What to Know About Winter’s Viral Beauty Trend

Over the summer (remember summer?), “sunburnt blush” reached viral status on TikTok, with users sporting an “oops, I forgot to reapply SPF” look via a band of coral blush across their cheeks and nose. Now, as we begin to crank up our thermostats, the trend is getting an apropos wintry update. Combined, the hashtags #imcoldmakeup and #coldgirlmakeup have so far amassed more than 136 million views on the video sharing platform. 

@sagszn I’m overheating from wearing this fit indoors but I look like I’m fresh out the snow ❄️☃️ #imcoldmakeup #imcold #winterishere ♬ son original – quentin


As they suggest, the idea here is to replicate the effects of frigid temps on our faces—flushed cheeks, a red nose, watery eyes—as though we’ve just returned from a day on the slopes. Now you may be thinking, “Why fake it? I live in Canada and could just step outside.” You are not wrong, but this is a quicker and, some might say, more enjoyable way to achieve the effect. 

cold girl makeup
Don’t worry, Lucy Boynton and Emily Ratajkowski aren’t needing a sweater, they’re simply embracing the I’m cold makeup trend. Photos: Getty Images

And it is admittedly quite a flattering effect, recalling the rosy countenance of a child who’s just come in from building a snowman. The whole thing reads as youthful and fresh, and doesn’t even really register as makeup. A wonderful way to perk up a winter weary complexion without even needing to zip up a parka.

@alysialoo Key to this look is @personacosmetics ♬ original sound – 𝑵𝑨𝑻𝑪𝑺𝑳𝑼𝑽𝑹❦


Here’s how you do it: First, you want to select a blush that’s cool in tone like a bubblegum or berry, rather than a warm shade that’d be better suited for that faux sunburn feel. Cream textures tend to sink in more seamlessly and offer more colour payoff, which means they’re suitable for a wider array of skin tones, though some powder blushes do an excellent job at both these things. (Looking at you, Pat McGrath.)

im cold makeup look
Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush in Cherish, $51, sephora.ca Photo: Sephora

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Using a brush, apply your blush on the apples of your cheeks and the very tip of your nose, diffusing it until any harsh edges disappear. Note: For that sunburnt blush trend, the colour was usually placed on the bridge of the nose—like a Bioré strip of blush, if you will—as that’s how the rays would hit your face. Here, you want the very tip of your nose to be rosy, just like it’d be if you were trudging through a blizzard.

im cold makeup look
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush in Nearly Berry, $27, sephora.ca Photo: Sephora

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In this current era of “never enough glow,” this next part will seem sacrilegious, but just trust the process. Grab a setting powder and lightly dust it all over to score a velvety, slightly matte finish. When the humidex is through the roof, your skin gets all dewy. When the temperature is below freezing, it does not. 

im cold makeup look
Saie Airset Radiant Loose Setting Powder in Translucent, $39, sephora.ca Photo: Saie

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Not to worry, though, a little luminosity is still on the agenda, just in a more targeted manner. Grab a frosty highlighter—no warm champagnes or bronzes, here—and dab the tiniest bit in the inner corners of your eyes (as though harsh winds have made your tear up), on the tip of your nose, your Cupid’s bow and the top of your cheekbones. 

im cold makeup look
Danessa Myricks Beauty Dew Wet Hydrating and Highlighting Balm in Clear, $29, sephora.ca Photo: Sephora

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Brush up your brows with a little setting gel and coat your lashes with mascara (opt for a lengthening or defining formula instead of a volumizing one for a softer look.) Last is lips. Your best bet for this is a tinted balm in a similar shade as your blush. The sheer finish will look nice and natural, while the emollients will offer a dose of hydration. (Useful whether you’re cold or fake cold.)

Hot chocolate, anyone?

im cold makeup look
Ilia Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm in Lullaby, $37, sephora.ca Photo: Sephora

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