Holiday makeup: 8 Beauty Panel tips on getting party-ready in a flash

holiday makeup intro

Ah, the holidays! Forget last minute shopping scrambles—the real frenzy comes when your all-business daytime face needs to transform into a head-turning party look in the blink of an eye. With very little time to prepare it’s imperative you have some expert advice on the makeup products and beauty tools you’ll need to be party-ready in a jiffy.

Ideally we’d all have a fairy godmother to wave her wand and make us instantly holiday-stunning, but realistically a well-edited beauty bag will do the trick. First of all, aim for a night look that builds upon your daytime face with the addition of just a few key products: A swipe of your favourite sultry crimson lipstick, a smear of warm, smoky eyeshadows or a hit of bright blush will you have knocking it out of the beauty park. So empty your filled-to-the-brim makeup bag and read on for some essential holiday beauty tips from the Beauty Panel.

Challenge 39: How do you transform you office make up into a holiday party look? See the answers now! »

Definitely turning a few heads is newbie Eugenia Ragas of Ommorphia Beauty Bar, who transformed her office-appropriate natural lip to a gorgeous vivid red. Shayna Wiwierski of A Pop Of Colour focused on the eyes by working in some gunmetal glitter for real holiday sparkle. Also new to the panel is Maggie Ng of Beauty PhD and she minimizes her pre-party touchup time by starting the day with a long-wear foundation.

Have a beauty question you want to see the panel answer? Send it our way at Read on for the answers to this week’s challenge and for more goodness, get to know all contributors on our Beauty Panel hub page.


holiday makeup maggie

Maggie Ng
Toronto | Beauty PhD

Some tips for transitioning from the office or daytime look to your holiday party look: I like to pick one feature and play it up. So eyes, cheeks or lips — take your pick!
For my example, I chose to play up the eyes. I doubled up on the mascara and also applied it to the bottom lashes. I added black eyeshadow (and a touch of gun metal glitter) to the top and bottom of my eyelids and also a silver highlight in the inner corners of my eyes so that they really pop! A touch more bronzer for contour and I kept the lips the same. I chose to use a long-wearing foundation to avoid too much touchup for the evening.

Products used day: Miyu De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence in “No. 2,” Kellett SPF 30 Face Sunscreen Lotion, Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in “1N1,” Korres Quercetin & Oak Anti-Ageing Eye Primer, Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in “Taupe,” Sothys Graphic Kohl Liner in “Noir Profond,” Marcelle Xtension Plus Mascara in “Black,” E.l.f. Eyebrow Kit in “Medium” and Hypershine Gloss in “Bubblegum” and Lise Watier Aquarella Bronzing Powder Duo.

Products used night: Boxx Cosmetics Eyeshadow in “Mauli” and Make Up For Ever Glitter in “#15 Midnight Glow” and Aqua Cream in “#3 Silver”

holiday makeup shayna

Shayna Wiwierski
Winnipeg | A Pop of Colour

I already had my work Christmas party happen last week but I have a few more popping up in December. If you are busy during the day and then have only a small period of time in between, make sure you prep ahead of time.

I don’t typically like applying my makeup twice in one day, so during work hours I will just sport a BB or CC cream to make sure my face is still looking fresh but with some coverage. Of course mascara is a must, but other than that, I like to keep it all neutral because we are getting glam in a couple of hours.

To transform the look into something more party appropriate, I applied a silver cream shadow with a black eyeshadow in the crease. For some real holiday sparkle, add gunmetal glitter over the black crease colour and then pop on some false lashes. Finish up the face by applying a full-coverage foundation, concealer, some contouring and a pinky-nude lip. Curl your hair during lunch hours, pop on a sparkly headband, and you are all set!

Products used day: Olay CC Cream, Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara and Benefit Gimme Brow.

Products used night: Covergirl Clean Whipped Cream Foundation, Smashbox Bronze Lights bronzer in “Suntan Matte,” Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in “#3,”Glitter in “#15 gunmetal” and Eyeshadow in “00” and “04,” Nars bronzer in “Madly,” and lipgloss in “Angelika,” Marc Jacobs Beauty Lip Gel in “Strange Magic” and Katy Perry lashes by Eylure in “Cool Kitty”

holiday makeup eugenia

Eugenia Ragas
Montreal | Ommorphia Beauty Bar

With the holiday season in full swing, taking your look from the office to the party can be as easy as incorporating 3 items. Start by lining your eyes with an intense lack pencil that you can then also smudge along the upper lid, extending the line out and slightly flicked, as well as used to thicken the lower lash line for intense sultry eyes. Tap a shimmery neutral eye shadow pigment into the palm of your hand, and use your fingers to apply this to your brow bone and along the upper cheekbones (use your pinkie to dab a bit on the inner eye corners as well), the better to capture the light. The final dazzling touch is a swipe of a vivid red gloss across your lips – festive, sexy & fun!

