We all know that cocktail hour typically falls after the workday, so it’s helpful to know a few expert tips from someone like myself who’s mastered a seamless and easy way to transition into cocktail hour from the office.  You see, I’ve been doing this for fifteen years! As a beauty and lifestyle journalist I’ve had to attend hundreds of events straight from the office looking polished and elegant.

It all begins with some preparation before I leave for the office. In the shower I give my skin an all over exfoliation focusing on the ‘T” (centre of the face) zone and my neck and décolletage. I then slather on a fragranced body lotion making sure to add a little extra over the elbows, knees and around the soles of my feet. There’s nothing worse than cracked heels in strappy stilettos!

I’ll give my hair a smooth blow-dry with root lift using a large round, bristle brush. A smooth head of hair is a good base to create any hairstyle whether hair is short or long.

My make-up application is light and natural, as I know I will need to freshen up later in the day. I add some foundation to my moisturizer, apply two coats of mascara, a sweep of blush and finish with lipstick.

At the office I keep a small, two-sided mirror hidden inside my desk draw along with mini face blotting tissues to remove shine, a facial spritzer spray to deliver instant moisture and leave my complexion fresh and revitalized and a small bottle of Tea Tree Oil, which is a life saver if you happen to notice an unwanted blemish half-way through the day.

A few extras that are handy are a pack of facial wipes, lip balm to keep lips moist and an emery board and a tube of hand cream for soft youthful-looking hands.

It’s also a good idea to think your wardrobe, as you will want to make an effortless work-to-cocktail transition. For me the easiest way to do this is to wear a classic little black dress and add an evening shoe and handbag. If it’s a black-tie affair I go all out with a statement piece of jewelry such as an oversized necklace or earrings and a bracelet (never all three) as this is a sure way to make you dazzle the moment you walk in.

30 minutes before you leave the office…

Freshen up your make-up at the end of the day by blotting skin with facial wipes.

Add foundation only where you need it and set with blotting papers.

Then sweep a beige eyeshadow all over the eye area and add a taupe eye color along the brow bone and blend upwards and out. Draw a line very close to top lashes using a black or brown eye pencil and wing upwards at the outer eye area.

If you already have mascara on don’t apply any more as your lashes will look too thick and clumpy. If you don’t have any on add two coats to top lashes only.

Add a pop of color to the apples of your cheeks and blend upwards. My favorite blush color is a pinky-peach color as it suits most skin tones and livens up the complexion.

Moisturize lips with a lip-balm and leave to sink into lips whilst you attend to your hair.

3 chic and polished hairstyles that I suggest that are quick and easy are:

The Low Chignon

To get the look give hair a low side parting and pull hair into a low ponytail and secure with an elastic band. Divide the ponytail into two sections. Twist one section first and secure with bobby pins. Repeat the step with the second section.

French Roll

The modern-day version is easy to achieve. Simply sweep hair back and to the side just above your shoulder. Start twisting hair upwards pinning with bobby pins as you roll hair up to the crown, and then secure with more bobby pins. Hide any loose ends by tucking then into the twist or fan then out and spray. You can dress this up with a hair jewel.

Slicked back

This is one of my favorite looks. It works particularly well with short hair or bobbed hair. Part your hair where you prefer and add a few drops of hair oil to the balms of your hands for short hair and a more generous amount for bobbed hair. Press into the hairline and blend back to the front of the ears. Use your fingers to separate and adjust the hair and finish with a spritz of hairspray.

Once you’re happy with how you look add a rich, luscious lip color and Voila! You are cocktail ready.


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