Are you wondering how to brighten a dull winter complexion? These easy tips will reveal glowing skin even on the coldest and driest of days!
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How to Brighten a Dull Winter Complexion
Around this time of year, the weather starts to do a number on my skin.
I start to notice how dull and flaky my skin looks. And the color … it’s pale on the brightest of summer days, and winter brings out my Casper tendencies even more so.
Thankfully, I’ve come up with some easy tips for brightening a dull winter complexion!
Each of these tips is super easy but will make a big difference in improving your complexion. Try one or try them all!
1. Exfoliate regularly.
Do you like my fake exfoliating? Ha ha … I meant to get a real picture, but I didn’t remember to snap one until I had already applied my makeup. Oops!
I have to admit that I’m lazy about exfoliating sometimes, and I always regret it. Regular exfoliation gets rid of those flaky patches, keeps your pores clear, and allows makeup to go on smoothly.
The main thing when exfoliating dry winter skin is that you don’t want to be too aggressive. And make sure to choose a gentle exfoliator! Here are a few products I love:
- Biore Baking Soda Powder Cleansing Scrub – This is one of my all-time favorite products! It’s a powder that you add water to to create a cleanser that gently exfoliates your skin. I use it every morning in the shower.
- Vasanti Exfoliating Face Wash – If you’re looking for a face wash with a little more exfoliating power, this is a great option. The exfoliating grains are a bit larger, but it’s still really gentle.
- DERMALOGICA Daily Microfoliant Face Scrub Powder – This scrub is somewhat similar to the Biore powder, but pricier. It has a very fine texture and is mild enough to use everyday.
- Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner – Unlike the other products above, which are physical exfoliants, toner is a chemical exfoliant. I use toner everyday, applying it with a cotton ball after cleansing my skin, and alternating between this glycolic acid toner and one from the drugstore. I’m amazed at the difference this toner has made in my skin … I absolutely love it. It’s too strong to use every day though (at least for my skin), which is why I alternate it with a moisturing toner.
To use a physical exfoliator safely, start by wetting your hands, not your face (this is key!). Put some of the exfoliant in the palms of your hands, then gently rub it over your face. Take your time and use a gentle touch. After a couple minutes, rinse the exfoliant off with warm water. Then admire your soft, smooth skin!
2. Add a little color to your cheeks.
I pretty much never leave the house without a little blush, especially in winter. It’s such an easy way to brighten up a dull winter complexion.
My makeup bag is full of different types of blush, but at this time of year, I prefer gels and liquids. They look so natural and won’t dull your skin the way a powder might.
Using your fingers, apply a little blush to the apples of your cheeks and blend outward, following your cheek bones. If you have darker skin or want extra color, add more blush, gradually building up to the perfect shade.
As you can see, my collection is well-loved! I’m using theBalm Stainiac in the photos above. It looks dark in the tube, but blends well and gives a really fresh-faced look.
Benefit also make Lollitint, which it describes as orchid. Sadly, I haven’t tried it … yet!
The nice thing about gels is that you can apply them to your lips, too. If you do, just add a little gloss on top and you’re good to go!
3. Create definition with bronzer.
I love wearing bronzer in winter. It instantly adds warmth and contour to your face.
You’ll want to apply the bronzer with a light hand. You’re going for definition, not a fake tan. I really like L’Oreal Tru Match Lumi Bronzer. It’s easy to pick up just a little at a time for a natural look.
Use an angled brush to apply the bronzer around the edges of your face: at your temples, under your cheekbones, and around your jawbone. Brush a little on your chin, below the tip of your nose, and on either side of your nose.
Take it easy on the bronzer; you can always add more, if necessary.
Check out my How to Apply Bronzer guide for a step-by-step tutorial!
4. Flatter your face with a little lip color.
Of all these tips, coloring your lips will go the furthest toward instantly brightening a dull winter complexion.
I don’t wear a ton of lipstick, to be honest, but I do love lip crayons. They’re easy to apply, are generally moisturizing (perfect for dry winter lips), and can be applied subtle or bold.
And I’m never without my beloved lip gloss! A generous swipe instantly lights up the face.
I use Neutogena Moistureshine Lip Soother Gloss which comes in a number of flattering shades. It has the perfect not-too-sticky consistency!
Check out my guide to getting a Bright, Beautiful Smile for more tips on choosing lip colors that will wake up your face.
Bonus Tip: Choose the Right Products.
Who doesn’t love a bonus tip?
This one is about choosing the right products. First of all, avoid anything that’s going to accentuate your dry, flaky skin.
Heavy foundation, loads of concealer, and layers of powder will only draw attention to any skin issues you already have. Use these products with a light hand.
Instead, look for products that will moisturize your skin. As someone with oily skin, this can seem counter-intuitive, but it works.
At night, I’ve started applying Nuance Salma Hayek Anti-Aging Super Cream at night. I received a sample last year, and I’ve been using it ever since. You can find it at CVS.
During the day, I use my sunblock as a moisturizer. I’ve been using Neutrogena Clear Face lately. It sinks right into my skin without any oily residue.
On top of that, I apply Supergoop! CC Cream. I’ve sung its praises here before, and I still love it. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy like most CC creams do. I apply a very light dusting of powder on top of this, but if you have dry skin, you can skip this step.
During the day, I remove any excess oil with Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets. This might be my all-time favorite product. It was a happy day when I discovered these!
Want to see a before and after?
It’s subtle, right?
Give these tips a try the next time your skin is looking dull. Each one will add a little bit of warmth and color to your face.
Do you have any tips for brightening up your complexion in winter? I’d love to hear them!