Best Beauty Buys For Holiday Party Survival

Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Whether you love or loathe the holiday season, unless you plan to become a social hermit until the New Year, you’ve got to follow the Boy Scouts' motto to always be prepared. With parties cramming your calendar, not to mention family obligations and the rigors of daily life, how can you maintain your sanity and look your best?
Although I can’t be much help in the mental faculties department, I do have some reliable appearance-enhancing tips so you can use skin care and makeup to your advantage — without spending a lot of extra time or money. Ahead, essential pointers and product recommendations to help you survive week after week of partying.
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Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Skin-Care Secrets To Keep Your Complexion Looking Gorgeous
Your calendar is jam-packed, you’ve got shopping to do, work deadlines are looming, and there are greeting cards to send. This hectic time of year can take a toll on your skin — unless you know how to keep it in top shape so it laughs in the face of stressors that might sabotage other complexions. Ahead, what you can do.
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Remove Your Makeup Every Night
All of it. Most of us leave traces behind, especially around the eyes, even if we think we’re cleansing thoroughly. The consequences will be written all over your face: puffy, red eyes; dull-looking complexion; clogged pores.

Before your head hits the pillow, even when you're burning the candle at both ends, wash your face and then follow with a makeup remover on a cotton pad or swab (the latter works great for getting into every crevice around the eyes). Click through for three products to try.
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This gentle, fragrance-free formula removes all types of makeup.
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A drugstore best buy capable of removing the most tenacious formulas is what you'll find in this bottle.
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Safe for all skin types, this tonic banishes every last speck of makeup.
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Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Add An AHA Or BHA Exfoliant To Your Daily Routine Instead Of A Scrub
If you’re not already using an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliant, prepare to be amazed and have everyone ask what you’re doing to get such smooth, radiant, blemish-free skin. Whether you use AHA ingredients like glycolic or lactic acid or BHA, which is salicylic acid, all of these fight multiple signs of aging while helping skin stay smooth, even, and breakout-free — most of which a scrub cannot do. For results that will make you say, "Hold the face scrub," try one of the five products ahead.
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This AHA exfoliant is fragrance-free and good for many sensitive-skin types.

Derma E Overnight Peel, $18.75, available at Derma E.
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An AHA peel you can do at home? This one's a winner.

Paula's Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment, $35.00, available at Paula's Choice.
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Fight wrinkles, breakouts, and large pores with this BHA exfoliant.
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This primer combats breakouts and dullness as it enhances your foundation.
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Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Brighten Your Skin, Brighten Your Outlook
If you find yourself running low on energy and think your skin is paying the price (and it probably is), get your hands on a brightening moisturizer or treatment product loaded with skin-repairing ingredients. It’s an instant complexion perk-up followed by gradual benefits you’ll see as the calendar turns over to a (brighter) new year. My top brightening picks (best paired with an illuminating blush or tinted moisturizer, discussed further into this article) are on the slides ahead.
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This product has been a long-standing backstage secret for smoother, brighter skin — even on the morning after a bit too much holiday cheer.
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A product providing lightweight yet hydrating daytime moisture plus broad-spectrum sun protection and firming peptides? Yes, please.
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Loaded with repairing antioxidants plus sun protection we need even on cloudy, snowy days, DayWear doesn't disappoint.
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Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Makeup Musts To Look Party-Perfect (Or Much Better The Morning After!)
With all the merriment surrounding you, it’s definitely possible to find yourself partying pretty hard. So, I assembled a list of makeup must-haves that will not only perfectly prep you for a stunning entrance at any holiday fete, but they’ll also help you look well-rested and your best after the fact — ideal for those mornings when you realize you overdid it on the eggnog or just fell short on beauty sleep. With these products and a bit of artful application, no one will be the wiser, and you’ll look gorgeous, even when you don’t feel so great.
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Apply A Radiance-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer Or Foundation
Either product will enhance the effect of your brightening skin-care product, creating a more glowing complexion that says, “Stressed? Who, me?” instead of, “I cannot WAIT for this crush of activity to be done!” You’re sure to love one of my top five recommendations.
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Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Glow Sheers don't offer a ton of coverage, but they softly even skin tone while adding radiance to turn around a dull complexion.
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Proving that matte and luminous can exist in one product, this is great if you need more coverage.
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This product does everything it says: hydrates, smooths, covers, brightens — and you get great sun protection, too.
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Around for years, Stila's foundation is a must-try if you have dry skin and need a noticeable radiance boost, plus decent coverage.

Stila Illuminating Liquid Foundation, $38, available at Sephora.
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Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Brighten Tired Eyes
Use a highlighter placed in the crescent right beneath the eye, along the lashline, and just under the arch of the brow. Two swipes and one dot is all you need with any of these secret weapons, each of which provides soft, subtle coverage while making you look as bright-eyed as a kid staring at a fully decked Christmas tree for the first time. Add one of the following three products to your holiday shopping list.
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This cream-to-powder formula contains just the right amount of brightening shimmer for daylight hours or nighttime glamour when you're going for an understated look.
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Even out discoloration like dark circles while adding a luminous finish with this easy-to-apply concealer.
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It's a splurge, but this product is so versatile for highlighting key areas of your face that you’ll feel like you’re in ideal lighting no matter where you go.
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Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Blush On The Cheer
Ah, blush — the one makeup essential too few people use. When you see what a beautiful difference the right blush makes, though, there’s no going back. Powder formulas are the easiest to apply; I can’t think of another way to make a person look alive and ready to face the world — even if you’re fighting for that last good parking space at the mall. Make sure you have a full-sized, moderately dense blush brush (Sephora stocks plenty), and give one of the blushes ahead a whirl.
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So pretty and so enlivening, it’s hard to pick a favorite shade from this collection. The buildable pressed-powder formula doesn’t come in a shade for every skin tone, but if you find one you like, treat yourself.
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This blush comes in every type of gorgeous hue, with the Bubblegum shade great for fair skin and Cherryade aces for those with medium to dark skin tones wanting a pop of healthy color.
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Talk about a time-saver: This multitasker works on cheeks and lips without being too creamy for the former or too drying for the latter.
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A modern twist on classic cream blush, Elizabeth Arden's product is a brilliant option for perking up dry skin — plus, a little dab goes a long way, making the price easier to swallow.
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Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Consider Getting Professionally Applied Lash Extensions, And Skip The Mascara
When done right, lash extensions can give you a mascara’d look without the daily effort and worries of clumping, flaking, or smudging as you dash from office to party or store to store. An appointment can last up to three hours, but if you can carve out time, this can be an incredibly relaxing experience — you get to lie still with your eyes closed while a lash technician does all the work.

Be sure to only book with a lash expert who’s certified and trained in one of the established methods — Lavish Lashes, NovaLash, and Xtreme Lashes — and ask to see the certificate so you can make sure it's current. Also, you can request samples of their work to review so you can gauge their expertise and determine which lash look is best for you. Just think of how great it’ll be to go through the holiday party season knowing your lashes look fantastic all day long (yes, you can sleep in your extensions).
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