For the last fabulous holiday party of the year you want to be at your fabulous best, right? If it sounds challenging, relax. If it sounds exciting, you’re right.

A New Year’s Eve party is a time to shine, so pull out the yoga-class pony tail and pull up to the dressing table, because hair and makeup are every bit as important as the perfect dress. Gentlemen, stay tuned — there are essential styling tips for you, too.

Mermaids and maidens

Linda Aguilar, licensed cosmetologist and instructor at the Tricoci University of Beauty Culture in Highland, Ind., said braids are returning in a big way. “One style we’re seeing for longer hair is straight across, ear to ear, then curling hair a little out of the braid.”

Stylist Holly Banic at Vanis Salon and Day Spa in Valparaiso, Ind., said the fishtail braid is reeling in interest. “It’s a little more updated braid, so neat, it looks like a fish backbone.” Waterfall braid: Think “Princess Bride.” “It looks like a crown around the (back of) the head, with sections of hair hanging down at even intervals. You can also fluff it out for more volume. It’s really cool, and it’s a good look for any age.”

Aguilar said, “Both the French twist and the chignon are very popular looks for New Year’s Eve parties. Stylists are getting creative with the French twist, adding curls that lie on top of the braid. Side-swept bangs look really well with this.” The chignon is updated, too; some are adding pieces to give some curl. For an edgier look, have little straight spikes coming out from the chignon. If romance is in your soul, add flowers or baby’s breath.

“Waves are popular, too, from (smaller, tighter) finger waves, to more subtle, beach-y waves,” said Banic. Aguilar said if your hair is baby-fine, finger curls can give it extra body.

“Looser curls are a romantic look,” said Aguilar. “People can do it themselves, but be careful with the hot curling iron. Wrap sections of hair, one at a time, around the curling iron. Let the curls cool, then lightly run fingers or a wide-tooth comb through your hair. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes, tops.”

Balayage is trending for hair colorings. Translation: It’s a subtler form of ombre, said Banic. “Hand-coloring the hair allows for different shadings, pieces of lighter colors in face-framing layers and on the ends of the hair.” Since colors can be hard to describe, best bring in a picture of what you want. Ramp up the glam with a timeless, sparkly brooch.

If you’re on a budget like practically everybody you know, head for a beauty school, said Aguilar. “We’re on top of the latest trends.”

Heads up, guys

“Most women like their men looking manly as long as they take care of it — a good haircut and very well-groomed facial hair.” That’s from Jason Potchen, owner/operator of McFly’s Gentleman’s Shop in Crown Point, Ind.

A good cut for holiday revelry is the classic look, “with real sharp side parts, a pompadour, a tailored, gentleman’s style from the ’20s and ’30s lifestyle,” said Potchen. “And blow dryer is like an MVP for a guy; it will give some shape.” Not to worry: “We’re actually schooling guys in how to use the blow dryer.”

Spring for some product, too. “You can get a great haircut but you still need product.” Go easy on it, advised Potchen. Water-based Layrite is good for a night-on-the-town sleek look. Choose Matrix for a matte, more natural finish.

Facial hair is very popular now, said Potchen — but no “Duck Dynasty” wildness, please. “Facial hair is very well-manicured and detailed.” Mustache? Go for it. “It’s kind of a tongue-and-cheek thing. A lot of dudes are growing the mustache out, but it has to be neat and presentable. The barber will tailor it with the shave, so it all looks balanced with the entire look.”

Making up is easy

A splash of makeup color brings the party vibe. “We have a palette of pretty jewel-tone eye shadows, like jade, emerald and purple,” said Banic.

Crystal Baldazo at Tricoci University of Beauty said the classic cat eye is catching glances; lighter shading at the top “brings the eye out.” The makeup licensed esthetician, master educator and education supervisor says “It’s usually done in black, but we’re seeing metallic colors for winter.”

Baldazo said for a fresh, dewy face, use a sheer, liquid foundation and put away the powder. A matte berry lip completes the look.

Balance is important, said Banic. “With a subtle eye, use a bold, shiny lip. With a smoky eye, go with a subtler lip.”

Eyebrows are sculpted, ladies — think Juliana Margulies, everyone’s favorite “Good Wife.”

“Brows are medium to thick,” said Baldazo. “Start with a pencil outline, fill in with powder, then blend with an eyebrow brush. For even greater definition you can carefully go around the brow with a concealer.”

No need to splurge overmuch for a great look, said Baldazo. Consider buying one product, like a transformer that will turn a powdered eye shadow into a liquid. Tricocci has this.

Put these tips to work, and you've got this. Now, get out there and party like it’s New Year’s Eve.

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