Nice To Naughty Makeup You Can Do In The Car

Go from office holiday party to afterparty with five little products.
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Go from office holiday party to afterparty with five little products.

Office holiday parties are great for festive eating and drinking on the company dime. But things can be a bit stiff since you don’t want to misbehave in front of the boss. The choice scenario? Make a politely-timed appearance and then feign due diligence to get yourself home--but instead grab your close colleagues and start the afterparty. 

Whether you're in the backseat of a cab or an office bathroom, here's how to nudge your makeup from nice to naughty with just five (clutch-size) products. 

party makeup bag

Topshop Lip Polish in Gallery, Sonia Kashuk Kajal Crayon liner, YSL Volume Effet Baby Doll Mascara, Bb Brilliantine, Redken Wind Blown 05 dry finishing spray. Also: This RYE shearling clutch makes a nice pillow for the subway ride home.


My “nice” face takes about five minutes. It goes like this: tightline upper lashes with sharpened kohl liner; apply volumizing mascara on top lashes; tint cheeks and lips with Topshop Lip Polish in Gallery.

lipstick blotting

Topshop lip polish has the texture of a balm, the color of a stain, and the satin finish of a gloss. Tap on, blot, blend. 

Look how approachable and non-threatening I look! 

minimal makeup look

Picture day ready!


Speaking of non-threatening, time to ditch the squares and hop on the back of some babe’s motorcycle and ride off into the sunset, '80s montage style. Take that kohl liner out and waterline your lower eyelid, running over your lower lash line in a second pass. Extend the line past the outer corners in a slight wing.

reverse cat eye

Using your pinky finger, smudge the line ever so slightly and extend the wing. Cotton swabs are even better than pinkies, if you remember to throw some in your clutch. A folded tissue also works just fine to carve that wing real sharp. If you go over that part again with kohl to intensify, I’m not going to stop you.

smudged eyeliner

Also: don't touch anything with that finger afterward.

Now is the time to swipe that Lip Polish once, twice, three times a diva. See how the color builds? It’s like the perfect juicy red stained lip.

sheer red lip

Quite the overachiever, this lipstick is. 

Now for hair. I’ve kept my 'do in a carefully twisted bun. Release thy bun!

messy hair

It will probably look unruly, but that’s OK. In fact, unruly is GREAT. With a texturizing styling cream, separate and twist the ends to form loose, multi-directional waves. Depending on your hair’s shape and length, you can sculpt this however you like best. I prefer a sort of retro-destruction vibe. 

redken wind blown

I packed a baby can of Redken Wind Blown Finishing Spray, a dry-finish texturing and setting spray that gives serious hold without any crunch. Spray your ends with this stuff to put your hair in perma-disco mode. Lastly, chucking a leather jacket into the mix never hurt anyone. Plus, it looks cool. 

To me, this look is more Naughty By Nature than “I Wanna Be Bad,” but hey, 'tis the season to have it all…and wake up in time for work the next morning.

party beauty look

Now, full disclosure: I have never worked full-time at a conventional office, so office parties for me generally entail being a +1 with my mom, or that one time I dated a venture capitalist (they throw very expensive yet dull parties). But whether you're sneaking out of your parents house post-holiday dinner or just don't want to sacrifice your social life to impress HR, it's good to know you can switch gears with minimal effort--and baggage. 

  • What’s your office holiday party style? 
  • Any awkwardly posed office party photos or weird instances where Glen from accounting made a slurry pass at you and then called you mom? Please indulge me, I’m office-gossip deprived.