Saturday, December 7, 2013

Faking It: Getting a Glow in Winter

There was a time when I wore nothing but full coverage products in the most matte, flat formulations available. When I say matte, I mean mattttttte: not a hint of shine and borderline chalky.

Now that I'm a little older and wiser, I've come to realize that a glow is just much more flattering on my skin. Admittedly, my combination-dry skin generally lacks shine, so it could be a case of wanting what you don't have--the grass is always greener and whatnot. But I honestly do think that a little dewiness makes most people look more youthful and fresh, especially in the cold winter months. And as I prepare to visit frigid North Dakota, where the temperatures regularly drop in to the negatives, for almost a month, I'm whipping out every tool in my arsenal to keep that glow.

Nothing will beat out the importance of good skincare. Your skin is constantly changing due to the weather, hormones, etc., so you'll want to keep up with its needs on a day-to-day basis to give yourself the best possible canvas. But if you need that extra push? Well, a little makeup never hurts.

1. Don't sparkle, shine! It's been my experience that glittery highlighters look especially heavy on dry, winter-beaten skin, probably because the cold weather alters skin texture for the worst, making every little speck stick out. That's why I stick to glowy highlighters with super-fine shimmer particles, things that are more "sheeny" than "sparkly." The most natural of these is MAC Strobe Cream ($10,, which is technically a moisturizer. I prefer to dab it over my makeup like a normal highlighter, but some people actually mix it with their foundation or apply it all over their face for extra moisture and glow. If you want a truly dewy look, consider the Makeup Forever Uplights ($29, in shades #11 or #12. It's a light gel formulation that looks slightly wet, not at all glittery, on the skin. My all-time favorite highlighter is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector ($41,, which contains the most subtle, layerable shimmer particles I've ever seen.

2. Moisturizers can double as makeup. I've already mentioned MAC Strobe Cream, but don't forget about old classics like Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream ($19.50, Yes, I can use it to moisturize my lips and lashes, but it also gives my face a dewy look. It's great as a highlighter as well--see my previous article for tips! I love this product so much, I keep 3 tubes: one in my makeup collection, one in the bathroom, and one in my purse.

3. Switch to lighter formulations for your base products. I'm not one for full coverage on most days, regardless of the weather, but I especially avoid it during the winter. Why?  Because most full-coverage foundations and concealers are matte and drying, so unless you have oily skin, they're going to cake up and look decidedly fake on dry, dehydrated skin. I stick to super-sheer tinted moisturizers, like the Tarte Tinted BB Treatment ($34, or light, layerable, dewy foundations, like the infamous MAC Face & Body ($27, Then I spot concealer where needed. Even people with discoloration or acne are often better off using a light foundation and spot concealing as needed to prevent that dry, heavy look. For my undereyes, I've been using NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($28, to soften up my dark circles and keep that delicate patch of skin from shriveling up.

4. Need your full coverage? Prepare to shellac it! Truth time: I'm wearing a full-coverage foundation (Dolce & Gabbana's cream formulation) in that top image. And sure enough, as soon as I brushed it on to my skin, that normally luxurious product looked fake and slightly patchy on my dry, dry face. The fix? Generous spritzings of Skindinavia Setting Spray ($29, This is the bridal version, which is slightly shinier, but you can use just about any formulation and get the same sort of effect. It not only holds your makeup in place, but also softens it up and adds some glow without feeling heavy or sticky.

5. Learn to love cream blushes. My cheeks are the Sahara, so I wear cream blushes almost exclusively year-round. But they're especially necessary in the winter, when my cheeks start to get flaky and take on a rougher texture. The emollient, slightly tacky feel of Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow blushes ($26, means that they look dewy and smooth on my cheeks, but also last throughout the day. If you have a more oily skin type, or just prefer a less moisture-ful blush, try Yves Saint Laurent Creme de Blush ($38,, a more powder-like formulation that is still blendable and comfortable on dry skin.


  1. A woman after my own heart, lol. I've been obsessed with cream highlighters and getting the dewy, glowy look lately, and was actually just considering buying Estee Lauder's Invisible Fluid Makeup for a lighter feel. I seriously need to look into cream blushes more I only have one by elf that's drying up. I usually just use my lipstick when I feel like doing cream, haha.

    Loving the blog!

    1. I'm dying to try that EL foundation, but they still don't have a shade match for me. :( Maybe some day!