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Party makeup made easy (& quick!) with Susannah Taylor

Susannah Taylor spills her secrets for quick & easy party make-up

It is my dream to spend two hours before a party getting ready: having a bath with skin-softening oils, perhaps lying down with a depuffing face mask, wrapping up in a dressing gown whilst I put on makeup perfectly and properly. I would paint my nails, tousle my hair, gloss my limbs, spritz my pulse points with perfume and still have time to have a cocktail before we leave the house. That’s the dream and yet I’ve never done it.

My reality goes something like this: it’s 20 minutes before we are due to leave the house and I shout at my husband to cook some pasta for the kids. I run into the shower for 60 seconds, and brush my teeth whilst applying deodorant. I slap on some moisturiser with one hand whilst tonging my hair with the other, before doing my makeup in the bad lighting in the car. I arrive at the party feeling a little more Axel Rose than Rita Hayworth.

Whilst we would all love to have an afternoon to get party-prepped, the reality is that we we will be throwing ourselves together 45 minutes before leaving. If that’s you too, then there are hundreds of fabulous products out there that give maximum impact in minimal time. Here are my all-time fast glamour favourites...


Susannah Taylor, a favourite Westman Atelier palette for last minute red lips!

Whilst we would all love to have an afternoon to get party-prepped, the reality is that we will be throwing ourselves together 45 minutes before leaving...

The 5 minute facial  
A face mask will have quadruple the impact if you exfoliate your skin first. Exfoliating will slough away dead skin cells, revealing silky smooth and glowing – a bit like polishing a pebble until it’s shiny. Any products used afterwards will also be better absorbed. For the quickest impact, I would gently use a granular scrub. One of my favourite instant glow-givers is Seed to Skin’s The Radiance which uses non-toxic, natural ingredients and super fine crystals to leave skin literally beaming.

Hydration Station
Fake a very expensive facial with some serious hydration post-exfoliating.  It will also create the perfect, dewy base for makeup. One product that can instantly turn a dull complexion around (and I am currently obsessed by) is The Ultimate Soothing Cream from Augustinus Bader, £205. It has a buttery soft silky texture that somehow cocoons the skin in moisture, plumping it and creating a luminous glow that doesn’t appear to belong to me. It’s so good (and so expensive) that I am rationing it.

Best of Base
Personally, I prefer a sheer base that evens my skin tone but allows skin to radiate through rather than a foundation with a mask-like finish. One of my favourites for natural flawlessness is the All-In Day Serum from recently launched luxury skincare brand 35 Thousand whose whole raison d’etre is maintaining great skin on the go. This product gives amazing glow whilst somehow smoothing out the skin, yet looks completely au naturel. I then blend away any blemishes or dark circles with the Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer, £23, from Rose Inc the clean makeup line created by Rosie Huntington Whiteley. Now a permanent fixture in my makeup bag, it somehow instantly conceals yet you’d never know it’s there.

If you prefer a slightly heavier base but are short on time, then I can also highly recommend the Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick £62 for buildable coverage that melts into skin. It’s also perfect for clutch bag touch-ups. 

The Instant Smokey eye
A sultry, smoky eye is easier than you think. Just a great product and smudge. My new eyeliner obsession is Victoria Beckham’s Satin Kajal Liner, £20, a highly pigmented and creamy pencil that glides on, can be smudged but then stays put all night. Line upper and low lids with Ash, a dark grey for Chrissy Hynde Vibes or try one of her new iridescent shades.
For a softer smokey eye, the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks, £14 are unbeatable as you literally swipe and smudge with a finger. And if you’re up for some sparkle go for Victoria Beckham’s Lid lustre in Velvet, £30 which gilds lids with a beautiful antique gold. Apply to bare lids or over dark shadow for an iridescent glint. Finish with a lick of Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara, £9 which gives realistic yet ultra impressive definition and length. 

Last minute lips
If you love a red lip then one must-have product for your makeup bag is the Westman Atelier Lip Suede in Les Rouges. Containing four vibrant red shades, dab on lips for a soft berry-bitten tint or use a brush for a more precise finish. If red is not your thing then go for Sisley’s Phyto-Shine Rouge, a refillable sheer balm that has both staying power, the shine of a gloss and comes in many shades. 

Lit limbs 
My favourite instant limb revivers are from This Works. Their Skin Deep Dry leg Oil, £33 is a natural super blend of high-grade essential oils including rose oil, tuberose and sandalwood. It smells completely divine, can be used everywhere not just on legs, and is like a long drink for dehydrated skin. To really bring shoulders arms, or bare legs to life then also apply the This Works Perfect Legs Skin Miracle which is a suits-all bronze that gives a beautiful sheen without being glittery. 

Hair magic 
Need a hair makeover fast? Head for Sam Mcknight’s Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist, £25 which gives hair a slightly dishevelled, super sexy tousle. Just spray through hair or tip head upside down and spray. With a fragrance created by perfumer Lyn Harris it also leaves hair smelling completely divine. 

Make note of top coat 
No time for nails to dry? Have Nailberry’s Fast Dry High Gloss Top Coat, £18.50 to hand which leaves varnish touch dry in 40 seconds which means no smudging en route to the party.

Susannah Taylor is a beauty and wellbeing editor, having worked at Vogue, You magazine, and now the Telegraph. She also founded the website Follow her @susannahtaylor_  

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