Fight the Winter Blahs
If you’re like me, you may be feeling a little weathered from the bleak winter season (unless you’re one of the lucky ones who hails from a warm-weather state). Short days, freezing outdoor temps and over-heated indoor rooms can lead to dry skin, chapped lips, not to mention bleak moods. And it’s barely February.
The silver lining? You don’t have to wait until spring, spend a lot of time or shell out of a lot of cash in order to bust out of the winter blahs. Sometimes it can be as simple as picking out a new shade of a rich lip color, applying a bold-blue mascara or giving your brows a little attention.
Here are some tried and true, and some brand new, beauty products that can give your makeup routine (and your mood) a boost.
Go Bold With Your Lip Color
Just because it’s dark and dreary outside doesn’t mean your lip color needs to be. In fact, it should be just the opposite.
The summer months are wonderful because the warm climate naturally enhances your beauty. (The sun, full of Vitamin D, is a natural mood-booster that adds color to your skin, and humidity, while doing a number on your hair, can actually give you a beautiful glow, too.) But the winter months can be depleting.
Why lipstick? By far the easiest and quickest way to brighten up your complexion, and your overall look, is to add a bold, juicy new shade of lipstick. Try a rich, red-orange (a color you’ll see a lot of this year) or hot pink. Look for one that moisturizes lips too.
One option: Topshop’s Rio Rio Lipstick, $16
Adding real, pigmented color can give an instant lift to sun-deprived skin. Sweeping on a brighter pink, coral or red blush (based on your skin tone) will give you a glow that you’ll feel inside and out. We’re not talking clown-like color. The newest blushes, whether you choose powder, cream or gel-based, are formulated to go on lightly so you can layer the color. And you choose the intensity, so don’t be put off if the color looks strong in the container. Start out light, and up the volume as the mood strikes.
One option: Clinique’s Cheek Pop, $21
Go for the Glow
A great way to add glow — without shine — to your skin is to brush on highlighter. Weightless, soft, shimmering highlighters that are meant to be worn during the day (the more dense versions are better left for a fun night out) can do wonders for dull, winterized skin. Use a large brush to apply a dusting of highlighter at the top of your cheekbones, around your brow bone and lightly on your forehead.
Why? Highlighters got a bad rap during the disco era because they were super intense and overly shiny; it’s hard to get over that mental image. The end result was not very sophisticated. Today’s versions are far superior to their older, super-slick sisters. These new, instant light-enhancing powders reflect a soft, pretty sheen on your skin that will immediately perk you up.
One option: Jouer Highlighter, Camellia, $20
Brighten Your Complexion
Choosing a good foundation is one of the hardest things to do. The color has to look natural, the texture has to be right for your comfort level and it has to go on easily. Many new foundations don’t just enhance your skin tone. They also have added benefits, like controlling oil, delivering additional moisture to the skin, providing sun protection and, yes, brightening skin too.
One option: Benefit Cosmetics’ Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation, $36
Refresh Your Skin
Exfoliator is not technically a makeup product, but it can enhance your makeup and skin. A light exfoliation on your face (also works wonders on your body) a couple times a week will remove dry, dead skin cells that can make your face look dull. Exfoliator also cleanses your skin more intensely and helps eliminate blackheads and other potential skin problems. Look for a gentle exfoliator. Because you don’t need to use a lot each time to get good results, one container can last for several months.
One option: Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, $52
There is nothing like soaking up some sun. But cold winter temps aren’t ideal for sunbathing (and we have to be cautious of unprotected sun worshipping, anyway). One solution: a powder bronzer. Golden-hued bronzers can make you look like you’ve just vacationed in the Caribbean. Yes, dusting on a bronze powder in February might seem counterintuitive, but adding minimal touches of bronzer with light-reflecting gold pigments can look natural and healthy, even in the middle of winter.
One option: Laura Mercier’s Bronzed Pressed Powder, $32
It’s back. The bright-blue eye makeup that was popular in the Seventies and Eighties is making a comeback this year. Now it comes in the form of brilliant cobalt blue eye liners and ocean-hued mascaras. Sounds scary, we know, but this time around it’s a little tamer. And adding minimal touches of blue around your eyes can immediately open (and brighten) them up.
Our mood-boosting picks: YSL Beaute’s Volume Effet Faux Cils Waterproof Mascara, $30 or Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara in Royal Blue, $4.19
Get Busy on Your Brows
Shaping your brows is like having an instant eye-lift. Brows frame your face and give it expression. Full brows look youthful; slim brows look sophisticated.
Doing it yourself can seem like a daunting task, but with the aid of an expert eyebrow stencil kit, you can perfect your brows like a pro (but at a much lower cost). Match your brow up to the appropriate stencil and you will see where to tweeze, where to let them grow and where to fill in with eyebrow pencil.
One option: Japonesque Brow Kit, $29