Winter's arctic temperatures and reduced hours of sunlight can kill more than just your mood—they can also suck the life right out of your complexion. If your skin seems to lose its luster this time of year, you're not imagining things. Dry indoor heat and lack of moisture in the outside air cause skin cell turnover to slow down in the colder months, resulting in a buildup of dead cells that can give your face a dull, ashy cast. Your instinct may be to douse yourself in the same shimmery bronzer you use during the summer, but that can look as awkward as going bare-legged in a blizzard. Instead, follow these tips to create a healthy, realistic-looking glow.
1. Scrub-a-dub. Exfoliators tend to get stored away during the winter, but this is the time of year when your skin needs weekly sloughing to get rid of that dead buildup. To prevent dryness, use a creamy scrub that contains beads instead of grainy fruit particles, which can sometimes scratch skin. Try The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Exfoliator.
2. Bronze light. There's nothing believable about a face full of shiny bronzer—trust me. To create natural-looking color, use a matte powder bronzer such as The Body Shop Bronzing Powder (shown above) in a shade just slightly deeper than your skin tone (and I mean your skin tone as it looks now, not in July). If you're very fair, you may find many bronzers are too dark for you, so try a pressed face powder one to two shades deeper than your skin color—L'Oréal Paris True Match Powder comes in 24 shades. Lightly dust the powder just along your forehead, cheeks, and nose. If you accidentally overdo it, use a clean powder puff to gently buff off the excess.
3. Blush a little. Bronzer on its own can look flat, so to mimic the kind of pink glow you'd get in the summer, swirl a rosy, shimmer-free powder blush on the apples of your cheeks and blend it back along your cheekbones (avoid peach blush, which can make the golden tones in bronzer look orange-y). Try Lancôme Blush Subtil in Sheer Amourose.
4. Highlight. The slightest bit of sheen will perk up dull skin, so pat just a dot or two of cream or liquid highlighter (I like to use Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat) on the top of each cheekbone and blend it back toward your temples. Add another small dot on the inner corner of each eye and blend well. If you're fair, use a champagne highlighter; on olive skin, go with a golden color; and on dark skin, try a coppery shade. And despite what you may have heard, don't apply highlighter on your brow bones—it just doesn't look natural.
5. Go soft on eyes and lips. A shimmery taupe eye shadow on your lids and a tinted balm or gloss that's slightly darker than your natural lip color will add to the healthy radiance. Try Maybelline New York Expert Wear Eye Shadow in Linen and Shine Sensational Lip Gloss in Tempting Toffee.