"Are you sick?"
As a life-long allergy sufferer, I can't tell you how many times I've been asked that question (usually as the other person is slowly backing away from me).
After all, it's easy to mistake allergy symptoms for a cold. Think: itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose and sneezing.
These symptoms can arise when those of us with sensitive immune systems encounter certain environmental elements, such as pollen, animal hair and dust mites. Even though the substances are harmless to other people, our bodies treat them like foreign invaders, releasing a protective chemical called histamine that is the cause of most allergy symptoms.
Over the years, I've learned how to manage my allergies better with avoidance strategies and over-the-counter medication, when needed (more on that in a sec!).
But I've also learned a thing or two about hiding the telltale signs with makeup. Thank goodness for makeup, because I don't know about you, but when I look better, I also feel better! Here's how I do it:
How to Cover Redness
For me, the worst visual symptom of allergies is redness. Not only do I get a blotchy complexion, but my nose becomes extra-red and irritated, from having to blow it so many times. The first thing I do is soothe any irritation and flakiness around my nose with a skin balm, such as True Organic of Sweden's All You Need Is Me. I let that sink in, and then I apply my usual foundation.
Next, it's time for green colour corrector. The green cancels out the redness, and my favourite product for targeted areas such as the nose is Urban Decay's Naked Skin Colour Correcting Fluid in Green. It has a creamy texture that blends beautifully. If you want to neutralize overall redness, I'd recommend a green-tinted primer such as Make Up For Ever's Step 1 Skin Equalizer Redness Correcting Primer underneath your foundation. (More colour correction tips over here!)
After I blend the green colour corrector around my nose, I apply a creamy concealer on top for a seamless finish. The new Anastasia Beverly Hills Concealer would be perfect for runny, flaky red noses, since it's full coverage and hydrating.
How to Hide Puffiness
When you wake up with swollen, puffy eyes, it's the worst. My first remedy is to apply something cold. The Bliss Climate Control gadget is really handy; it's a hot and cold wand with sonic vibration that can help take down swelling. Or you could store a gel eye mask such as The Body Shop's Aqua Eye Mask in your fridge, and just wear that for 10 minutes.
If I still have puffiness after that, I go straight for my neutral eyeshadow. CoverGirl's TruNaked Eye Shadow Palette in Nudes is a great, affordable choice. I used the matte medium taupe and light brown shades to contour my crease and make it "recede."
Some people get puffiness all over. If that's you, try some subtle contouring. I really like Rimmel London's Kate Sculpting Palette in 002 Coral Glow because you get a matte contour shade, a universally flattering peach blush and a highlighter. Just make sure you don't put your blush too close to your nose, or it could draw attention to any redness there. (More blush application tips over here!)
How to Deal With Watery Eyes
More than 80 percent of people with allergies experience watery eyes. If you're going somewhere important and really need to look your best, eye drops can temporarily reduce any redness and itchiness.
Otherwise, you can create the illusion of brighter eyes with a navy blue eyeliner. Go for a waterproof one—the best I've ever found is the new Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner in Aqua XL S-20. I put it in my waterlines and smudged the edges a bit with my Make Up For Ever 216 Medium Precision Eye Blender Brush. Since it's not too precise, it'll still look good even if your eyes do tear up.
Alternatively, you might want to skip dark eyeliner and instead just neutralize any redness in your inner rims. For that I'd suggest a nude, not white pencil, such as Urban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil in Walk of Shame.
Obviously, waterproof mascara is a must. Although many can be drying and flaky, I applied Givenchy's Noir Couture Waterproof 4 in 1 Mascara (the Couture Collection edition) and it goes on just as nourishing and volumizing as a non-waterproof mascara.
How to Cover Dark Circles
You might not realize that dark circles are often related to allergies. When sinuses are inflamed, the veins behind the eyes can dilate and darken. Since the skin around the eyes is so thin, this purplish or bluish colour can show through.
Once again, colour corrector is your friend. This time, you want one that is either pink (for fair skin), peach (for light and medium skin), orange (for tan skin) or red (for deep skin). I like a brush-on pen format for the eye area, such as Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Éclat Neutralizer in Abricot Bisque.
Once that's blended, top it with a creamy concealer that matches your skin tone. (If your dark circles aren't that bad, you might be able to get away with just a good concealer.) I love Know Cosmetics No Dark Shadows Complexion Enhancer because it's specifically designed for dark circles. Bonus: It's also waterproof!
How to Hide Chapped Lips
When allergies make you stuffed up, you often have to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose—and that can cause chapping. Instead of peeling off the flakes (ouch!), try gently buffing with a lip scrub such as Bite Beauty's Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub. It will help to create a smoother surface.
Lip balm is key, and I'm always on the lookout for a good one. My latest discovery is Guerlain's Super Lips Lip Hero, which works as both a glossy balm and a nourishing lip mask.
If you want some colour, tinted lip balm is the way to go; lipsticks and stains will only accentuate dryness. I was pleasantly surprised by the hydrating power of CoverGirl's Oh Sugar! Vitamin Infused Lip Balm—which actually looks like lipstick in the tube. I layered Caramel over Punch for a "your lips, only better" colour.
How to Stop Allergy Symptoms With REACTINE®
Of course, the best way to deal with allergy symptoms isn't just to hide them with makeup—it's to treat them right when they start!
REACTINE® can start to work in just 20 minutes, relieving symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, stuffiness, watery eyes and itching. It lasts 24 hours, won't cause drowsiness and can be used daily during peak allergy season. On Twitter, @ReactineCA shares a daily pollen forecast that can help indicate how bad your symptoms might be, so you can plan your day.
If your symptoms are very bothersome, you can team up oral REACTINE® with the new REACTINE NaturEase Nasal Spray. This is an all-natural treatment that helps clear irritants from your nasal passages and soothes a dry, irritated nose. It comes in a portable bottle and you can simply spray once in each nostril, up to four times a day.
All it takes are a few strategic makeup moves to disguise the telltale signs of allergies.
Grab this coupon to save $6.00 off your next purchase of REACTINE®!
Do you get allergy symptoms?
What makeup tips do you swear by for hiding them?