How to nail ‘cold girl make-up’, aka this season’s answer to summer’s sunkissed blush trend

How to nail ‘cold girl make-up’, aka this season’s answer to summer’s sunkissed blush trend


Written by Morgan Fargo

A viral make-up technique, ‘cold girl make-up’ is this season’s answer to the sunkissed blush trends of the summer.

One thing we haven’t been short of this year is blusher trends. From faux ‘gentle sunburn’, border blush, temple heat and blush-lighter to the popular ‘W’ blush, the well of love for blusher is far from running dry. And, it’s with good reason. 

Blusher is one of the easiest and quickest ways to wake up a tired or sallow complexion and comes in a wide range of formulas. There are powder, cream, gel and water-suspended pigment particle (microfluidics) blusher formulations currently on the market, meaning there’s something for everyone. Including the ‘cold girl’, according to TikTok. 

The latest in a stream of TikTok beauty trends, #ColdGirlMakeup is trending. Designed to look like the natural flush you might get on a brisk, cold winter’s day, the trend uses cool-toned blusher, highlighter, sparkle and lipstick – with a focus on the under-eye and tip of the nose areas. It’s been wildly popular. 

One cold girl make-up video, created by user @millieleer, has been viewed over 3.6 million times; another, created by @nidalkabashii, has 5 million plays. The comment sections of both are similar:

“The blush on the nose is too cute,” says one viewer. “This is what I want my make-up to look like,” says another.

However, other viewers reacted the way I did. “All I have to do is go outside for four seconds and I’m Rudolph,” comments one person and, well, yeah, they’re right. Cold girl make-up is essentially creating the effect you might get waiting for the bus in December or trying to de-ice your car in the morning: flushed and full of blood. Somewhat of a sceptic, I decided to try it. 

What is the cold girl make-up trend?

A technique that focuses on the areas that might flush when cold, cold girl make-up is using cool-toned blusher, highlighter and lipstick or lipgloss to fake a flush. 

Cool-toned simply refers to the undertone of the make-up you’re using. For example, a warm peach would constitute a warm-toned blusher and an icy blue-based pink would be cool-toned.

Now, cool-toned make-up is something I usually avoid as it tends to make my skin look sallow and more tired. So, fishing out the bits of cool-toned make-up I own, I was pleasantly surprised by the result. A flushed face that looked more natural than the sunkissed blush trends of earlier this year. 

And, while it initially felt weird to place blusher on the end of my nose (à la Rudolph) it looked exactly like TikTok promised: as if I’d spent my lunchbreak stomping through the park and not, as it were, clutching a hot water bottle and refreshing Instagram.

While it’s not a substitute for going and getting your daily movement in, the cold girl make-up trend did surprise me. Slightly sparkly with a hint of colour, it’s simultaneously low-key and yet glamorous – perfect for your office Christmas do or a festive supper with your pals. Thanks, TikTok.

Main image: Morgan Fargo

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