Beat the last minute makeup scramble and book in for a festive makeover at these tried-and-tested beauty stations
When push comes to shove and you know putting off your hair and makeup for the festivities is no longer an option — even as you switch between this story and six other Pinterest and Instagram tabs for options — what's the penultimate beauty rescue alternative to get you from now to wow? Short of having a personal makeup artist on speed dial, the next best thing is to secure yourself a spot in the roster of the pros whose skilled (and trained) hands will primp you to perfection. Whether you belong in the 'time crunch' team or the 'lacking inspiration' camp in dire need of a party prep godsend, we've hit up the makeover services of three beauty giants for a handy guide that'll enable you to put your best face forward:
M.A.C Makeup Service, Full Makeup Application, $90 for 60 minutes at all M.A.C stores You know you've come to the right place when the makeup artists tout around an arsenal of brushes and beauty products decorate every conceivable surface in-store. Perched in the hotseat at M.A.C's Ngee Ann City outlet and tended to by the brand's makeup trainer, Kenneth, I strapped myself in for a three-sixty transformation from nary a stitch of makeup to a pink-plum smokey eye look. A colour combo that he recommended as an alternative to the usual browns — so no worries if you haven't got a specific look in mind — we started with the Prep + Prime Moisture Infusion serum to re-hydrate my skin. A thin layer of M.A.C's reformulated Strobe Cream then goes on to give that healthy glow (which also works well as a base), followed by foundation.
Concealer and a light dusting of setting powder after, the limited edition Nutcracker holiday collection comes out to play as Kenneth pats the Magic Dust Eyeshadows in Dark Lullaby and Pretty Dainty onto my eyelids, deftly blending the shades together to achieve a softly smoked gradient. Giving my peepers an extra boost, a good tightlining was done before going in proper with the eyeliner where the kohl was pulled out further for an elongated appearance. Tackling my lashes and brows, as well as the requisite contour and highlight, I'm as polished as can be and the final look drew stares with its bright pop of colour and undeniable party vibe. So if you're aiming to make an entrance, M.A.C will have you sorted. And with a new space that just opened its doors at Ion where colour (and more colour) is the order of the day, you'll be able to create every look imaginable.
Make Up For Ever Go Pro Makeup Counter, 15 minutes per trend, complimentary at Sephora #B2-09 Ion Orchard
Make Up For Ever makes trying out trends easier with their complimentary Go Pro Makeup exclusively at their Sephora Ion counter. Walk-ins are encouraged, so stop by to learn a new trend, from Draping to Cut Crease eyes to — our personal favourite — Glitter Lips. The trends are updated every quarter or so, and each takes around 15 minutes for the experts at the counter to create. I like that you can learn how to recreate them on your own and that you can literally buy all the products and tools that you need - from loose glitter to brushes.
I tried Full Brows and was impressed with the tips and tricks that my artist Sarah Lam imparted. She showed me the right shades in the Pro Sculpting Brow Palette to use for different parts of the brow, as well as how to create a dimensional look by brushing on hair-like strokes. For the glitter lips look, she paired a classic red lipstick with a shimmery, multi-hued glitter that was sparkly but not too OTT, although you're free to pick your own combination. Lam also showed me how to use the brand's Mist & Fix to spray on the brush so you can pick up and 'set' the glitter. Surprisingly my glitter lip lasted through some light bites and drinks, although inevitably there was some fallout. Head there if you want to try a new trend but are clueless as how to attain it, or if you need a quickie makeup update before a big night out.
Salon Vim Wash and Style, $45 to $55 depending on hair length, 60 minutesat#04-25, 313@Somerset
Besides the enviably toned bods of the Victoria's Secret Angels, one thing we can't help but lust after are the voluminous and sexy hairstyles of these gorgeous women. The styling whizzes at Salon Vim have taken note of these tousled, devil-may-care styles and are happy to replicate them on clients. Show them a pic of your favourite Angel or just rock up and let them create a look that suits your cut and hair length.
For long hair: Longer hair may be a hassle to wash and style when you're going at it DIY but according to my assigned stylist Fiona, it's the perfect length to whip up into tousled curls à la Taylor Hill. A good wash and blow dry preps my locks to better absorb the L'Oreal Profesionnel Tecni.Art Pli Shaper that acts as a sea salt spray to give my stick-straight hair more grip and texture to better hold the curls. A ghd curling iron is then worked across sections of my head with the barrel twisted in outward turns to create that voluminous windswept look. Closer to the roots, Fiona lightly tongs the tresses there as well so that the crown has more lift for an overall carelessly ruffled finish. With a quick run through of the fingers through the curls to loosen them up, followed by scrunching motions to give it an even more 'sexy bedhead' look, my runway ready mane is then set with generous spritzes of hairspray. Fiona also topped up my roots with a light dusting of the Techni.Art Super Dust, working the product into the roots to give it more grit so that my style doesn't fall flat, literally, scant hours later. Full and fluffy, my hair had amazing body that looked naturally effortless without being weighed down.
For short hair: With my shoulder-grazing tresses, my stylist Lillian wanted to create a casual, windswept look without obvious curls or waves. After a relaxing hairwash, she rough blow-dried my locks before proceeding to use styling products to help hold the style — warning: It can get a bit sticky. She used the ghd platinum straightener, not to flat iron my hair, but to create kinks and waves to give my locks movement and texture, before finishing off with some L'Oréal Professionnel Techni.Art Super Dust and Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender to prevent my roots from getting too flat and greasy. I loved the final style, as it was cool and fresh compared to the blowouts and styling I've gotten at a lot of other places, but because of the amount of product used, this style could not last beyond the next day for me.