How to MacGyver a Party Look When You've Got Next to Nothing to Work With

The beauty equivalent of making a weapon out of an onion ring and a paperclip.

Nail, Acting, Thumb, Fictional character, Games, Glove, Animation, Armour, Viking, Gesture,
Getty, design by Betsy Farrell

Due to unforeseen circumstances or your own negligence—they say gifted children procrastinate, so no planning at all must denote Pythagoras-level cleverness—you've got a party to attend but none of the beauty accoutrements. No glitter, fleck size XXL, so it makes a mosaic effect around your eyes. No fluoro-yellow mascara like they did at Molly Goddard. Nothing but a few orphan bobby pins, a banged-up tube of Topshop Persuasion from the bottom of your bag, and your wits. You can't *not* go, so what do you do? 1) The opposite of panicking, which is probably a quick Headspace session or sitting on the floor until the spin-y feeling passes. Then 2), the following ideas, brought to you by celebrity makeup artist Mai Quynh and our own brains, which might be bad at packing/too good at getting last-minute invitations, but excellent at creative problem-solving.


The beauty of do-or-die is that you either do it, or, you know, perish. Limited options can sometimes lead us to the most elegant solutions, as they do in this case, when you can't even attempt an elaborate up-do because all you've got is one stretched-out elastic and a bottle of hotel-room conditioner. Here is what you can do:

  1. Nothing, because natural texture + a mega dress (you *have* got *that* part sorted, haven't you?) = editorial, I-just-came-in-from-the-pool-and-slipped-this-on chicness. (Though you will have to do something a bit more with your face.)
  2. Slicked-back, which looks quite "done" and can be accomplished with the aforementioned complimentary conditioner (rinse well after) or even water, if you're really in a pinch (might have to rehydrate later).
  3. Bendies, or when the front hair curves inward to frame the face (see below or any photo of Kate Moss). Pin pieces on either side of your part in place, then stick your head under a hairdryer or a hand one (ignore any weird looks—desperate times, etc). Let cool. Remove pins, and periodically push forward to keep them from straightening out.

    This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.


    Depending on how successful you are at pulling a suitable outfit together, this part will be either more or less important—more so if, for the first time in your life, you literally have nothing to wear. (Get thee some heels, then, and think Garance Doré.) If you've got a lipstick, put it on, by Jove, as neatly as you can. From there, Quynh suggests, pat some highlighter or the pearly shade from an eyeshadow palette onto the center of the bottom lip. Or rim your waterlines with pencil, on top of what you've already got on. On top of *that,* you could also smear some cream blush (or powder, mixed with some balm or moisturizer) for a striking Kristen Stewart homage.

    This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    Our best advice, though: After a few coupes of Champagne, who cares? And maybe, from now on, never leave home without a pair of emergency big earrings.

    Follow Marie Claire on Facebook for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at
    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
    More From Beauty