When you have a cold, the last thing you want to do is worry about how you look. An itchy runny nose, elusive sleep, watery eyes — it’s more about how you feel that has your full attention.
Although you’d probably like it to, life doesn’t stop when you’re under the weather. Getting out of bed and looking presentable is sometimes a necessity, even though your PJs are calling for you to crawl back into them and recline on the couch with a hot toddy.
For the days when you need to show up for a client meeting or an important event, we sat down with makeup artist Noel McKinnon, owner and lead hair/makeup artist of MAKEUP2DIE4. She shared her top tricks so you can look pretty even though you’re pretty sick.
Problem: No sleep
You have: Raccoon eyes
Hack: Before beginning your beauty routine, give yourself a lift by slicing a raw potato and placing the slices under your eyes for a few minutes. The potassium helps lessen under-eye dark circles, so you have a more even canvas for your makeup.
“If your under-eye bags are purple in tone, use a dot of green concealer on them,” suggests McKinnon. “Make sure it’s a cream. Everything you use when you have a cold should have a cream base. You need hydrating, thicker formulas because you’re dehydrated.”
While a dot of light eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eye can instantly give the appearance of eight hours of sleep, McKinnon warns it can look too obvious if done incorrectly. To keep it more fresh-faced, McKinnon names Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado as her go-to when she’s sick. The light green cream moisturizer has its own reflective nature, so you can forgo the shimmery eyeshadow for a more natural look.
Problem: Constant nose blowing
You have: Flakes and redness
Hack: Moisturize and then apply a concealer. “If your nose is red, dab on concealer in a light yellow tone to reduce the ruddiness,” says McKinnon.
Remember: Oil is a good thing in this case, so avoid a shine-free or “mattefying” formula that might dry you out further.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive moisturizer, just an extra emollient one. Think Vaseline or lanolin, gently rubbed onto the flaky nostril area. Don’t use your regular moisturizer if it has any anti-aging properties, because those ingredients might irritate skin further.
Another trick: “Make sure your tissues have lanolin in them,” she adds.
Problem: Itchy Eyes
You have: Puffiness
Hack: Apply a cold compress to your eye area for five to 10 minutes to decrease swelling. Don’t have that kind of time? Place ice cubes into a bowl of water, and splash your face a few times. This will increase circulation and decrease the puff.
While lining the bottom inside lash line with white eyeliner can brighten red, itchy eyes, McKinnon relies on colors closer to a person’s actual skin tone instead of bright white for a more natural look,
“That way, it blends with your skin and doesn’t pop out,” she says, adding Nyx Eyeliner as a favorite. “It brightens in a more subtle way.”
Problem: Feeling drained
You have: Pale skin
Hack: “When you’re sick, a primer is your best friend,” McKinnon says. “It helps your makeup stay better when you blow your nose.”
“Your normal cream foundation will slide off your face every time you rub your nose or eyes,” she warns.
Finish with a sweep of peach or pink powder blush for a healthy glow. Keep it light, so it doesn’t look like a fever gave you those beautifully rosy cheeks.