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A red-carpet makeup artist curates the products necessary
to master quick holiday-party prep.
Written By Lexy Lebsack
Shopping List: Boardroom to Ballroom Beauty Essentials  |  #VioletGrey, The Industry's Beauty Edit

– PHOTOGRAPHY BY GUY AROCH / TRUNK ARCHIVE

Among the myriad epithets bestowed upon certain times of the day, there is one notably missing. While “the golden hour” portrays the soft, beautiful light found just before dusk and “the witching hour” describes the stroke of midnight as the perfect time for mischief, the sliver of time between the work whistle blowing and a cocktail party beginning is left nameless. VIOLET GREY believes that anyone who still refers to the post-office, pre-evening-out window as happy hour is sorely mistaken. Perhaps it is best described as “the stressing hour” since each precious minute seems to fly by faster than the seconds that precede it, necessitating a beauty strategy as quick and effortless as it is alluring.
“It’s the feeling of being overwhelmed that makes you not even want to go to the party,” makeup artist Molly R. Stern says. On the job she can take all the time she needs to ready clients like Reese Witherspoon, Lily Collins and Amy Adams for the red carpet, but Stern naturally gravitates to products that are fast and easy and prefers her fingers to brushes. (Suffice it to say, she works fast.) Speed and ease aside, her work — which could be described as soft, feminine and flecked with color — is widely celebrated. (Incidentally, she’s also the makeup artist behind Margot Robbie’s cover shoot with VIOLET GREY.) Her advice on the topic of rapid prep? “You’re not going to have time to do a whole new face of makeup,” she says. Instead, focus on touching up your skin and adding a touch of blush (Stern calls it the best pick-me-up ever), then focus on one feature. The products she recommends to create a holiday-cocktail-party-worthy look in the blink of an eye, below.

BOARDROOM TO BALLROOM
ESSENTIALS

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“The first thing to have with you is a makeup-removing wipe, like these Koh Gen Do cloths. It allows you to remove any lip color or eye makeup you were wearing , or clean your skin if you’re feeling grimy.”
-MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“It’s best to think of foundation as a light veil. I don’t ever recommend a full face of foundation, even for evening. It’s a dated look that can make you look older. Instead, it’s great to have something buildable in your bag that you can apply only where you need it. This formula gives light coverage, and you can use the brush to get under your eyes.”
-MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“If you need more coverage [than the brush in No. 2, above] the Bobbi Brown stick is dense and allows you to quickly erase blemishes, tired eyes or redness. This is great for touching up makeup after work or concealing, but don’t apply over the entire face. Instead, warm a little between your fingers, and press and dab onto skin.”
-MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Blush is the greatest pick-me-up of all time. It makes you look alive, glowing and healthy — basically all the things that people are trying to get, and they don’t realize the answer is blush! My two favorite Laura Mercier cream blushes are Blaze and Sunrise. Both are universally flattering, but one gives you a natural flush (Blaze), and the other will give a little more brightness (Sunrise). To apply just smile and blend it into the apples of your cheeks.”
-MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“Wearing high-maintenance lip color at a party is a real bummer. If you’re going to be eating and drinking — maybe even kissing someone under the mistletoe — it’s nice to wear a stain. I love Icon and Muse, and you can add cream or gloss on top to intensify it if you want, but you know that it’s going to stay in place. The trick to this formula is to get it on and blot it immediately.”
-MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“The thing that’s great about eyeliner is that it can go with an eye or a lip, just apply it really tight on your lash line, top and bottom. My only recommendation is try something other than black or brown — go for a little color like Elizabeth Violet or Marlene Midnight! You don’t realize how many colors are actually in your eyes, and adding a colored eyeliner brings it out. Then you can use a wipe to clean up any smudges, and gently pinch your lashes to clean them before applying another coat of mascara.”
-MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST

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“It’s nice to have a shadow palette in your bag because it gives you a range, but when you’re getting ready quickly I suggest sticking to just one color. Press your ring finger into the shadow and just dab it on your lid. I love the copper color [top left] from this palette, and the black glittery shade is gorgeous. The lighter shades are great to wear if you’re doing a lip, too.”
-MOLLY R. STERN

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“This is a great investment if you’re a red-lipstick girl; it really covers all your shades. I keep this in my set pack, so if I am digging for a color [to touch up my client] and I can’t find it I just sub in one of these because they cover all the shades of red. If you want to mix your colors I suggest you layer directly on the lips. Start with one hue and add another, and blend until you find the hue you want [with the included brush].”
-MOLLY R. STERN, MAKEUP ARTIST
Filed Under: GIFTS
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In polite society, the path from the boardroom to the ballroom is paved in LIPSTICK & liner. 
 -violet grey
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