Regardless of what I’ve got in my Christmas calendar, a haircut and colour is always the first thing I book so I’m ready to face any event. My first choice is always the team at George Northwood, and it’s no coincidence that women like Alexa Chung, Gwyneth Paltrow and Claudia Winkleman agree; the team is so good at what they do. George, who’s been cutting my hair for years, is the master of the invisible trim and his shaggy bob is something of a signature. Meanwhile, his sister Sally does the best, most effortless balayage I’ve ever seen. Better still, the salon is a testing ground for George’s new product range, so you can try before you buy. Spoiler alert: you’ll want it all, but my recommendation is the Undone Volume Spray if you want to add a bit of oomph to your look.
If In Doubt, Fake It
The thought of party season without any fake tan is frankly, a Christmas nightmare. I swear, it makes any Christmas outfit look better. I’ve tried and used lots of great products – in fact, these days it’s hard to find a dud amongst the sophisticated formulas on the market – but there are some I always go back to. For a gradual tan I will always be faithful to Tan-Luxe’s The Butter. I’m obsessed with it, not least because you can slap it on with the same carelessness as a moisturiser and it will deliver a seamless glow every time. It also has a bit of shimmer to it which isn’t in the least bit garish. I also really rate Bondi Sands’ Self Tan Oil Liquid Gold, for faultless application as well as the delicious coconut scent. Finally, Vogue Williams’ range – Bare by Vogue – is exceptional but for the festive season you can't go wrong with the Liquid Body Illuminator for adding an expensive bronzed sheen to exposed limbs.
Heat Things Up
In lieu of events last year, I’m expecting this Christmas to more than make up for it. And while I have a fully stocked make-up bag ready and waiting, the same can’t be said of my hair kit – until now. BaByliss’ new Cordless 9000 Hot Brush is the tool I didn’t know I needed, but I’m now not sure I can ever be without it again. The cordless design makes it so useful for on the go and the three temperature settings will help you achieve salon-worthy results, whatever your hair type. Plus, it’s super gentle, so it doesn’t tug or tangle. I’m know it’ll be an essential part of my kit this party season – and beyond.
Scent The Season
Many of us end up receiving fragrances as Christmas gifts, but treating yourself to a new scent before the big day is the perfect way to get in the festive mood. This year, I’ve been spritzing Byredo’s Mumbai Noise, which captures the energy, vibrancy and sensorial delights of the Indian city – think lots of rich, warm and woody notes underpinned by leather, coffee, incense and tonka bean. It’s dazzling and dynamic enough to take you from a long, languid Christmas lunch to a cocktail party – the perfect way to invoke the party spirit.
December is when I start wearing lipstick properly, so it stands to reason that my lips need to be suitably primped and prepped. Fellow SL contributor Zoe Taylor’s excellent Tinker Taylor Lip Kit combines a brown sugar scrub to banish any flakiness, a nourishing lip oil to ensure a smooth base for any colour and a cosseting lip balm for general moisturisation. The newly available miniature kit means it’s portable as well as practical.
The only real downside of a busy festive period is the feeling that we’re burning out before the day itself. This year, I’m relying on Bertioli Beauty’s Breathing Balm to induce a calmer mood and remind me to breathe through the chaos. Created by Caryn Hibbert, founder of Thyme hotel in the Cotswolds, and her daughter Milly, the scent of the creamy balm is inspired by the water meadows in the hotel’s grounds and uses healing, restorative water mint, thyme and eucalyptus. It’s designed to encourage conscious breathing and a stiller state of mind; I’ll be applying it to my wrists and temples and inhaling deeply all month long.