How to achieve the ‘cold girl’ makeup look

Perfect products to get the frostbitten look

The ‘cold girl’ look is popular on TikTok and Instagram.

The “cold girl” makeup aesthetic has taken the beauty community by storm this winter, trending on social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram. The look was developed by makeup artist Zoe Kim Kenealy, who found inspiration in Hailey Bieber and other celebrities who are known for their effortless and natural makeup looks.

The cold girl makeup look aspires to a flushed complexion that would be achieved braving a chilly day. This includes rosy, pink cheeks, a glowing complexion that looks wet from the snow, and a natural lip product to tie the look together.

Here are some tips to perfect the cold girl look.

Achieving this look begins by preparing the skin with moisturizer. Your skin tends to become drier in the winter and moisturizing will create a seamless canvas for makeup to melt into and blend on. Once your skin is prepped, applying a primer, such as Milk Makeup’s Hydro Grip, will ensure your makeup lasts all day. This will give you a matte complexion.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a little extra glow, applying the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter will provide the skin with a glass-like finish. Any foundation or concealer will work for this makeup look since the focus will be on the blush.

Photo: Curtis Heinzl

The blush is the focal point of this look. To achieve the look of rosy, frostbitten cheeks, utilize a cool-toned blush. Cool-toned blushes—which have blue and pink undertones—mimic the natural blush you receive from cold weather. In contrast, warm-toned blushes give the illusion of a sun-kissed appearance and have yellow or golden hues.

If you have a lighter skin tone, try the Rare Beauty blush in the shade “Happy” and Fenty Beauty’s Cheeks Out Freestyle blush in “Cool Berry.” Both are perfect for achieving a naturally flushed appearance. If you’re looking for cheaper options, a great drugstore option is the Pixi On The Glow blush in “Fleur.”

For folks with darker skin tones, opt for a richer, more vibrant colour to ensure the pigment pops on your skin. I recommend beautiful, blue-toned reds and berry shades, like NYX Sweet Cheeks Soft Cheek tint blush in “Showgirl.”

Apply the blush in a W-shaped motion, hitting the apples of your cheeks up to the bridge and the tip of the nose. There’s no such thing as too much blush when it comes to the cold girl look. I recommend applying more than usual for the desired effect.

Highlighting is another important element of the cold girl makeup. Highlighting your skin will give it the appearance of being wet and icy, as if freshly fallen snowflakes have just melted on your face.

Again, cool-toned highlighters with a silver base will give a frosty appearance. My top recommendation would be Rare Beauty’s Positive Light Liquid Luminizer in shade “Enlighten,” an icy-white champagne colour. This shade may be too light for those with darker skin tones, so always swatch products in-store first to determine the best undertone for your skin.

If a cool-toned highlighter doesn’t suit your skin but a warm-toned highlighter doesn’t quite fit the cold girl aesthetic, try a highlighting balm! Highlight balms, such as Tower 28 Beauty’s Super Dew Balm, suit all skin tones because they’re clear in colour, but add a beautiful glowing sheen to the skin. Milk Makeup’s cream highlighter, Bobbi Brown’s highlighting powder, and Milani’s Strobe Light Instant Glow Powder also offer a lit-from-within glow.

To achieve an intense glow when using powder highlights, spray your brush with setting spray and then dip it into the product.

The last element needed to achieve the cold girl look is the lips. Since the cold girl look is constructed to appear effortless, I recommend opting for a lip stain or lip oil. My top picks include Benefit Cosmetics’ Benetint and Milani Cosmetics’ Fruit Fetish lip oil. Lip oils will moisturize chapped lips, keeping them supple in chilly Canadian winters.

Ultimately, trends are constantly changing, and the best part of makeup is there are no rules. Experiment and find what makes you most confident. Makeup is a form of self-expression, and it’s meant to highlight your natural beauty.

Besides, no matter what makeup you use, if you step outside in the heart of chilly Kingston—makeup or not—you’ll achieve the cold girl look.

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