Picture this: The temperature is crisp, you just took a #hotgirlwalk out in the freshly fallen snow, and you're living your best Christmas rom-com life. You walk inside, and everything is numb; your cheeks, nose, and under eyes are bright red, and you're ready to curl up on the couch and drink hot chocolate for the rest of the night. The vibes are immaculate, aren't they? Well, even if your winter routine isn't identical, you can still tap into wonderland vibes with your beauty routine. Take TikTok creators, for instance, who are living their best lives this season with the "cold girl makeup" trend.
Makeup artists and influencers are capturing a freshly frostbitten look with more blush than usual, limited contour, voluminous lashes, and—of course—glitter everywhere to give the face that "I just ran through a snowstorm and somehow my makeup is still intact" look.
Sure, the winter weather certainly isn't for everyone, but the cold girl makeup trend is. Whether your skin is clear or textured, dry or oily, and regardless of your skin tone, this frostbitten look is the new it-makeup trend of the season, and everyone is obsessed.
Zoe Kim Kenealy, the artist who created the makeup trend, gave her TikTok followers a thorough tutorial on achieving the frostbitten look. Kenealy's video instantly grabbed tons of attention from over 2.4 million viewers, and the hashtag #coldgirlmakeup now has over 36.4 million views.
The blush placement is truly the make-or-break element of the cold girl makeup look. Think less sun-kissed summer vibes and more sleigh ride on Christmas Eve. With a seamless blend of pinky blush and silvery glitter, the cold girl makeup trend will become your go-to look for upcoming holiday parties and beyond. Ahead, read everything you need to know about achieving a cold-girl look you'll love.
About Cold Girl Makeup
Kenealy has been drawn to the flushed-cheek look since her younger days of scrolling on Tumblr for makeup inspiration. "Every photo of a girl in cold weather with rosy cheeks gave me all the feels, so I thought I would make a TikTok attempting to create the look," Kenealy tells us. Initially inspired by the fall foliage, winter fashion, and a holiday latte, Kenealy describes the cold-girl look as a romanticization of winter weather, designed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. "For one, the look is timely and accessible, making it perfect for beginners," she says.
Kenealy says the frostbitten look is much more than just a trend—it glorifies a shared human experience. "I think one of the reasons we love TikTok so much is because it makes us realize we are all sharing so many human experiences we might have thought of as personal before," she says. "The cold girl makeup look is one of those moments."
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned vet, makeup artist Sumaya Yusuf says the trend removes the divide between skill levels and brings it back to the basics—connecting makeup enthusiasts through blush and gloss. "I like to describe this look as controlled chaos," Yusuf says, calling the style one of #BeautyTok's easiest looks to execute. "A trend that includes an abundance of blush all over your face is so eccentric and unique," she says.
Start With A Matte Base
With this particular makeup trend being shiny or dewy is not the goal. "Powder down all the areas where you naturally shine," Sumaya says. Kenealy says to create a proportioned, blurred base with a loose setting powder like the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Setting Powder ($39) on a powder puff. Place the powder in your T-zone, under your eyes, forehead, nose, and chin, to create a cohesive matte look. Then spritz on a setting spray like the Matte Finish Long Lasting Matte Setting Spray from NYX ($10) on top of your base to keep it smooth all day long.
Pack On The Blush
Leave your fear of blush at the door. To achieve those frostbitten cheeks we're all obsessed with, Kenealy suggests layering pink and orange blushes. "I can't think of a better combination than the Benefit Cosmetics Wanderful World Silky Soft Blush ($29) in the colors Butterfly Orange and Shellie Pink," Kenealy says. "I would avoid blush shades that are too vibrant or pink. Otherwise, you will look more like you packed a lot of blush on and not necessarily cold."
Place your blush on the apples of your cheeks, blending into your under-eye area for a flirty look. Then, place the blush on your nose and give yourself a "blushed mustache," as Kenealy calls it. Keep the blush on the center of your nose for a highlighted appearance. "I also went over the blush with a light pink setting powder to calm it down," Kenealy says.
Yusuf also suggests placing the product in more unconventional spots, like the center of your forehead, chin, and nose. For darker skin tones, Yusuf says, "The cooler the tone of the blush, the better. This look can work for you regardless of where you fall on the complexion range," she says. If you're looking for a more pigmented appearance, Yusuf recommends the Rare Beauty Soft Pink Liquid Blush ($20) in the shade Believe topped with the baby pink color in the Juvia's Place Blushed Duo Volume 4 Palette ($18).
Play With Glitter
Kenealy and Yusuf say that your cold girl makeup look can be complete after you create your matte base and add the proper blush. But if you want to add just a bit of shimmer on the eyelids, Yusuf says to go for it. "I added the e.l.f. Expert Liquid Liner ($3) and a silvery shimmery shadow from the Beauty Bakerie The Chosen Bun Eyeshadow Palette ($38) to mimic a frosted appearance," Yusuf says. Blend the silvery shadow on your eyelid high into your brow bone to give you that "fresh out of a snowball fight" look. Add a pop of glitter wherever you feel necessary—the tip of your nose, inner corners, or chin—just make sure the blush is still the focal point of the look.
Don't Forget The Gloss
In Kenealy's signature look, she takes a pinky nude lip and pats it on casually with her finger, giving it a raw, unrefined appearance. Yusuf also says you can add an extra pop with a frosty lip gloss. "Lightly dap on the pinky nude lipstick and top it with your favorite icy gloss to emulate that soft but cold girl look," Yusuf says. "I topped my lips with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Crystal Gloss ($20), and it applied beautifully." Finish off the frostbitten trend with your favorite mascara, a brow gel, and one more round of matte setting spray.
Ultimately, blush might be the main ingredient for cold girl makeup, but the most important part of trying any makeup trend is to have fun. "You never have to follow a makeup routine step-by-step, and the cold girl makeup look is no different," Kenealy says.
This look is a fun way to make the winter feel less frigid and uncomfortable and more festive and vibey. I don't know about you, but all this talk about cold girl makeup has me ready to head out for a stroll with mittens on and a hot holiday drink in hand. So, let me go grab my blush.