Just like you should overhaul your fashion wardrobe every season, the same should apply to your beauty regimen. Who better to show how to switch up your skincare routine, adapt your makeup look, up your hair game, and rethink your manicure mantra than global beauty editors? Ahead, respected gurus from New York, L.A., London, and Sydney spill their secrets and expert tips on how to seamlessly transfer your routine for winter.
Kelly Atterton, Beauty Director of C California Style and Culture, L.A.
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“Being an editor affords me the luxury of having an almost endless supply of products to experiment with. After many years of trial and error, I’ve become quite a good skincare mixologist. I have mild rosacea and redness on my cheek area, so top of mind always is avoiding a flare-up. This means my favorite products are always calming, nurturing, hydrating, and moisturizing, and I look for products with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide, and much more sparingly retinol and azelaic acid.”
Adapting My Skincare Routine
“Instead of changing products with the season, my approach is to pull together a plan of action based on how my skin is feeling at the moment. If it’s looking dull, time for vitamin C. Uneven skin tone? I need to hit up a mild retinol. My skin gets much drier in L.A. during the winter, which means it’s time for slugging. I’ve been a big fan of this practice for years now, which involves adding an occlusive product — a thick, heavy, healing, and protective emollient for super dry skin — to your skincare regime to act as a barrier to seal moisture. It’s a lifesaver during the colder months with the heat blasting — yes, it gets cold enough to turn the heat on in L.A. I love to go to bed with a nice layer of an occlusive product on my face and on my lips to seal in all the benefits of the skincare products I’ve applied, and ensure I wake up with a dewy, deeply nourished complexion.”
Cleanse, Cleanse, Cleanse
“No matter the season, I’m a double cleanser type. I love the feeling of starting with an oil cleanser and removing all the gunk of the day, followed by whatever type of cleanser I think my skin needs. On the occasion that I’m oily, I’ll pull out a foaming cleanser, but most of the time I prefer creamy cleansers which are nice and gentle on my sensitive skin. I’ll share a great tip I got while moderating a skincare panel: The easiest way to fake a professional facial at home is to do this: Start with an oil cleanser, thoroughly work the skin with the oil, and then add a layer of a creamy cleanser, continue working the oil and the creamy cleanser into the skin, and then add a clay mask on top. Work all three layers into the skin, then rinse. I swear your skin will be so clean, and not tight at all — just gorgeous, dewy, soft, and supple.”
Buff with Care
“I’m not an exfoliator enthusiast. Having rosacea means a flare-up is always a possibility. So, I take a minimalist approach to exfoliating, which, admittedly, is not the best move for everyone. I’ll use a retinol serum or oil as well as a lactic acid serum like Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment a few times per month. It’s worth noting that those without sensitivity should up their exfoliant game during winter to once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and allow all those moisturizing products to penetrate effectively. On days when I can feel the buildup of dead skin, I’ll switch up my cleanser to one with an extremely gentle built-in scrub. When it comes to my body, it’s fair game. I love to dry brush to slough off the dry top layer, then follow with a body scrubbing session in the shower. The growth in the body care category is exciting — I love all the new product options and ingredients, especially niacinamide based body serums, which are a real game changer for me with my stubborn KP (a condition caused by blocked hair follicles).”
“Since I love a good double cleanse at night, in the a.m. I tend to just do a simple, waterless refresh before applying products. I have found this to be a really helpful way to combat dryness, especially in the winter months. I always apply my first serum — this is usually hyaluronic acid based while my face is still wet — and let it absorb completely before adding another serum on top; again, this is based on my skin’s needs and whether I need something that is good for brightening, nurturing, or boosting hydration. Then I’ll apply a rich moisturizer — I like feeling ultra hydrated, so I’m quite generous with the amount I use. I take the time to work the cream into my skin with a roller tool or light lymphatic massage movements. I’m quite patient with this, I find it very relaxing. I always top moisturizer with a small amount of face oil that I warm in the palm of my hands and press into my face and end with sunscreen. At night I double cleanse, then follow the same steps as my am skincare routine except instead of a face oil, I’ll slug. And obviously no sunscreen for bed. On weekends, I love to do masks to give my skin a serious hydration hit, and I leave them on while cleaning the house to let them really sink in.
