Party Makeup in 3 Minutes or Less

Stephanie Tweito Jacob

Your schedule is packed enough as it is. But when you add the extra to-do’s required before a party -- finding a baby sitter, buying a gift for the hostess, etc. -- things can get as hectic as Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Who has time for makeup?

Actually, you do! A festive party calls for a little more makeup than your everyday swipe of lip gloss, and it’s surprisingly easy to liven up your look and still be out the door in a flash.

The trick: Stick with the natural look you usually have but use makeup to play up your best feature -- either your lips, cheeks or eyes.

“Enhancing one part helps you look polished, refreshed, beautiful and not overly made up,” says Maria Verel, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City.

Pick the one feature that people have always complimented, suggests Verel.

Then follow these steps to create a simple, pretty look in less time than it took to choose your outfit.

Holiday Lips

1. Go for a bright shade of lipstick.

“A bright color highlights lips,” says Joette Balsamo, a makeup artist based in New York City. “Bright colors pull things forward; dark colors hide and shrink.” For a safe bet, pick one that’s one or two shades brighter than your lips’ natural tone.

If you’re feeling more daring, branch out from the pinks. Soft coral shades compliment fair skin, cherry reds pop next to medium-toned complexion and cranberry is best for darker skin tones, says Balsamo.

2. Dust on pressed powder.

To help your color stay on (and stay true), apply powder to lips before applying lipstick, says Verel.

3. Use a lip brush.

A brush gives you more control than swiping straight from the tube. That means you’ll achieve an even application and a neater lip line, which are especially important with brighter shades.

4. Go with light makeup elsewhere.

To keep lips in the spotlight, apply a neutral, shimmery eye shadow, curl lashes and swipe on mascara. Dust bronzer all over your face for a warm complexion.

Cheerful Cheeks

1. Pinch cheeks to determine your shade.

Your most flattering blush color mimics a natural flush, says Balsamo. If skin is dark and you don’t see skin flush, pick a bright-fuchsia blush, which appears subtle and rosy on cheeks. Opt for a powder formula versus a cream because powders blend more quickly and easily.

2. Apply blush to the apples of cheeks.

Dip a fluffy blush brush into the powder, tap the handle on the back of your hand to shake off excess and smile. Place the brush on the apples of cheeks and swirl it in a circular motion.

3. Add a little shimmer.

Using your finger, tap shimmery powder highlighter on the skin above the apples of your cheeks (below your under-eyes, where you would apply concealer). This adds a soft glow and highlights cheekbones, which can make your face look slimmer, says Balsamo.

4. Give lips and eyes subtle shine.

A soft-pink lip gloss or balm gives definition without stealing the focus from cheeks. For eyes, dab on shimmery beige shadow, curl your lashes and apply mascara.

Festive Eyes

1. Apply a neutral shimmer shadow.

With a fluffy brush, sweep a shimmery beige-gold or peach eye shadow over your entire lid. The soft sparkle makes eyes look brighter.

2. Line eyes with shadow to emphasize shape.

Dampen a small eyeliner brush and press it into a black matte eye shadow. (Wet shadow glides over lids more easily and looks more natural than pencil liner.) Starting at the inner corner of your eye, drag the brush along your upper lash line. Push the shadow into eyelash roots to make lashes look thicker. Don’t bother lining the bottom lid, says Verel. It may make eyes seem smaller.

3. Smudge and blend.

Using a cotton swab, gently smudge the line for a more natural effect.

4. Curl and lengthen lashes.

Curl your lashes to open and brighten eyes. Press the wand of a black mascara into lash roots, then wiggle the brush from side to side as you brush through. Next, hold the wand vertically, and lightly feather along the tips of lashes to bring out more fullness and length.

5. Think pink for lips and cheeks.

Balance dramatic lashes and defined eyes with sheer pink lip gloss or balm and sheer cream blush. This keeps your face bright and won’t seem overdone next to your festive eyes.