How To Get Glowy Skin In The Middle Of Winter

Don’t let the dreariest time of year sabotage your radiance.

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Cold weather has its charms, but “sad winter face” is not one of them. You know what I mean: when you’ve lost all traces of that summertime vibrancy, and your glowing tan has been replaced by a noticeable pallor that reflects the season’s dreary surroundings. It’s a very real phenomenon — and, thankfully, a very treatable one.

There are plenty of sneaky makeup techniques that’ll restore your face to its former, sun-kissed glory. And on a particularly chilly afternoon in New York City, celebrity makeup artist Harold James — who works with the likes of Cindy Crawford, Laura Harrier, and Naomi Watts — shared them all with yours truly.

Before even opening your makeup bag, however, it all starts with the right skin prep. “This is the most important,” James tells Bustle. Otherwise, your finished look won’t have that highly coveted I-just-moisturized-my-face dew to it. If that’s the aesthetic you’re going for, read on for James’ tips on how to maintain a gorgeous glow during the darkest, driest season.

1. Give Your Skin TLC

Applying makeup to a dry complexion won’t do you any favors; in fact, it could very well have the opposite effect and accentuate any dryness. “When it’s colder, your skin is dryer, patchier, and you have more dead skin, so it looks more dull,” says James. Because of this, he says it’s key to exfoliate at least twice a week — ideally with a chemical exfoliant versus physical, as the latter can be more harsh on sensitive skin types.

Beyond that, be sure to hydrate via serum and moisturizer. Simply put: “You cannot achieve a beautiful glowy look if this first step is not done,” says James.

2. Don’t Sleep On Facial Massage

A facial massage might sound like frivolous “self-care,” but it actually does have noticeable benefits on your skin. “It really stimulates your skin and your blood flow, and you get this kind of flush from within,” he tells Bustle.

Thankfully, you don’t have to hire a facialist to achieve said effect. “When you apply your serum, you can do a soft massage for one to two minutes,” James says, noting you can use your fingers or a tool, like a jade roller or gua sha. “It really wakes up your skin, and throughout the day, it’ll continue to be more oxygenated.”

3. Choose The Right Foundation

The type of foundation you use plays into your overall radiance, too. “If the foundation is too matte, you won’t have this beautiful glow,” says James. “You want a foundation filled with skin care ingredients that isn’t too thick.” He recommends going with either a liquid or a cream-based formula that moves with your skin to avoid a one-dimensional look.

4. Appreciate Your Bronzer

For instant gratification and instant facial sculpting, grab the nearest bronzer. “Bronzer adds warmth, dimension, and definition to the face,” says James, who’s a big fan of Glossier’s new Cloud Paint Bronzer. “You don’t want a thick cream bronzer, as it kind of removes dewiness. [Glossier’s] really melts into the skin, and when you move, the light can bring attention to specific areas.”

Apply it where you need a bit of sun-kissed color, says James, using either your fingers or a brush for application. “Your fingers can give you a subtle touch, while a dense brush allows you to be more precise and to have more color payoff,” he adds.

5. Revive With Moisture

If your skin is on the dry side, you may start to lose that morning dewiness by the late afternoon. In that case, all you’ll need is an extra dose of hydration. “To revive it, you can spritz some facial spray or a little bit of serum,” says James. “What I like to do is take one pump of a serum, warm it up onto my fingers, and then just press it into the skin.”