I'm not really a fan of the Christmas party season. Being expected all of a sudden to hang out in my spare time with people I usually get paid to hang out with isn't really my idea of fun. And then there's the stress of getting ready for office parties. People who never wear more than a touch of mascara and a dab of concealer are suddenly fighting for elbow room in front of the mirrors in the office lavs.
Like the capsule wardrobe for your summer holiday, the capsule make-up/getting ready kit is a godsend during December. Taking longer than 15 minutes to get ready for a work party is a bad sign. The look you should be aiming for is a slightly more glam version of yourself, not a glamour-model version. If you're wondering whether you're wearing too much, you probably are.
Keeping nails natural is one tip - natural nails, made shiny by regular buffing, don't chip or peel or need retouching. Regular buffing also helps to prevent ridges, and, should you opt for varnish, it will stay on for longer. If you can't give up your nail-polish habit, try Express Finish, by Maybelline, or OPI's Drip Dry (stockists, 01923 240010), which dries nails super fast. Using base coat also extends the longevity of varnish. And, as a rule, light colours seem to dry quicker than dark.
Beauty Tips liquid-filled cotton buds (found tucked away in most chemists) are fab for correcting any make-up mishaps that might occur when getting ready in a rush. They're also a lot more practical than lugging cotton wool and make-up remover into the office. Solid perfume is something I've just switched on to - Grace, by Philosophy, and Marc Jacobs' Perfume Compact, are fab, last ages, and there's no risk they'll break or spill into your handbag.
While I'm on the subject, if anyone is still spraying perfume on their hair, please stop, like right now. Not only do you risk going up in flames if someone carelessly uses your Afro as an ashtray, but the alcohol in perfume dries out your hair and will strip it of any added colour.