YOU'LL SPLURGE ON YOUR HAIR — WHY NOT YOUR FACE? Even if you consider yourself competent with the eyelash curler, a professional makeup artist can take your look to a whole new level just in time for your next holiday party. Sure, you could get it done for free at a cosmetics counter, but an independent pro will teach as well as apply, and isn't necessarily beholden to one brand. Not only will you be the belle of the ball, you'll know how to make the morning after a little less ugly.

Here are three to try:

SUZY MARTIN

Where: Denny Kemp Salon, Minneapolis, 612-676-0300

Fee: Starts at $75

Specialty: Creating your classic look for any occasion

Brand of choice: Becca

Tip: Don't cover shine with powder — you'll end up looking chalky. Use blotting sheets instead.

BONNIE ERICKSON

Where: marcdaniel salon, Maple Grove, 612-501-5889

Fee: Starts at $75

Specialty: Airbrush makeup. She has taught virtually every local newscaster how to do it.

Brands of choice: Dinair airbrush makeup, MAC, Merle Norman mascara

Tip: Apply a light matte eye shadow in the corners and under eyes when your makeup is complete. It's an instant brightener.

JULIE SWENSON

Where: Smart & Chic Bride, Minneapolis, 612-871-4482, smartandchicbeauty.com

Fee: $25-$130

Specialty: Brides, special occasion

Brand of choice: Smart & Chic private label

Tip: Use highlighter to contour and enhance your cheekbones.


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Allison Kaplan writes about shopping and style for the Pioneer Press.