The holidays come with an awfully long list of mandatory fun: drinks with coworkers, gift exchanges with friends, full hors-d'oeuvres-and-sequins-corporate events. And while all these festivities make the season bright, they can also create a time crunch, leaving us rushing from one thing to the next without a spare hour for a leisurely getting-ready routine. If you find yourself with only a few minutes to get ready for a holiday shindig, here are a few tips for getting glam in a hurry.
Stop and smell the bergamot.
Not only does the spicy, citrusy scent of bergamot call to mind a full glass of crisp white wine (yes, please), it can also ease the anxiety of rushing to get ready. Mice with heightened anxiety levels brought on by running around a maze showed a similar reduction in cortisol (a stress hormone) after sniffing bergamot as those taking anxiety medication. Acute effects of bergamot oil on anxiety-related behaviour and corticosterone level in rats. Saiyudthong S, Marsden CA. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 2010, Nov.;25(6):1099-1573. So while we don't necessarily respond to things the same way mice do, if your holiday schedule has you feeling like a mouse in a maze, you may want to invest in some bergamot essential oil. Add a few drops to your scarf, and take a deep, relaxing breath to de-stress before the mad dash—and after too.
Play up your favorite feature.
A full Kardashian-level contour, cat-eye, and perfect red lip probably just isn’t going to happen if you’ve only got three minutes to get ready. Instead, try focusing on just one feature, says Sally Biondo, eco makeup artist and hairstylist. "Keep the look clean, but add one product that will give a bold result," Biondo says. "Red lips or a winged eyeliner are my personal holiday favorites."
Opt for an all-in-one.
But going for a bold eye doesn’t mean you have to let your lips and cheeks go bare. A pot of all-in-one blush and lip creme means you can get an all-over-glow in just a few seconds. Biondo loves RMS Lip2Cheek ($36; Amazon), which is light enough to be used as a blush, but pigmented enough to be layered as lip color. It also comes in a wide array of shades, from deep burgundy to dusty nudes, for those who’ve found most all-in-ones a little too pinkish for their taste.
Don’t skimp on mascara.
If your schedule only allows for one or two beauty products, mascara should definitely be one of them. Curling eyelashes and adding two coats of a mascara that packs a punch, like Benefit They’re Real! ($24; Sephora) or Yves St Laurent The Shock ($29; YSL Beauty), is the absolute best way to add some drama to an otherwise simple look.
Hop in the shower.
Most of us take a rushed, just-shave-to-the-knee shower before starting our beauty routines, but Biondo’s go-to trick for looking party-ready is to shower after getting done up. “One of my favorite getting ready tips is after you put on your makeup on, jump in the shower. Avoid wetting your face, of course, and when you get out you'll have glowing, youthful skin. You'll be sure to get tons of compliments on your skin at your next holiday event!”
Pressure to party during the holidays can make having fun feel like a full-time job, and the constant photo-ops (complete with subsequent tagging on social media) means additional pressure to look red-carpet ready for every cocktail hour and get-together on your Facebook invite list. Perhaps the most important beauty tip for the holiday season is to remember the power of the decline button. Slowing down and taking time for self-care is important all year round, but it becomes especially important during the holidays.Emily Alford lives in Brooklyn, NY and writes about beauty, food, and TV. Sometimes all at once. Follow her on Twitter @AlfordAlice.