeling softer and healthier. Next, I use ghassoul mixed with aker fassi, which is a Moroccan clay used for both hair and body. For my face, I use white ghassoul clay mixed verbena and aloe vera, wait for 15 minutes, and then rinse it all . After shampooing I use green clay in lieu of conditioner; it keeps my hair soft and not oily at all.

For makeup, I start by cleaning and prepping my face with rose argan oil to help keep my skin looking plump, hydrated and luminous. I don’t use makeup all the time, but when I do I like to use Pond’s products. After cleaning my face, I use Pond’s flawless White Brightning Cream, then a light bb+ cream and M.A.C Fix+ Powder to set everything in place. For lipstick, I sometimes use a M.A.C lipstick for a fun, fancy color, but for a nude makeup look or in winter, I usually use that same Moroccan powder, aker Fassi, which is made of poppy pomegranate leaves and henna. It’s a traditional lipstick and blush produced in Morocco, as it provides a sensual and natural touch of colour to the lips that lasts a very long time and keep my lips healthy on the chilly winter days! I only need to apply it once to obtain a natural look (which translates to a rosy pink), or apply it multiple times to achieve a darker tone (which is an intense red). I mix it with a drop of argan oil for extra moisture.

In the evening, I remove makeup with rose water to let my skin breathe. It’s very helpful and effectively balances, tones, soothes and moisturizes my skin, keeping it refreshed and rejuvenated.

Brussels, Belgium — Ava Perez, Communications Manager

My winter skin care and beauty routine depends on which part of the world I’m living in. While living in NYC, the winters were hard and there was a constant battle against dry skin, while things were very different in Houston during winters. Here in Brussels, the weather is pretty temperate (by Canadian standards!), so I don’t need frequent deep nourishing treatments.

Periodically, I’ll do an at-home spa day and apply a rich face cream like Lancôme Nutrix and body oil like Nuxe Huile Prodigieus or, if I’m lucky, argan oil that my cousin brings me back from Morocco. For daily use, my favourite is Lipikar Body Milk by La Roche-Posay. I just love skin care products and can’t get enough of them! Right now I’m using both Caudalié and Avene light moisturizers for the mornings (which are also available in small sizes and great for travel), as well as a sublime moisturizer called Precious Cream from the spa Cinq Mondes. I always have some kind of serum in my overnight kit and a mask in the refrigerator.

Just before the holidays, my girlfriends and I always like to spend an afternoon together at a hammam for wonderful steam and spa treatments. I’m no-frills when it comes to make up and fashion, but I’m very particular about the little make-up I do wear. I swear by Lorac Natural Performance foundation — I won’t travel without it!, Tarte cheek stain in a peachy hue called Tipsy and a lipstick palette by Trish McEvoy. For holiday parties, I will treat myself to a make-up session, complete with false eyelashes, lots of mascara and a very light dusting of glitter face powder.