Ask the experts: Your winter beauty questions, answered by the pros

Winter woes go far beyond the proverbial criticisms — sure, scraping your frozen windshield clean at 7am is exactly no one’s idea of fun, but suffering from dry, peeling nails and static-y hair gives us equal aversion to Jack Frost. Alas, there must be a way to stay sane during what feels like the longest season of the year.

Thankfully, we can be restored to our pre-winter, happy states with the help of a few experts in their respective fields. Below, we’ve asked four professionals how to solve our biggest beauty gripes of the season, and are already feeling (and looking) much better, regardless of the temperature.

Jump to: Hair | Makeup | Nails | Skin


I change my beauty product line-up for my skin in the winter. Should I adjust my hair product routine too?

Winter makes the hair weak and brittle, so it’s important to do regular treatments. Kérastase’s Nutri Thermique Masque is a favourite of mine for its intensely nutrition-rich formula that really helps repair and reverse the effects of winter; you can use this mask once or twice a week. To keep dryness at bay, keep from washing too often and only shampoo 2 to 3 times a week. This will help maintain hair’s moisture and also deter static, which can be a result of shampooing in the dry winter months. Post-wash, seal in moisture with a high quality hair oil, like Kérastase Elixir Ultime, made with four precious oils, or Kérastase Touché Finale, a lightweight water-based serum for polished shine. Lastly, regular trims during the winter months are a non-negotiable must — every 6 to 8 weeks is necessary to help reduce split ends.
-Colleen Kleovoulos, Senior Stylist at The John Steinberg


Are there certain makeup shades, hues and undertones that look best when it’s dull and grey outside?

In the winter, our skin loses moisture and can start to appear dull and lifeless. This is caused by the extreme cold, dry weather and lack of sunlight that we are receiving. A simple way to liven up your complexion is to add a pop of colour to the lips and/or cheeks, and also to add some luminosity to the skin to give it a healthy glow.

For warm skin complexions (with golden or yellow undertones), a beautiful choice is any shade of eggplant. This colour is a warm toned burgundy/purple, which will perfectly compliment the golden undertone of the skin, and also add some life to the makeup look. Be sure to stay away from cool toned purples or pinks, as they will showcase dullness as opposed to vividness in the skin.

For cool-toned complexions (with pink or peach undertones), try on a burnt coral shade. This will add warmth to the skin and freshen up your look. Keep your bright oranges and light corals for your spring makeup wardrobe, as they will be more flattering once the skin has been sun-kissed.

As a finishing touch to your look, add some shine to the highest points of the cheekbones and underneath the brown bone, and connect them in a C-like formation. This will leave the skin looking refreshed and radiant! Try using cream highlighting products, as powder tends to showcase dryness in the skin.
-Alison Henthorn, Makeup Artist


How can I prevent shellac from peeling and weakening my nails?

Water and oil make gel peel off more quickly, as does heat, like from a steam room or hot bath. The actual gel formula itself doesn’t weaken nails; it’s picking at the polish, which can peel off layers of your nails along with the gel, or changing your gel polish too often. This can weaken nails if you’re regularly soaking them in acetone for long periods of time. I suggest taking a break from gel polish every so often, and using a nail strengthening treatment. I recommend OPI’s Nail Envy, a collection of strengthening polishes, or Duri Rejuvacote, which I really love. It heals and cures split, cracked and even acrylic-eaten nails, and is used as both a base and topcoat, making it a super easy and effective treatment.
-Sun Im, Owner and nail artist at Get Gelled


Real talk: what level of SPF is necessary when there’s no lightness of day?

We absolutely need sun protection during the winter months. It’s hard to believe that you are getting sun exposure on these grey, sunless days, working inside an office, but the truth is, you are. Damaging UV rays can make their way through just about everything; in fact, 80 percent of rays pass through the clouds on an overcast day. We are also exposed to damaging UV rays while driving a car, through a sunny office window, and especially during outdoor winter sports because there is added reflection from the snow. Unfortunately, all of this UV exposure is what causes photo aging, something you really want to prevent. When looking for protection, an SPF of 30 is best, as it will protect nearly 97 percent of radiation. The best sunscreen is one that offers adequate protection from both UVA and UVB rays, is easy to use, and feels good on your skin. My favourite formula right now is the mineral loose powder from Proderm. It is a lightweight formula that can be dusted over your makeup so you can apply it anywhere and while on the go!

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