Beauty IRL: How To Feel (And Look) Nice When It’s Shitty Out

Some parts of this great country are experiencing pleasant, mild weather, but the rest of us are under an oppressive blanket of snow, ice and subzero temperatures, dreaming of warmer climates and trading in our snow boots for sandals. This time of year is the nadir of winter. Everyone wants the snow to end and the sun to come out and to be able to leave the house without the frantic ballet of checking for gloves, hat and scarf. I’m not going to say”Make yourself feel pretty,” because I am sure that you already are. But, if you feel like a pile of sodden winter coats on legs, then do something to make yourself feel nice, dammit.

1. Moisturize your face, your body, your hair. Everything. Oil for everything!

All of the moisture that is in the air in the summer, the stuff that makes your hair do that very good or very bad thing, disappears in the winter. If you live in an apartment or house with steam heat, chances are it’s been on 80 degrees since October and will not cease until April. Therefore, your skin is in desperate need of moisture. So, even though it’s a tremendous pain in the ass sometimes, do yourself a favor and cover all of your skin in lotion, every day. I don’t care if in the summer you are somehow soft and smooth and glowy without the use of coconut oil. I guarantee that your skin will feel better if you slather on something that will relieve that prickly, tight, itchy feeling of too-dry skin stretched over a body resplendent with winter weight.

Sometimes I use just plain coconut oil, slapped on in great handfuls after I come out of the shower. I also found a tub of Kiehls’ Creme de Corps Whipped Body Butter and have been using that, sometimes, as a sealant on top of the coconut oil, to excellent results. I have eschewed moisturizer for my face and have been using the magic that is Bare Escentuals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizing Gel, because it is moisturizing and makes my face look like I’m well rested and clean. Yes, the ritual of rubbing down my entire body with lotion as if I were a particularly enticing side of beef is time consuming and I also have to wait for it all to sink in before I actually put my pants on, but it is worth it to have skin that doesn’t feel like sandpaper.

2. Get a pedicure, even though sandals are not in the cards for a very long time.

I usually let pedicures lapse in that dark time between like, late fall and spring, so the first pedicure I get is usually a nightmare for myself and the unfortunate soul who is handling the task. But, after the hooves are clean and my fat little toes are painted, I feel like I could happily jet off to an impromptu tropical adventure, should the opportunity arise (it won’t).

3. Hand cream is your best friend.

Hands: They’re people too! Or, you know, they’re covered in skin, just like the rest of your body, which you have hopefully rubbed down with oil and creams. They also age a lot faster, because they’re consistently exposed, and oft-under moisturized or protected from the sun. That tight, horrible feeling you have on your body before lotion is somehow worse on your hands, and then they look like wrinkled, wizened knobs, dangling off the end of your arms. If you want to be really fancy, rub something intense and super-hydrating on your hands and jam ‘em into a pair of clean cotton socks, so they absorb. Or, just use Eucerin Intensive Repair Extra Enriched Hand Cream, which you can probably find at the grocery store — it’ll make your mitts feel less like crocodile claws and more like real hands.

4. Go hard with the highlighter.

So, winter skin is sallow, pale, mottled, whatever. It’s not cute. Sun has physically not touched your extremities for a long time, and if you cherish being the color of a rotisserie chicken in the summer, like I do, you are probably pretty sad about it.That’s why I go hard as hell with the highlighter in the winter, because it makes me look alive, man. I have been partial to this Revlon classic, the PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator in Bare Light. I just pat it on and around my cheekbones, my temples and if I’m feeling fancy, the bridge of my nose. One day, when I feel like spending lots and lots of money, I will bite the bullet and buy the much-lauded RMS Lliving Luminizer, which is apparently the best highlighter in all the land. It costs $38 and comes in a teensy pot, and looks like the kind of thing that someone with nicer bedsheets than me would carry in her bespoke leather bucket bag.

5. Embrace the ~cold~ and try some new stuff.

Chances are, if it’s cold and awful out, you’re wearing the same five sweaters that you aren’t entirely sick of, and spend a couple minutes every morning gazing with intense longing at the row of flowery sundresses in your closet before putting on a turtleneck and leaving. Winter is great because you can wear the same outfit twice in a row, if you want to, because sometimes people never see you without your jacket. You are a walking down comforter. That is your look, deal with it or get out. So, use this sartorial anonymity to go nuts with the one thing on your person that is different and unique and special — your face! Try blue mascara. Eliminate your eyebrows with concealer and then draw in new ones, like fancy ones. Wear black lipstick. Wear pink lipstick. Work on your cat-eye. Make sure your face game is 110% on point, and you will feel a little peppier. Maybe. Probably. You won’t know until you try it. So go forth, tear up Sephora like it’s the first of the month. You deserve it.

[Photo via Flickr/Creative Commons]