The must-know rules of winter makeup according to Kirsten Kjaer Weis

By Fiona Embleton

Photo: @kjaerweis

Cooler temperatures and less humidity can suck the life out of your face. Here’s how to use make-up to galvanise your glow in the depths of winter

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When it comes to adjusting your make-up to accommodate winter’s gruelling conditions, there’s just one cardinal rule: do the dew. In other words, skip powder formulas if you’re serious about keeping skin juicy. It’s also the time to hunker down with lipsticks the colour of a good Rioja wine and to accentuate wind-whipped cheeks with the best blusher for every complexion.


Stick to a liquid and cream base

Flakey skin is bad – the only thing worse is when foundation pills and clings to those flakes creating a patchy and uneven finish. So what can be done?

Texture-wise, think a hyper-real sheen. In other words, your post-sauna glow (minus the sweat) and light to medium coverage. “The air in winter lacks humidity so opt for a formula that utilises hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or chamomile water to keep skin looking fresh,” advises Danish-born make-up artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis, who has worked with celebrities including Emma Watson.

She notes that you don’t have to opt for denser coverage or heavier textures, adding, “Thinner hydrating formulas have the added benefit of not sitting in pores or accentuating the look of flakes.” And if your skin is prone to 11am shine, dial it down with a strategic, featherlight dusting of powder on the T-Zone.

You don’t have to completely overhaul your current foundation, either. Weis is a fan of using a face oil as a primer, especially in the winter months. “A dry oil nourishes the skin and creates a smooth surface for your foundation to glide over,” she says. “It also imparts an authentic glow that beams through the foundation.”

Our favourite liquid and cream foundations

Invisible Touch Liquid Foundation

Kjaer Weis

Nordic Notes Foundation Stick

Face Stockholm

Face Stick

H&M Beauty


Highlight the high points of your face

It may be dark outside but by adding light to the face, a liquid or cream highlighter can carve cheekbones and give you the nonchalant glow of a '90s supermodel. For the most natural effect, Gucci Westman, celebrity makeup artist and Vogue Scandinavia’s beauty expert, recommends dabbing it under the eye, curving it upwards along the cheekbone to the temple. Then sweep foundation over the top. “That way people aren’t asking you what highlighter you’re wearing, you just look like you have great skin,” she says.

Our favourite highlighters

Lit Up Highlighter Stick

Westman Atelier

Lumi Drops

Gosh Copenhagen

Cream Highlighter Stick

Milk Makeup


Keep a facial mist to hand

Facial mists come to the immediate rescue of dry skin and help to revive your makeup. But only if they contain humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid; plain old water simply evaporates, sucking the moisture out of your skin. Simply spray, pat away the excess and blend with a sponge to prevent your make-up settling into fine lines.

Our favourite facial mists

Wow Face Mist


Biomolecular Distress Mist


Mist Delight

Rudolph Care


Mimic a Glögg flush with blusher

Mercifully we’ve moved away from tiny circles of powdery rouge on the cheeks. Creamy melt-in-skin formulas should mesh with the cheekbones, lending an almost imperceptible flush. Westman often describes the perfect cream blush as making cheeks look “oxygenated” and “youthful,” preferring to work her cult Baby Stick Blush in a horizontal oval along the tops of the cheekbones.

Our favourite blushers

Baby Cheeks Blush Stick in Bichette

Westman Atelier

Vanish Blush Stick

Hourglass Cosmetics

Air Matte Blush



Switch to burgundy lipstick

Lips that look wine stained are a perennial winter favourite. They’re also the chameleons of your winter make-up bag: warmer burgundies channel Old Hollywood glamour, while deeper shades that teeter on a rich, near-black Merlot can look more vampy.

“Always start with a scrub to buff away dry flakes, then apply lip balm or a few drops of a facial oil to prep the lips,” says Weis. “When working with a strong lip shade, build up the colour as it’s easier to add than take away. I like to line the lips first as this acts as a guide and then use a brush to apply the lipstick. Blot and reapply where the colour may look less saturated.” A final blot locks in the colour and ensures even coverage over the whole lip.

Don’t be afraid to sweep the same rich, moody shade across the eyes, too, or keep everything else pared back with just a single swipe of mascara through your lashes.

The best berry lips

Mad Red Lipstick


Net Sustain Lipstick

Kjaer Weis

Lip Goss Attitude