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Successful party make-up involves turning up the volume to the right degree. A glamorous outfit with an undone face produces a strange effect best left to Tilda Swinton. Conversely, a full-on make-over may attract such incredulous compliments from others that you will spend your evening wondering just how unattractive you look on a day-to-day to basis.

In the beauty halls, the most-requested look for party season is the smoky eye – with good reason, since it brings low-maintenance drama. While high-colour lipstick requires perfection, a smoky eye looks OK when a little worn-in. You needn't take the name literally, either; navy or aubergine can be softer and more flattering than charcoal.

Fiddly they might be, but never underestimate the prettifying power of false eyelashes. Enlist help with application if necessary and you'll be pleasantly surprised when you inspect the inevitable barrage of photos – there's a reason they're a red-carpet staple.

A neutral lipgloss should be your plus-one, far more forgiving than lipstick when it comes to eating, drinking and talking. Which, after all, is what a party is about.