Winter is the hardest time of year to make yourself look presentable. It’s super cold and dry, so your hair’s a flyaway mess, and your face is brittle, red and flaky.
What’s even more fun about winter is it zaps your skin of moisture — the key ingredient to successful makeup blending — which makes it extra hard to cover up the damage winter does. The unfortunate end result is foundation that flakes away with the first stiff breeze, and red blotches that somehow make their way through layers of cover-up.
So what can you do to combat Mother Nature’s most brutal months? Quite a bit actually. Here are several easy makeup hacks you can utilize during the winter that will give you the confidence to venture outside even when there are several feet of snow on the ground.
1. Exfoliate to get rid of flakes
The biggest bummer of winter makeup application is how poorly foundation and dry skin go together. Renee Garnes, a celebrity makeup artist, told Refinery29, “Makeup tends to sit on flakes, cake into dry areas, and highlight dry patches even more.” So the best way to fix this is get rid of all those flakes before you start applying. Use a gentle, daily exfoliating cleanser to remove any dry patches. I’m partial to Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub. Pat dry, then move onto a serious moisturizer.
2. Moisturize like it’s your job
Winter is by far the driest season, and if you’re already prone to dry skin (like I am), you’re probably well aware of how important it is to constantly moisturize. However, for your face’s sake, you want to be careful. You don’t want to use something too heavy because that might make your face greasy and cause you to break out. The only thing worse than dry skin in the winter is blemished dry skin in the winter. Try using a gentle but intense face moisturizer. Again, Aveeno makes a great one. It also helps calm your skin in case you get a blotchy face in the winter (me). Also consider trying an oil cleanser which can moisturize as it cleanses away dirt.
3. Finally, picking the foundation…
Here’s where things can get tricky. Now that your face is fully moisturized and clear of most dry patches, you want to choose a foundation that’s not too heavy, but has a moisturizing component so it doesn’t flake off the second you leave the house. Number one, you want to go with a liquid or cream-based foundation for maximum moisture. And number two, you should use your fingers to apply it so that you can more easily work it into the skin. According to Holly White, a makeup artist and photographer’s assistant in Oregon, “the natural oils in your fingers help spread the foundation onto your skin more evenly.”
More: How to pick the perfect foundation for your skin
4. Use the right cover up
The worst thing you can do to dry skin is cover it with a moisture-sucking, waterproof concealer. Mar Miller-Wave, a professional makeup artist in Los Angeles, says liquid concealer is the only way to go in the winter, especially on the nose. “You should make sure you’re a applying a thin, even layer. Even liquid concealer that’s too thick will highlight dry patches.” She recommends Chanel’s Lift Lumière anti-aging concealer, which has moisture built in.
5. Chapped lips
There is not one person who doesn’t deal with the pain of chapped lips in the winter. First they get dry from the wind, then you lick them, then they get drier. This is what I like to call Mother Nature’s most vicious cycle. Best remedy for it? Super moisturizing ChapStick that absorbs quickly and doesn’t taste so good that you lick it off without thinking. Kiehl’s is an expert at these, and even has one specially designed for lip restoration after you’ve licked yours to pieces (which let’s face it, you probably will at some point).
6. Finish with blush, even if you normally skip it
I’m not a big blush wearer normally, but in the winter, I try and step up my game to give my skin more color. According to Woman’s Day, peaches and bright pinks are great pops of color on paler, midwinter skin. You might want to go for a cream-based blush though, as powders will be sure to dry you out and run off on sweaters and scarves.
7. When in doubt, go a shade darker
In order to battle the dull skin that’s often an unfortunate side effect of drying, winter weather, try bumping up your skin tone with some bronzer. Miller-Wave told SheKnows that sheer bronzer is always best when your skin is dry because it’s lighter. “Go for one that’s got some shimmer to it, since matte ones will make your skin look drier.” If you’re not a bronzer fan, you can try moisture-rich foundation that’s a hair darker than your normal shade, and pair it with a warm blush.