George Driver, Senior Beauty Editor of Elle UK, London
“My signature makeup look lends itself more to summer than winter — I love dewy, glowy skin with monochrome palettes of peachy pink. I’m extremely pale, so when winter arrives I look even more like a pale Victorian than ever, which is not my vibe. So, I tend to do a similar makeup routine as I do in summer, but I bring the dewy finish down so it doesn’t look so shiny during the colder months.”
The Lowdown on Brows
“My eyebrows are the ongoing bane of my makeup routine. Like lots of women my age I plucked them into oblivion when I was a teenager so now they’re much thinner than I’d like. I love a fluffy, brushed-up looking eyebrow that looks natural and not too preened, so I brush them first and then use a brow pencil to fill in any gaps, then set with a clear brow gel. The best brow tip I was ever given was from Katie Jane Hughes who is the queen of a skinny brow transformation. She told me to always do your brows first on bare skin, totally product-free as that way you avoid any buildup of product around the edge and they’ll set in place for longer.”
The Perfect Base
“A perfect base is imperfect. I prefer to work with my natural skin texture and tone rather than trying to mask it so I use a lightweight foundation or tinted moisturizer and a higher coverage concealer. I start by applying concealer first only in the places I need it to cover any spots and brighten the corner of my eyes. For me, healthy-looking skin is an all-year-round thing, especially during winter when my skin gets even drier, so I always apply a hydrating primer before foundation. I like to brush it on so it feels like I’m doing a mini facial. Then I’ll brush on the base with the same brush so it blends easier and looks more natural. I’ll finish with a light sweeping of translucent powder around my nose, chin, and forehead to set my base and take the edge off any shine. I like to leave my cheekbones natural and dewy so they catch the light — so I use my base as a highlighter as well.”
Eyes Wide Open
“I have tiny hooded eyes so I stay away from elaborate eye looks that disappear as soon as I look up. I love mascara that gives super fanned out lashes and is really pigmented. There’s a TikTok trend at the moment for “backcombing” your eyelashes which is where you apply mascara to the top of your eyelashes and I’ve done this forever because my eyelashes are so pale. Usually I’m quite cynical about TikTok beauty trends but I can confirm this one works. My eye makeup stays pretty much the same season to season but I do love adding a chic scattering of glitter in the corner of my eye to give it a more festive feel for winter. Ganni has just collaborated with Submission on a collection of plastic-free glitter which looks super cool but is also way better for the planet.”
A Dark Lip
“I love wearing a super dark berry or brown lipstick during winter for a warm update on a classic red lip. Gucci’s Rouge de Beauté Brillant lipstick in 714 is my go-to for immediately making any outfit more dressy and festive — it works equally as well with a velvet mini dress for a holiday party as it does jeans and a blazer.
Sigourney Cantello, Founder & Beauty Director of Beauticate
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“Regularly applying hand cream and oil is essential to keep your hands soft, smooth, and hydrated. A great way to remind yourself to pop them on is to leave your products out. I have a pump hand cream on my bedside table so it’s super easy to pop on in the morning and at night before bed. I have a little bottle of nail oil there too and apply this after the hand cream, making sure to massage it into my cuticles.
“In the winter, I upgrade my hand cream to something thicker, heavier, and super hydrating, almost like a mask. You can also up the ante by wearing cotton gloves over the top, this seals in the moisture. If your hands are really dry or chapped, there are excellent treatment gloves that are like a sleep mask for your hands. And don’t forget your feet. I’ve got a good old pumice stone next to the bath to remind me to attack the heels when I have a soak, but if you really want to bring out the big guns, invest in a motorized foot file. It’s a super satisfying way to slough off dead skin and sort out those cracked heels.”
