How To Look Better When You're Sick

Your 3-step plan for looking good (or at least, not like death) when you're feeling gross.

Today's post is kind of all about ME. Not that that's anything unusual, but in case you haven't noticed, this blog hasn't been updated in days, all because I fell victim to some kind of evil flu virus. So much for starting off 2012 all gung-ho with my beauty resolutions.

But now, as I ease back into the land of the living, what's top of mind is how I can reasonably look like I spent the past few days on some kind of ski vacation (read: fresh and glowy) instead of throwing up in my pajamas (think: pale, dark circle-ridden and flaky). Here's my beauty Rx:

Step 1: Deal with the flakies

The number one thing—let me repeat, NUMBER ONE THING—that you need during sick times is an insanely hydrating lip balm. I mean, wintertime in January in Canada is not kind to lips to begin with. But when you're ill, you're likely breathing through your mouth, and all that air spells Chap City for your lips. Few things are more annoying.

I've got more lip balms in rotation than is probably sane, but one I've been reaching for lately is a newbie from Rodial:

It's called Glam Balm Lip and reminds me of a runnier version of my beloved By Terry Rose Lip Balm, which I (sadly) believe was discontinued in Canada. The rose scent/flavour won't be for everyone, but I think you'll find its moisturizing abilities quite incredible. (I don't mind a generic waxy balm on regular days, but you need something more powerful, like the Rodial, in times of crisis.)

The other flake problem, as I'm sure you know, occurs around the nasal area. Not cute. I've got two go-to products for dealing with this, depending on the severity of the problem at hand. One is Weleda's indispensible Skin Food:

This is a pretty big statement, but get ready for it: I think everyone needs a tube of this in their medicine cabinet. It's not for regular, everyday moisturizing (WAY too greasy), but it repairs dry skin like nothing else. I've slathered it all over my red, flaky, chapped nose and had practically brand new skin 24 hours later.

If your skin issues aren't as traumatic—maybe you have a few flakes, but also just general dullness—I suggest you get acquainted with another friend of mine:

NeoStrata pretty much own it when it comes to glycolics, and unlike my recent battles with glycolic in a gel, this is a CREAM format that combines hydration with gentle exfoliation. Note: it'd probably be a touch too tingly if your skin is very raw and tender from blowing your nose.

Step 2: Hide the evidence

And now it's time to camouflage the telltale signs: a red nose, pale complexion, dark circles, the aforementioned flaky skin... yikes! For post-sick times, my motto is "less is more," so I find foundation a bit much. Instead, I tend to reach for a glowy tinted moisturizer. My current favourite is this guy from Perricone MD:

And yes, the bottle is really that tiny. Just FYI. But seriously, any tinted moisturizer will do the trick—you just want something that is simultaneously easy to apply (i.e. hydrates and gives you SPF) AND imparts a bit of colour and glow.

Of course, concealer is a MUST: get a creamy one and apply it all the way around your eyes and nose. (You can check out this list for some of my all-time faves.) But be very, very careful about setting it with powder. One false move and too much powder is only going to exacerbate the flakiness situation.

Feel free to go crazy with mascara, but go easy on the eyeshadow. (Or at least, stick with one of my go-to shimmery neutrals.) And finally, you really cannot leave the house without the twins: bronzer 'n blush. Both essential if you're looking a little too Cullen family to leave the house. Again, my preference is cream, not powder, formulas. Revolution Organics makes these great ones called Beauty Balms that come in chunky tubes like this:

Just swipe on with fingers, blend and go—they're totally portable for touch-ups, too.

Step 3: Distract 'em

Your last move, and it's a very important one, is to fool people into thinking you were not actually sick at all. (Unless the sympathy vote is what you were going for, in which case, carry on.) Like I said, I don't think heavy eyeshadow, or eyeliner, is the way to go here. It really is all about the bright lip gloss.

Notice I did not say lipstick, because lipstick is less kind to chapped lips. Gloss you can layer over your balm and the shine and slight goopiness sort of smooths everything over. And here is where I give a plug for one of my all-time favourite beauty categories: the gloss-balm. There are many to choose from, but for the best combination of colour with sooper incredible moisturization, I'm going to recommend that you go with Givenchy:

Last but not least, perfume. (Did I not say I'm making an effort for it to be a bigger part of my life?) Fragrance can make you feel alive again, and let's face it—at this point, it's a welcome change to have the smell of flowers (or whatever) instead of chicken soup or Vick's VapoRub.

My choice is something light, not too strong, but pretty and fresh and slightly citrusy. Enter Le Couvent des Minimes Fleur d'Oranger:

That means Orange Blossom. It is probably the loveliest inexpensive fragrance I've tried. Not sure where you can buy this stuff anymore—it used to be at Bath & Body Works, and I heard Shoppers Drug Mart carried it at one point. Anyone know? Few products meet my "I'd buy it again" standard, but this is one of them.

Tell me:

How do you deal with the beauty aftermath of a cold or flu?

Which beauty prodz do you reach for during such times of crisis?

Tried any of these ones?

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