Personal party planning
I love an excuse to play dress up. I recently attended the Face the World gala in Vancouver, which raises money for several different local charities. (Over $1 Million raised this year!) This is an event I look forward to every year not only because it's a good cause, but because it's a great party with amazing food and entertainment. And with many years of parties under my belt, I know the rookie mistakes that lead to a sore head and sore feet. I have learned a thing or two about how to look and feel your best for an important event, whether you're heading to the Oscars, a wedding or a night on the town.
You need a really good one the night before. This is the time to take whatever measures you need to ensure a deep slumber. For me, that means reading – not tv – before bed, no more than one glass of wine, ear plugs and half a sleeping pill. (NOTE: if you don’t already take the odd sleeping pill, this is not the time to start. Talk to your doctor.) And of course there are many herbal sleep remedies on the market as well. But a cat meowing three blocks away will wake me up, so I need the big guns.
Try to make your diet generally healthy over the week preceding your event. It really does show up on your skin. This does NOT mean starving yourself, which will only make your skin a bit grey. Amp up the fruit and vegetables and skip dessert and salt.
On the day of the event, eat some healthy fats right before you head out. Half an avocado is perfect. It’ll soak up some of the alcohol you may be consuming. If you plan to have some drinks, I’d have half a beer while getting ready (as long as you’re having a snack as well) to help you relax and get into party mode. If you’re not sure of the food program, it’s even wise to carry a few nuts in your clutch! Arriving ravenous is never wise.
This step isn’t for everyone, but being as ghostly white as I am I like to get my glow on. Not quite a tan but just a kiss of colour. That means the morning before, a good exfoliation. (I know we all like to skip this step but for flawless radiance you really must do it. My favourite body scrub is by Kiehls.) Then a head to toe application of Sothys self tanner. Believe me when I tell you I have tested ALL the tanners out there. This is my current favourite and it has no odour. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Salon Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist is also a good choice. Always practice with these products in advance.
Yes, underwear. We all plan our outfit in advance, but do you go the extra step of planning your undergarments? This will affect your overall comfort and how you appear in pictures. If you’re planning to go braless or are wearing something different than usual, like a Spanx undergarment (our favourite brand), I recommend taking a photo of yourself in your entire outfit in advance. The camera flash has an interesting way of highlighting things you thought were safely hidden from public view. That’s why I recommend “Nippies” for those braless occasions.
Hair & Make-Up
And then, of course, comes the all-important hair and make-up. I swear you can be wearing an unbelted garbage bag and it wouldn’t matter if you’ve got good hair and make-up. For that I asked make-up artist Nicole Harvie to help me get gala-ready. And these are her top tips, no matter what the event:
1. Manicure & Pedicure
Perfectly primped nails can have you feeling like a superstar in about an hour. Whether you are swinging by the salon or painting in front of the TV, make sure you have enough drying time allotted. Get both fingers and toes done the day before the big event to avoid any dents. Freshen them up the day of with a slick of cuticle oil. Top pick: OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go by O.P.I. that comes in a squeezy tube with a soft-touch brush.
Depending upon how much skin you have showing, you want to ensure all skin is hydrated. A glow-all-over effect adds instant glam. Have a long soak the night before with a bath oil for deep-hydration (Top pick: Eminence Apricot Body Oil) and before you don your party best, apply a veil of hydrating body lotion with some luminosity to add extra sheen.
I am currently obsessed with Eminence Blueberry Shimmer Body Lotion. Don’t forget to layer on your favorite facial night cream so your complexion is as smooth as possible the next morning.
3. Make-up & Hair
As a professional make-up artist, you’re never fully dressed without beautiful make-up. Whether it’s simple or dramatic, decide on the focal point of the makeup and play up your best feature, from pillowy Angelina Jolie lips to old Hollywood doe eyes.
If you are having a professional do your makeup, be sure to show them your outfit and discuss the look you are trying to achieve. My clients always book to have their hair done before I do their makeup so there are no water drops on their foundation from the hair washing sink! Whatever the final result of your makeup & hair, ensure that you are comfortable and happy before you head out the door.
4. Fabulous Fringe
Big splashy events call for extra eyelashes! Experiment with individual and strip lashes ahead of time to test your sensitivity. Some gals find them irritating and/or cumbersome. If you love big lashes, you may want to try (well in advance of your event) some professional eyelash extensions. Top pick: extensions by Misencil, which hail from France. What’s not to love?
Most importantly, don’t take any of it too seriously. Smile, have fun and plan a safe ride home.
My dress is Balmain, shoes are Fendi, and bag is Prada.