The NYC Girl's Guide To Foolproof Winter Beauty

Photographed by Ben Ritter.
It’s actually laughable how romanticized New York winters are in the movies, but let’s be honest: When the temperatures fall below freezing, so do most of our hearts. Remember Snowmageddon? The polar vortex? What about the other week, when people were bringing umbrellas out into the snowstorm because it was literally coming down horizontally?
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There aren't many things we type A New Yorkers will admit we can’t control, but the weather is one of them. Luckily, you can control your face, regardless of whatever mascara-running, dry-patch-inducing trials Old Man Winter may throw your way. Makeup artist (and NYC resident of 10 years) Ashleigh Ciucci demonstrates exactly how to do so, starting (of course) with your shopping list.
“I find the most common concern from my clients in the winter is that their skin is habitually dry or never has that glow they’re used to from the warmer weather,” Ciucci says. “A lot of women begin to complain in the winter about being in a rut, or they start to think they don’t know how to properly do their makeup.”
Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Let’s put the identity crisis on pause: It’s not you — it’s your products. Living in the city means you’re exposed to harsher elements than normal. Not only do you deal with wind chill, constant germ exposure, and pollution, but you’re also probably falling victim to old heating units in apartment buildings and at the office, which is basically the formula for flaky skin, dry eyes, and redness (not to mention sickness).
That means you have to show extra love to your complexion in the colder months, especially if you’re prone to dryness. Ciucci recommends skipping sudsy face washes and opting for a cleansing oil, like Josie Maran’s, which leaves the skin plump and moist after you’re finished. Additionally, in place of alcohol-based toners (which can be astringent), consider a floral spray, like Tata Harper’s; it adds zest to your complexion and works well over makeup. “If you have an extra five or 10 minutes, I also love Hada Labo’s Anti-Aging Mask,” Ciucci says. “It’s so portable and easy to use.”
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Now would also be the time to invest in a lip scrub, like Fresh’s, and follow up with lots of balm (Ciucci loves Yu-Be Lip Therapy). Not using a serum yet? Go get one. (We love Caudalie Vinosource — it's lightweight without being too anti-age-y.) It injects your face with hydration and smooths out your skin for a seamless foundation application. “Follow up with a rich moisturizer — I used Eve Lom’s. And, don’t skip eye cream. I prepped using Bobbi Brown’s Extra Eye Repair all over, from the under-eye to the lids and the orbital bone.” If that seems like a lot of product, it is. Don’t worry, though: You can take it.
Next? Upgrading your makeup bag.
Photographed by Ben Ritter.
You probably always thought primer was just a silly thing we beauty editors like to talk about. It’s not — it works. Check out Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow, which actually contains hyaluronic acid to instantly plump the skin. Plus, its light-reflecting particles add luminosity to the whole face.
Aside from that, winter is also the time to consider a change in foundation — even though our model had nothing to lift, Ciucci opted for Shiseido’s Radiant Lifting formula, mostly because of its creamy, rich texture. “I blended it with a little of the NARS Illuminator in Copacabana and applied it to the forehead, cheeks, and chin, before blending outward with a damp Beautyblender sponge,” she says. Then, she concealed the under-eyes using NARS Radiant Creamy (the consistency may be thicker than you're used to, but just go with it), setting very sparingly with Light Reflecting Loose Powder — “only across the forehead, down the bridge, and on either side of the nose with a small brush.”
Powder, you see, becomes something of an enemy when dry skin comes into play (it gets caught in those areas, drawing attention to them). That also means it’s time to ditch most of your bronzers and blushes — at least for the time being. “To contour, for example, I used the cream NARS Multiple in Malibu with a duo-fiber brush,” Ciucci says. “For blush, I use a similar tool to apply Chantecaille Cheek Cream in Dashing. The richer formulations make everything dewier.” She finishes by tapping Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Sunlight atop the cheekbones, under the brow, and in the corners of the eyes.
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While we went with a fun lip color for our model, the choice is obviously always yours — Ciucci’s go-to budge-proof winter lippy is Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick (the hue shown is Pink Pop). “I’m inspired by unexpected shades around holiday time,” she says. “But, to keep it in place against the elements” — or from rubbing off on a new scarf — “I use Lipstick Queen’s Invisible Liner. Colored liners are often used to rein in lipstick, but they can bleed into fine lines, especially when our mouths are dry and chapped. This one creates a waxy barrier instead, which keeps the color fresh and crisp.”
Photographed by Ben Ritter.
As for eyes, we all know those can get bleary because of cold wind. That means it might be best to select a pared-down shadow look and waterproof your lashes. Ciucci swept Shiseido Shimmering Eye Color in Sable — “a soft, golden olive” — onto the lid and blended it into the crease. “What really takes it to the next level is applying Benefit’s High Brow to the waterline,” she says. “It’s a pinky-white pencil that erases all traces of tired from your eyes.” (You may notice they get a little red in the winter…not anymore.)
“After that, you have to choose a mascara that won’t give you the smudgy, raccoon look,” she says. “I’m not normally a fan of waterproof formulas, but L’Oréal Voluminous feels the same as a traditional tube, and it never makes your lashes feel or look crunchy. Apply an extra coat just to the outer corners on top to give you extra lift. Just make sure to invest in a good remover, like Make Up For Ever Sens’Eyes, so you can get it all off at the end of the day without any irritation.”
With that, your look should officially withstand the winter. Once the temps begin to rise, you can slowly start to transition back to your typical cleansers and powders, but you may find some new mainstays here instead. So, go on and give the rest of the next three or so frigid months your best, most beautiful shot — and let us know your own weatherproofing tips in the comments below.
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