This Single Skin-Care Step Will Keep Concealer from Caking on Even the Driest Winter Skin

Cropped shot of an attractive young woman using a mirror to put her makeup on at home
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There are a lot of side effects that come along with dry, winter skin (itching! flaking! redness!), but one of the most frustrating pops up when it comes time to apply concealer. On a dehydrated complexion, even the creamiest formulas can wind up looking cakey and flakey‚ which is not exactly what any of us are aiming for. Fortunately, there's a solution to getting dewy skin even in the harshest winter weather. Celebrity makeup artist (and creator of the #DewyDumpling viral looks) Nam Vo has one step that'll keep your concealer fresh and cake-free: toner.

"Toning your skin before applying concealer is the best method to help make your makeup dewy," she says. "Especially in the cold and dry months! To set your skin up for success and achieve that shiny glow, don't skip out on this step."

Experts In This Article

Toner, explains Vo, helps to "cleanse impurities and remove any dead skin cells." The result? "It will give you baby-soft skin," she says. Once the skin is at the aforementioned "baby soft" levels, the concealer can apply more smoothly, giving a fresher, more natural look.

You don't have to spend a ton of dough to get a killer toner, either. Vo says you can get an excellent one for less than $10 (you can shop her picks from T.J. Maxx and Marshall's below). "After a gentle toner, I recommend a light layer of concealer for additional coverage," she says.

While this truly is a one-step situation (we wouldn't clickbait you like that!), we'd be remiss to skip out on a reminder about winter skin care in general. Vo recommends prioritizing skin care even more than usual in the months where your skin is more prone to irritation than usual, which means moisturizing like crazy, regularly treating yourself to soothing masks, and wearing SPF like you're getting paid for it.

"Winter months are tough for maintaining moisturized and glowy skin," says Vo. "Our skin becomes much drier because of the cooler, less humid air. Keeping this in mind, my secret to making my skin look dewy during the winter months is to let it breathe—Simple as that! I tend not to wear as much makeup during the winter to avoid drying out my skin any further, and supplement with extra love in my skincare routine." Thankfully, with Vo's expert-level tip, a quick swipe of concealer is all you need to look radiant and ready to go.

Shop Vo's go-to toners

Exuviance Soothing Toning Lotion — $8.00

This alcohol-free hydrating toner is a great pick for dry and sensitive skin. It’s made with polyhydroxy acid, which is one of the gentlest exfoliating acids money can buy (it’s got a larger chemical structure than your typical AHAs and BHAs, so it doesn’t penetrate your skin as deeply). Thanks to the addition of botanical extracts—namely chamomile, rosemary and cucumber—it works to soothe skin and will help leave you with a clear canvas to apply the rest of your products (including concealer!) on top of.

CosRX Clarifying Toner — $10.00

If you’re looking for a toner that will really melt away dead skin cells, consider this your go-to. It’s made with AHAs and BHAs to offer complete exfoliation, and is designed to reduce oil production and refine the appearance of pores. It’s the perfect choice for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

Shop hydrating concealers

best hydrating concealer
Photo: Neutrogena
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Concealer Stick — $9.00

Though stick concealers have a reputation for being heavy or cakey, you’ll never get any of that here. Part of Neutrogena’s fan-fave hydroboost line, this hyaluronic-acid-packed formula covers up blemishes while giving it a hefty dose of hydration.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer — $30.00

A Sephora best-seller (and editor favorite), this creamy concealer leaves a radiant finish and nourishes skin with vitamin E, making it a dream for dry skin. It comes in 30 easily-blendable shades, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find your perfect match.

CoverFX Power Play Concealer — $30.00

This full-coverage option is one of Vo’s favorites, and offers 16 hours of crease-proof, cake-free wear. It works equally as well to cover up blemishes as it does to blur the appearance of under-eye circles, and is packed with antioxidants to offer a little extra protection from the elements throughout the day.

Check out the video below for tips on how to flawlessly apply concealer ahead of your next Zoom meeting. 

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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