How to choose winter makeup

Many women don’t think about changing their makeup routine for winter – but it’s more important than you think. We’ve compiled some top tips and looks for you to try this winter.

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How to choose winter makeup

How to choose winter makeup: FAQs

  • Do I need to buy all new makeup?

    Definitely not. Adapting your makeup for winter is about just that: adapting. To keep your skin moisturised and looking fresh and youthful, just take your time and use powder products sparingly. There’s no need to buy a whole new set of products.

  • How do I do winter makeup for combination skin?

    Combination skin is extremely common, and while it can be difficult to manage in winter, it’s certainly doable. Figure out exactly which parts of your skin tend to get oily and blot or powder those places individually, rather than powdering your whole face to get that matte look.

  • What if my skin gets dry during the day?

    Of course, you can’t use traditional moisturisers when you’re already wearing makeup during the day. But you can get hydrating facial mists, spray-on moisturisers or setting sprays that will reinvigorate your skin without smudging your makeup. They’re perfect for popping in your handbag so you can keep your skin looking fresh and healthy all day long.

  • What’s the best way to keep skin healthy in winter?

    The number one way to keep your skin looking young and healthy all year round is nourishing it from within. No amount of skincare and beauty products will make your skin look healthy on the outside if it isn’t healthy on the inside. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, not drinking excessive alcohol or caffeine, and you’re eating well. A healthy body means healthy skin.

  • What’s the best primer for winter?

    Matte primers tend to be the most popular because they create a solid base for your foundation that won’t budge. But in winter, look for a luminous primer instead. The subtle shimmer underneath your foundation will make your skin look like it’s glowing from the inside and will add an extra layer of hydration while keeping your makeup in place.

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Many women don’t necessarily think about changing their makeup routine for winter – but it’s more important than you think. The cold winter months can really take their toll on our skin. Whether it makes your skin dry out or leaves you lacking that tanned summer glow, changing up your winter makeup routine can leave you looking fresh and glamorous when the weather is anything but. Plus, winter is a great time to try out some darker, smoky looks that will complement your winter wardrobe.

We’ve compiled our top tips for adapting your makeup routine for the winter and a few looks for you to try out.

Discover the best beauty brands, products, and essentials that will keep you looking your best no matter what.

Top Tips for Winter Makeup

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

The primary issue that many women face with their skin in winter is dryness. Applying makeup directly onto dry skin will make foundation look cakey, and your eyeshadow will gather in the creases on your eyelid. Dryness is the number one culprit if your makeup applies unevenly and fades or moves easily.

Three key steps can help to prevent this in the colder months: moisturiser, primer, and setting spray. Your moisturiser should go on before anything else, ideally after you’ve cleansed your skin. Try to use a moisturiser with SPF protection because even though it’s colder, the sun’s UV rays can still sneak through and damage your skin and make it age faster. After the moisturiser, apply a primer. This gives a base for the makeup to sit on so it doesn’t seep into your pores and further dry out your skin. Then apply the rest of your makeup and finish off with a setting spray to keep it all in place.  

Professional makeup artist & beauty specialist Becca Gray told Age Times, "In winter our skin can feel dry and lifeless, I would recommend adding an oil into your skin care routine. This will help stop your foundation from feeling cakey and cracking, plus will help add a glow to the skin. If you are really struggling with dryness, you can add oil into your foundation for extra hydration. Lip balm will be your best friend, apply when you apply your skin care so there is time for this to soak in ready for when you apply lipstick."

Take your time

Another common mistake is not leaving enough time in between the steps in your makeup routine. This can exacerbate the dryness and cause the products to merge and form a paste, which is never very attractive. Between the key steps, particularly those where you’re using liquid products, wait for the product to fully absorb the skin before moving on to the next step.

So, after the moisturiser, wait until it’s all absorbed before you apply the primer. The same between primer and foundation, and any other liquid products your using. This will make all of the products remain separate and sit smoothly on top of one another.

Embrace deeper colours

The colder season is the perfect time to embrace autumnal colours. If your complexion gets paler in autumn and winter, these colours will complement your fairer skin, so you can embrace it rather than turning to a fake tan or heavy bronzer. On the other hand, if you have a darker complexion, these deeper colours are still great for getting holiday glam and matching your cosy winter wardrobe.

Think berry pink, burgundy, chocolate brown. You can opt for a dark bronze or muted gold colour with a bit of sheen if you want to dial up the glam. For a chic winter look, pick either a simple, single colour eyeshadow or a matte lipstick, and keep the rest of your face simple and natural.

