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Foolproof make-up for the festive season

This month, with some uncertainty around how the festive season will look, I considered skipping the annual seasonal column on occasion make-up. Then, I came to my senses. We have approximately six weeks per year during which to drape ourselves joyously and ostentatiously in glitter. I don’t know about you, but I will be indulging in the thrill of seasonal beauty whether I’m at home or just seeing a friend for a crisp December walk. Celebrity and editorial make-up artist Amanda Bell (@_amanda_bell_) knows glamour and, as an artist widely known and respected for attention to detail and sumptuously balanced make-up, she is precisely the expert to rein me in this festive season before I accidentally swallow some loose glitter or get red lipstick all over the couch.

To keep festive make-up modern and chic, Bell says, skin needs to shine through. “A thick, full-coverage foundation with statement colours on the eyes and lips can end up looking quite dated,” she advises. “Go in with the sheerest formula of foundation that you’re comfortable with, and then amp up any extra coverage with a creamy, full coverage concealer. That way, you get this fusion of flawless skin which still looks very natural rather than like a mask.”

Statement lip

Fresh skin will help you to pull off a more dramatic eye or lip look without it wearing you, she says, but there are ways to do both.

“To make a smokey eye work with a statement lip, if you frame the eye with a creamy eye pencil and then blend it out, it gives this much more editorial version of a smokey eye.” This method calls for much less skill than contouring the eye area with multiple powder shadows and is foolproof. If you are wearing a bold colour and want your make-up to work with it, Bell says that “a nice take on integrating a little bit of a statement colour is to take a favourite nude shade and mix into your berry, or red or whatever, so you are almost creating a hybrid shade. If you feel a red lip is wearing you, then you can blot it down and then add a nude, vinyl sheen or gloss on top, which softens it and makes it more accessible.”

Bell says that the festive season is ideal for “human magpies” and keeping glitter close to the lashline will enable everyone to wear it. “You don’t have to put one thick application of glitter all over the lid in one colour. Mixing it up by playing with different undertones in glitter can create a really interesting, stunning look. It doesn’t have to look like Ru Paul is going to have you on speed dial (a look I’m absolutely here for, by the way). For people who are new to experimenting with glitter, a diffused overlay or wash of glitter is beautiful.”



Mac Shapeshifter Duo Chrome Eyeshadow (€22 at Mac Counters nationwide)

Glossier Monochromes Palette in Prairie (€22 at

Charlotte Tilbury Limitless Lips in Red Wishes (€28 at

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Concealer (€60 at Brown Thomas)


Product of the Week

McCauley The Ultimate in Skin Box (€120 at McCauley pharmacies nationwide and