Products used day: M.A.C Studio Fix in “C4,” Chanel Séduction Eyeshadow Quad in “#42,” Rose Initiale Blush in “#72” and Le Volume Mascara in “#10 Black” and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Gloss.

Products used night: Maybelline Colour Tatoo Pure Pigments in “#55 Barely Brazen,” Black Smoke Master Smoky Pencil and Color Elixir in “#020 Signature Scarlet”

holiday makeup alison

Alison Leong
Vancouver | Alison*Elle

A simple purple smokey eye is neutral enough for the workday and acts as a great base for this day-to-night look. When it’s finally time to hit the holiday party scene, adding a few pops of colour is super quick and easy to do. I decided to use a sparkly deep green shadow on the outer corners of my eyelids, patting it on in a cat-eye shape. Add a similar coloured liner to really amp up the eyes and finish with a bright, glossy lip. Ready in no time at all!

Products used: Avon ExtraLasting Foundation in “Sand Beige” and Super Shock Gel Liner in “Aqua Pop,” Nars Blush in “Sin,” Revlon PhotoReady Primer and Shadow + Sparkle Eye Palette in “Muse,” Benefit They’re Real Mascara and Revlon ColorBurst Lipgloss in “Adorned”

holiday makeup jenn

Jennifer Francis
Durham | Spiced Beauty

This is something that I really struggle with because I live and work in the east end. Since all the parties are in Toronto, it’s really hard for me to go home and get ready. I usually wear no-makeup or light makeup during the day. It makes it easier to transition to party ready if you have a clear/clean canvas. For hair, try getting beachy waves by going to sleep with braids. Want curls? Try Rowenta Beauty Curl Active. It’s a Motorized curling system.

Three key must-haves:
Primer. If you do have any foundation or eyeshadow on it will stay put.
My favourite: Clinque Superprimer Face Primers

Hair spray. Perfect for curls. I usually do my curls “shirley temple” style then by the end of the day the curls have dropped.
My favourite: Elnett Satin Hairspray for curls

Long-lasting lipstick. Apply before you arrive. Drink and have fun without having to re-apply.
My favourite: Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Colour

Hope that helps you get holiday party ready!

Products used: L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara, Mary Kay Kohl Eyeliner in “Golden Illusion,” L’oreal Infallible Superliner Blackbuster eyeliner & Infallible Super Slim eyeliner, Color Elixir by Color Sensational – Lip Color By Maybelline Vision in “Violet”

Alexa Lowe
Montreal | Stealing Beauty

The holiday party season is here! I’ve made a video on how to go from daytime to party time makeup quickly with a few quick tricks, perfect for on the go after work. I took inspiration from Rebecca Restrepo’s Holiday Glam Look.

Products used day: M.A.C Paint Pot Painterly, Elizabeth Arden Eye Shadow Innocence in “19,” M.A.C Eye Shadow in “Sumptuous Olive,” Elizabeth Arden Lash Enhancing Mascara, Radiance Blush in “Sunblush 09” and Lip Pencil in “Coral 02”

Products used night: Nyx Eye Pencil in “Emerald City,” Elizabeth Arden Eye Shadow in “Shimmering Emerald 18,” Eye Shadow in “Blonde 04” and Moisturizing Lipstick in “Red Door 02”

holiday makeup marilou

Marilou Moles
Ottawa | Twenty York Street

Perhaps one of my top favourite Beauty Panel challenges, quick transition make-up is not only fun but also exciting as it gets your creativity flowing! How to transition from your daytime look to a holiday party stunner is so appropriate this season! I say focus the drama on your eyes!

Since eye make-up tends to stay longer than say, your lipstick, pick this one area as the focal point of your entire look. Pick neutrals for a smoky eye look; it’s the easiest transition without the colours fading out. For your day look, apply your foundation colours but make sure to go light. I found shadow quad combos to be god send as they make everything easy, complementary colours are already picked out for you. When it’s time to transition to your party look, use the same colours but now go deeper. You can wet the tip of your brush a bit to apply your eye shadow and make sure you finish off with a generous swipe of mascara and go for sweet pink lips for a sexy yet playful holiday look!

Products used: Revlon Photoready in “Impressionist (505),” The Balm Highlighter and L’Oreal Excess Mascara.