5 Unexpected Beauty Tips to Survive Winter in New England

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It’s hard to feel hot when you’re freezing.

It doesn’t get much grittier than a Boston winter. As a born-and-bred Texan, I admit I have some seriously thin blood. I’m the girl in the parka if it’s below 55ºF. But I’ve developed some coping mechanisms since I moved here that help me look my best, even if I’m a chapped, snotty, smeary mess from December through March.

We all know the basics. “Don’t forget moisturizer!” “Wear chapstick!” Duh. But sometimes those simple tips aren’t enough to combat the inevitable snowpocalypse.

Here are five tips vetted by women from some of the roughest, coldest places in the U.S. They may surprise you, but they’ll definitely work.

1. Stop washing your hair

As an avid daily morning shower-er and blow-dryer, I balked when I heard about the no-‘poo movement. “Don’t wash my hair? Yuck, no thanks.” Until I actually tried it. As a nursing mom during winter months, my hair is more fragile and prone to breaking and falling out than ever. So, I started just using cleansing conditioner every day when I shower instead of regular shampoo, and within a week I noticed less breakage. It was a little oily at first until my body caught up with my plan, but now I shampoo just once a week and have way less damage.

wen

It’s awesome. And it smells amazing. If you’re not ready to take that leap and are a daily hair washer, try shampooing one day and conditioning for the next two, for example. I love Wen, but Sally Beauty Supply has some other cleansing conditioners I haven’t tried.

2. Steal your kids’ stuff

Ready for a tip that’ll save you money, time, and pain? I have sensitive skin, which is the WORST EVER for Boston winter weather. I end up flaky, red, and chapped unless I’m very gentle with my skin. I’ve tried the whole gamut of “sensitive” or “moisturizing” face washes from Neutrogena to Clearasil to Aveda. One day, I was in the shower, and in a true mom moment I realized I was out of face wash and I was a mess of mascara running down my face. On the ledge of the bath tub was my son’s Johnson & Johnson baby wash.

J and J

I didn’t want to wash my face with a harsh adult body wash, so I tried it and I’ve never gone back. It takes off my makeup with one washing and is super, super gentle. Bonus: It smells terrific (especially the lavender variety), and you probably already have a bottle in your home. Now I pay about a quarter of what I used to pay for face wash, and my complexion is better than it has ever been.

3. Your face doesn’t matter as much as you think it does

Your face produces more oil than most parts of your body, so even the driest complexions can withstand a little weather. But if you’re like me, your hands are the real weak link. I often have problems with dry cuticles and cracking, bloody knuckles during winter months. Ouch. One of the easiest way to keep your hands looking gorgeous during the rough winter is with these babies. I love Tweezerman beauty tools, and these are my absolute favorite.

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The first place dryness shows on my hands is around my cuticles, which can be painful, too. Whatever you do, don’t push back and clip off your cuticle. It’s there for a reason. Just trimming the dry skin around your fingers and nail bed and adding a clear coat of polish will go a long way to looking manicured on a budget. Also, the best time to throw on some lotion is before you put on your gloves. It seems counterintuitive, but that way, your hands won’t be slippery and it’ll give the lotion time to do its job and sink in. I prefer L’Occitane hand cream or CeraVe healing lotion.

CeraVe

4. Forget your eyes

This may sound crazy because, like many women, you likely spend much of your morning makeup time on your eyes. But once you get out in that frigid wind and your eyes start tearing up, before you know it you’re a mess from wiping the tears away. Why bother? A terrific look for winter is a strong brow and lip, and it’s way easier to maintain. A nice brow enhancer and a true red lip can go a long way to looking polished, even in the bitterest of months. To me, Bobbi Brown is the quintessential brand for these products. Here are some great tutorials to achieve the perfect brow, and lip. For a bolder look, here’s a tutorial on how to get a lovely statement lip.

bold lip

5. Go small

Mini touch-ups can help you weather the storm throughout the day. I like to keep a small makeup bag at the office so I can reapply a little powder or tinted lip balm or lotion when I come in from the cold. It’s also super convenient on meeting days to have a little concealer, a small brush, blush, and Kleenex on me to make sure I’m not streaky from a trip out to grab a sandwich at lunch time. Many brands sell mini versions of their products, but my favorite small-space touch-up items are Bare Minerals, Benefit, L’Occitane, and Senna.

go small