48 hours before the big day
Treat your face to the ‘50 Shades of Glow’ pre-party facial treatment — a computerised skin analysis, aluminium crystal microdermabrasion and a skin peel (plus a take-home exfoliator to maintain a plumped-up and fresh complexion). Best done two days before a party.
£150, at harleymedical.co.uk
3 hours to go
If Hollywood facialist Nichola Joss reckons this is better than Botox, who are we to disagree? The Slendertone Face electronically stimulates the muscles, boosting tone. Use it for 20 minutes a time, up to five times a week, for a ‘natural face-lift’. On offer at £199.99, at Boots.com
2 hours and 10 minutes
An oldie but a goodie, Clarins Beauty Flash Balm still works its magic. Massage into the face for instantly tighter, brighter skin (£28, at Houseoffraser.co.uk) Or to reduce the appearance of pores (and over time to nuke them completely), try the new RéVive Pore Correctif Serum. Costly, but effective. £145, at spacenk.com
Need a big look but have neither the skill nor the energy to attempt that intergalactic sex-bomb effect? Get thee to Illamasqua and let the make-up artists work their magic.From £30 (illamasqua.com)
1 1/2 hours
Look to S/S 2013 with a flick of the Orient: line the inside of your lower lid with a jade liner. Our picks: YSL Long-Lasting Eye Pencil in Deepest Green, £19 (yslbeauty.co.uk) or MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner. £14 (maccosmetics.co.uk)
Layer fragrance to make it last longer. Try using the new Chanel No 5 soap with its matching body lotion and fragrance.
You can’t go wrong this winter with show-off nails. Festive and sparkling, Essie’s Leading Lady will make you the centre of attention (and will last) £7.99, at boots.com. Finish with Mavala’s lovely Oil Seal Dryer quick-dry top coat for a speedier, glossier finish. £10.66, at Feelunique.com
For a fabulous fake-lash fix, you can’t do better than these dazzling Dior crystal-encrusted eyelashes. £19, at Houseoffraser.co.uk
Don’t forget your back, collarbones, legs and décolletage: boost all your assets with a dusting of Givenchy L’Argent Céleste No 57, a light pearlescent powder that adds subtle sheen to your skin (as well as a certain chic to your dressing table). £43.50, at Debenhams.com
No matter how hard it is, avoid caffeine and sugary foods before a party, or your skin will be dull and dehydrated. Think of it as a one-day, light version of the 5:2 diet.
Revitalise weary hair with a blast of Klorane’s Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, beloved by Kaiser Karl (below) — and, who knows, maybe his cat Choupette. £7.50, at johnlewis.com
Nothing picks you up faster than a sensual scent, and YSL’s Manifesto is our pick of the season. £44, at harrods.com
Last-minute disaster? Erase spills, stains and deodorant marks with the jolly red Rescue Sponge, £10, and fix a fallen hem with Mishap Tape, £9.50, by Miss Oops from BeautyMart at Harvey Nichols (020 7201 8087)
Mid-party and in need of a bit more va va voom? The stunning Giorgio Armani Holiday Collection Face & Eye Palette (below) will be your friend: use your fingers to work the highlighter round your temples and beneath your brow bone; the eyeshadow and lip colour will complete your look. £60, at harrods.com
You've been there a while
A little, shall we say, jaded? Wipe away the evidence with bareMineral’s Stroke of Light Eye Brightener, an illuminator that is both sheer enough to be invisible and at the same time brilliantly covers dark circles. £22 (bareminerals.co.uk)
Original article published in ES Magazine, in November, 2012