Love your lipstick

We love a sultry, smoky eye for the winter. Still, many women’s skin gets drier as they age, so using too many powder products can make your skin even drier. If this is an issue you face, use the winter months to lean into some classic lipstick looks. Ironically, liquid lipstick can be extremely drying, so try and find a good cream lipstick to keep your skin healthy.

If you find your lips getting chapped and dry, invest in a good lip scrub. This will gently exfoliate your lips to keep dry skin at bay and keep them moisturised when you’re not wearing lipstick with lip balm or face cream. This will keep your lipstick looking bold and beautiful until spring comes back around.

Winter-proof your makeup

While the winter months can be beautiful, the weather can also be extremely temperamental. With rain, snow, sleet, cold and wind to work against, you need to give your makeup a fighting chance. Waterproof products are a great way to make sure your cosmetics stay put all day, and you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain.

If you find your skin gets dry during the day, keep some setting spray or a spray-on moisturiser (check that it’s suitable to use on top of makeup – not all of them are) in your handbag, so you can reapply throughout the day and keep your skin looking young and fresh. If you find that your lipstick smudges easily, particularly in wet weather, dab some translucent powder on top with the tip of your finger or a sponge to hold it in place.

Find a winter foundation

One of the cardinal sins of winter makeup is using the same foundation that you use in the summer. If you change nothing else in your makeup arsenal, change your foundation. Naturally, your skin will become paler in the cold winter months, so using the same foundation year-round will either leave you looking grey and ashy in summer, or orange and blotchy in winter.

If you’re struggling to find your perfect match for winter or your favourite brand doesn’t have quite the right shade, try mixing. This generally works best with the same type of product, so you know the formulas work together. Get a paler foundation and mix in some of your summer foundation bit by bit until you find the perfect match. You can also get lightening drops, which you can mix into your foundation in your hand or on a small palette to adapt your summer foundation for your winter skin.

Switch up your blusher

Many people forget about blusher when it comes to changing up their winter makeup routine – but it’s more important than you think. In the summer, when you’re looking for that healthy bronzed glow, it’s generally best to opt for a peach or coral toned blush to give your skin a warmer tone.

But in winter, go for a blush that is more pink or pastel toned. This will give you that slightly cold nipped look, capturing how your face gets flushed in winter. This will look much more natural while still adding some colour to your face over your foundation. If you have dry skin, try out a cream blush in winter. Cream blushes can be difficult to work with in summer when the skin is oilier, but in the colder months, they will stay put and hydrate your skin. The same goes for highlighter. If you’re a fan of highlighter, move away from gold and bronze products to highlighters with white, blue or pink to make you glow all winter long.

Use bronzer sparingly

In winter in the northern hemisphere, most people see their skin get a little paler. This can make you want to compensate with extra bronzer or fake tan. However, this can easily look unnatural and forced, particularly if you’re on the paler side anyway or have blue undertones to your skin.

Embrace your winter skin! Having a paler complexion in the winter doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Use it as a time to play with contrast, by wearing darker lipstick or eyeshadow looks. If your skin has more yellow undertones or looks a little ashy when it’s paler, use a little bronzer to colour-correct if you need to. But wearing a well-matched foundation should rectify that issue anyway. Be sparing with your bronzer, and steer into your inner ice queen.

Top 5 Winter Makeup Looks

Whatever your skill level, there are plenty of winter makeup looks you can try out this year. One of the easiest ways to find new inspiration and learn new skills is with online tutorials. There are thousands of people online creating videos to help any woman find their ultimate winter look. They’re also great for getting product recommendations, so you can see different products in action and learn how to get the best from your products.

Whether you want to try out something bold and glamorous, or just upgrade your everyday routine, here are some great tutorials to level up your winter makeup.

Glowing Winter Makeup

This tutorial is perfect for making your skin look like it’s glowing through the cold winter months, even if your complexion is naturally on the drier side.

Winter Makeup with a Dark Lip

Autumn and winter are the perfect seasons to try out a bolder, darker lip. Step out of your comfort zone and make a real statement with this glamorous look.

Hydrating Winter Makeup Look

This tutorial has some great tips for a chic makeup look that hydrates and takes care of your skin at the same time.

Soft Everyday Winter Makeup

This makeup look is naturally beautiful but plays with a little bit of shimmer and glitter to really elevate the look.

Easy Winter Glam Makeup

This tutorial will really help you embrace your inner glam. Even if you’ve never tried a bold lip before, this look will definitely convince you to try it out.

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