You know those cute pictures of models wearing fluffy hats and mittens, holding up a handful of snow and blowing it into the air, their cheeks aglow and their make-up pristine? Well, I’ve never looked like that in the cold. Ever. My nose runs, my eyes water and I only start looking passable once I’ve thawed out and repaired my face.
So when I met up with make-up artist Ruby Hammer, I asked her to give me a workshop on winter looks. Namely, how to get to grips with three main gripes: a red nose, smudged eyes and cheeks that resemble Aunt Sally’s in Worzel Gummidge.
‘How you prep your skin is particularly important in winter because it tends to get dry and flaky, especially around the nose,’ says Hammer. ‘That’s why a moisturiser that supports barrier function is a useful addition.’ She recommends Dermalogica Barrier Repair (£49, dermalogica.co.uk). ‘It’s anhydrous, which means it’s waterless and so doesn’t evaporate like a moisturiser full of water.’ It also contains oat and botanical actives that have a calming effect.
Instead of slapping on one thick application of foundation to try to disguise high colour, Hammer advises thinly layering products. ‘Not only does this result in a finish with more depth and finesse, it’s also more resilient when you have to wipe your nose,’ she says.
First, if you find your make-up goes AWOL quickly, try a primer such as Elf Power Grip Primer (£10, elfcosmetics.co.uk), which gives foundation something to grab on to, a bit like microscopic Velcro. Then apply your foundation – choose one that provides decent coverage without heaviness.
A classic (it’s 23 years old) is Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (£45, sephora.co.uk) and it’s beloved for good reason. It’s sumptuous in texture and easily buildable. Apply a light layer, blend, then repeat, but just on the areas that need it.
Hammer also advises finishing with a touch of powder to set. If you’re battling redness, check out NYX HD Finishing Powder (£9, boots.com). The brand has a mint-green shade that can help counteract redness.
As for eye make-up that runs, Hammer doesn’t think a waterproof mascara is necessarily the answer. ‘They can be quite drying and brittle in low temperatures,’ she says. ‘You’re almost better leaving mascara off altogether and just curling your lashes. Or apply on the upper lashes only, leaving the lower ones natural because generally, it’s the corners and lower lashes that are affected by watery eyes.’
The alternative is to use a ‘tubing’ mascara, which is a very different proposition to traditional mascaras. ‘They contain polymers that encase each lash, rather like little socks, and only come off when soaked with warm water, so they can be a good option for sensitive skin, as well as cold weather,’ she explains.
I’ve been putting Hammer’s own version through its paces, Mascara & Brow Duo (£28, rubyhammer.com), as well as Sensai’s Lash Volumiser 38°C (£31, harrods.com). Once I got used to the different way you remove them, I loved how these brilliant formulas stayed put in wear.
And lastly, what about those two glowing red spots for cheeks? ‘Use that natural flush to your advantage by adding extra touches of colour that balance it out,’ suggests Hammer. ‘For instance, extend your blusher a little higher on your cheeks, blend some on your brow bones and even apply a tiny blended dab on the tip of your chin. Then find a lip colour in the same shade, so you create a monochromatic look – this helps you look pulled together.’
Time to get my hat and mittens…