The “Cold Girl Makeup” TikTok Trend Is Actually Perfect For Your Hot Girl Summer
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“Cold Girl Makeup” is popping off on TikTok, racking up 94.1 million views and spawning countless explainers and tutorials. The look is all about the virtues of a complexion fresh from a “crisp winter walk”, the kind of sweet flush you see in Cameron Diaz Christmas rom-coms.
It serves defrosting-by-the-fire-place-with-a-hot-chocolate realness, and we’ve been lapping it up online.
Here in Australia, our seasonal hot girl walks are leaving us contemplating the virtues of underarm botox, scrolling for anti-frizz treatments, and wincing at the concept of hot drinks or fireplaces. That doesn’t mean we can’t get in on the action though. Cold girl makeup, I have decided, is actually perfect for our 2022 wet-hot-Australian-summer, with just a few tweaks.
What Is Cold Girl Makeup?
@stxph.h Replying to @okeylezzgoo late to the trend but so glad I tried this look! such a vibee #imcoldmakeup #coldgirlmakeup #viralmakeuptrend #makeuptutorial ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) – Dusty Sky
When it comes to beauty trends, there is nothing new under the sun. This is important to understand, because chances are you already mastered one of the core tenants of Cold Girl makeup earlier this year. Around May-June, sunburn blush went viral, with American editors and influencers attempting to recreate the results of Gwyneth Paltrow-inspired sunscreen application routine for summer.
If you tried it then, Cold Girl makeup involves essentially the same technique, which is to say that it’s a frightening amount of blush applied directly under the eye, to create a wind-or-sunburnt complexion and a fresh, outdoorsy look.
Why Is Cold Girl Makeup Perfect For Summer?
With hot weather styling, the Cold Girl aesthetic lends itself to a delicious blend of 2022 Y2K trends. One part Brazil Core, two parts Dark Academia, and three parts slightly sleazy post-beach club wear, which was how I wore it.
So, here’s how to Blue Crush this trend.
“Cold Girl” Summer Blush:
Blush is key to — and the most intimidating part of — this otherwise low-key beauty look. Most blush application is about the cheek, but sunburn and windburn usually “wrap” the bridge of the nose, directly under the eyes and then across the cheeks (think midtone blush application, but heavier on the nose bridge).
I was looking for a slightly “frosted” finish, so I grabbed a pearly primer, Runway Room First Base Hydrating Primer, ($70). This primer allegedly contains white sapphires, but I do not have the international contacts to verify this. I will say, you fortunately cannot feel them if they are there and the product gives an ethereal, pearlescent finish. If you are pulling this look during daylight hours, go for an SPF like Ultra Violette, Queen Screen, ($47) as it gives the same slightly “wet” look and will work well with the other liquid products.
For any blush-heavy look, I apply liquid before any of my other complexion products. There are two reasons for this. Liquid is a closer match to your natural skin texture, and sinks into the skin well, and it’s also easier to dial down with foundation and concealer after the fact. This is much harder to do with a dry, powder texture, so err on the side of caution.
I used the two Benefit Cosmetics Lip & Cheek tints. The original Benefit tint was launched in 1976 as a nipple tint for exotic dancers. Recently repackaged, the full line is blessedly back, and just as perfect now for creating a skin-like natural flush as it was then.
“Cold Girl” Summer Complexion:
A few bounces of my beauty blender and some quick work with a glossy, Burberry Beauty, Ultimate Cushion Foundation, ($100), my blush was well and truly tamed. A little too much so, though, so I added another dab just on the high points of the cheek. I then added some Charlotte Tilbury, Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer ($49), and a little bit of Nudestix, Tinted Blur Sculpt Stick in “Nude Neutral Light” ($48) for some seasonally appropriate warmth. I then added powder just through the T-Zone and doused my face with setting spray because, well, it was hot out.
“Cold Girl” Summer Eyes:
There are two kinds of cold girl makeup looks we’re seeing online. One is velvety matte and super-natural, and one features a very Y2K frosted pearlescent eye.
I was copying Steph Hui’s Cold Girl makeup look, which is glitter-heavy with a dose of gothic glam, which makes this look a little less Hallmark, a little more ethereal grunge.
I used the primer from the Dior Backstage, Rosewood Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette ($94), however, if you don’t have a Dior palette handy, you can just use a concealer. What’s important when working with shimmers and metallics is that you have an emollient base — this stops your delicately frosted eye turning “Philadelphia driveway in December” crunchy.
Lid prepped, I pressed my finger into the white highlighter shade in the Dior Backstage, Glow Face Palette in “Universal” ($82) and added a little to the tip of my nose and cheekbones for additional Cold Girl frosting. To keep things natural I applied one coat of Poni, The White Knight Mascara ($32), and a slick of Anastasia Beverly Hills, Brow Freeze Brow Styling Wax ($40), then ran some Chantecaille, Brightening Eye Kajal ($45) on my waterline and slightly under my lower lashline to create the doe-eyed look you see in most Cold Girl tutorials.
“Cold Girl” Summer Lips:
My lip hack for frosty, windburnt lips is a very spicy lip plumper. I recently had the deliciously confusing experience of using the Sephora Collection, Outrageous Intense Lip Plumpers ($44). This formula toes the line between being so stingy you’ll get a rash and just enough pain to know what you’d look like with lip filler. Basically? They’re the closest you can get to a windburnt pout without suffering from actual exposure. I then flicked on a little Cha Cha Tint, slid on my rimless sunnies, and was on my way (to take selfies).
“Cold Girl” Summer Result:
For a multitude of reasons, I’ll never be mistaken for a cast member of Blue Crush, no matter how much surf spray I run through my hair (and I did). However, the Cold Girl makeup look takes the best parts of the sunburn blush trend and amps up the glam, with less traumatising memories of early UV damage. It took about half an hour, significantly shorter than other trending looks I’ve attempted this year, and lasted all night. It’s a vibe!