“I love a professional manicure and usually do a gel as it lasts longer. In Sydney, the JP experience by Jocelyn Petroni is the best. You have this incredible facial and two more nail technicians doing your hands and feet all at once. They use this amazing super fine gel and semi permanent nail polish from Italy called Fedua. They last nearly two weeks and really care for the nail underneath which is important as gel can ruin your nails. I love Ballerina, a soft nude, Paris by Night (a classic red) and Maracara Rouge (a dark cherry red). With two kids and a busy work schedule, I don’t get to have a manicure as often as I would like, so I also do my own DIY nail care and am definitely more diligent during winter as my hands are drier and my nails get brittle. I always use a nail strengthener between gel appointments. At home, Dazzle Dry polishes are a game changer as they are a regular polish gel hybrid and dry super quick. My favorite colors are Boss and Cashmere Taupe. I’m not huge on nail art but I don’t mind a reverse French mani or some tiny subtle designs.
“When I really want to make a statement on the toes I’ll do a high-shine gold pedicure with Minx Nail Wraps. In the summer I tend towards paler, nude, taupe, and beige shades to match or contrast my skin. I loved the tone on tone shades from the Chanel Fall/Winter collection. In the winter, I’ll do slightly deeper shades of nude or I love the current trend for dark chocolate shades. As for the shape, I’ve always been a staunch “squoval” (square oval) advocate but right now the look is for more of an almond shape which looks elegant in that retro Don’t Worry Darling kind of way.”
Natasha Silva-Jelly, Style & Beauty Journalist at the Sunday Edit
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“I’m a brunette with medium-length hair. Paradoxically, I have fine hair but lots of it, as well as a tendency toward oiliness and a dry flaky scalp. Go figure. That said, I have learned (the hard way) to stick to the same clean, tried-and-true shampoo and conditioner, as everything else I have tried seems to exacerbate my scalp and I end up with embarrassing white flakes. I wash my hair every few days with a volumizing shampoo, and only ever condition the ends to avoid it ending up like an oil slick, so needless to say I worship at the altar of dry shampoo. I also allow my hair to air dry, as I like to work with my natural, slightly curly texture and to also protect it against damage from hair dryers. I’d be lost, however, without my hair straightener, which I use instead of a curling iron to create loose, natural-looking beachy waves, year round.”
“Winter can wreak havoc on your hair health as it battles the elements of cold temperatures and harsh heating. So I wash it even less in winter. (Thank God for beanies.) To prevent buildup, excess oil, and to nurture my scalp, I add a purifying sea salt scalp scrub to my haircare routine. It’s amazing how clean your hair feels after and how nourished your scalp is. I also up my hydration game by doing a weekly deep conditioning mask. I apply this before getting into the shower and leave it on as I go about washing and scrubbing my body. I steer well clear of heavy styling products like gels, hair oils, and hair sprays as they weigh down my hair and leave it limp, instead favoring a dry shampoo or a light spritz of dry texture spray.”
Find Your Cut
“A good haircut should last you three months if you look after my ends properly and aren’t excessive on the heat styling. I keep my hair long and add texture with a tapered bang and soft layers through the front to lean into my natural wave. A had short hair for years and I look back and wonder WTF I was thinking. At least I finally worked out what best suits my face shape and personal style and I stick to it. That really is the key, finding the best style to suit you, rather than jumping on the latest trend or taking in a photo of a celebrity look you love when your face shape, style, hair texture, and skin tone is completely different. The exception to this is of course medium-length messy waves, or a shaggy lob (long bob); in my opinion they will never go out of style. This classic look also gives you the flexibility to wear it in a loose top knot, or experiment with different ponytails and hair accessories. A top tip for making your haircut last: Go back for a bang trim or face shape-up at 6 weeks — a lot of stylists offer this.”
Play with Color
“If you’ve found your perfect cut, you can go crazy with color. I love experimenting with different shades, especially in winter. I love the gold trend — rose gold, golden brown, caramel, and toffee shades — but rather than do this all over, I like a graduated look with messy highlights. In winter I always go a shade darker, so my hair is a rich chocolate shade and then I will have golden brown highlights to shape my face and on the ends. It gives it a bit of a natural, sun-kissed look, which is what you need to get you through a long winter in New York. Salon highlights are expensive, I’m not going to lie, but the great thing is you shouldn’t have to redo them for 6-9 months, maybe even a year. And here’s another pro tip, especially if like me you are losing the battle with grays: Pick up a root cover-up spray and find out what shade your colorist uses for your single process and buy it on Amazon or through a brand like Madison Reed and touch up your own roots. Think of all that money you will save!”
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