Makeup tricks for when you're sick


When we're sick, often all we want to do is stay in bed and/or watch telly on the couch, but unfortunately there will be times when we'll still have to get up and face the world anyway.

We're in one of those patches now: all three of us have bad colds and we're away in Bali, so there's been a lot of bed time but we've also wanted to get out and about because we've never been here before and we want to make the most of our time away.

So I felt this was a timely post because I've definitely had to reach into my bag of tricks so I don't look like a total zombie when we go out to lunch! I also find that many of the tricks I use when I'm sick are ones that I often use these days anyway, since I have dry skin and also a toddler (so I'm no stranger to sleep deprivation and how that impacts one's skin) - and there's a lot of crossover because when you're sick you do often look dry and dehydrated, and the bags under your eyes look deeper than usual...

Moisturise and then moisturise some more

When you're sick, the best thing you can do for your skin is to get as much hydration into it as possible. So pick your favourite plumping moisturiser and go to town, giving yourself the best base for makeup that you can. 

It's also worth reapplying a hydrating/brightening moisturiser throughout the day - I've found that something like Clarins Beauty Flash Balm works well over makeup and doesn't 'lift' it if you pat the product in gently - so keep the moisture coming to help with any dehydration. A facial spray can work wonders too, as can drinking plenty of water to feed your skin from within.

Start and finish with a glow

Your skin often looks dull and drawn when you're unwell, so now's the time to whip out those glow-giving products that are all the rage these days and have been for a while. How much glow you add will depend on your skin type and just how dead you look: you will know how much glow will work for you.

For me, I'll start with a glow-enhancing primer (something like MAC's Strobe Cream) and I'll also add a squirt of one of Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfectors (eg the liquid version in Opal) to whatever base I'm using. I'm dry enough that I can go in with Hourglass' Dim Light as a finishing powder and still highlight on top of that, but you may find that this routine is too much glow for you, so pick and choose to suit your own skin.

Tread lightly!

One look in the mirror after a few days in bed can send you straight to the 'heavy duty' section of your makeup collection, but now isn't the time to go for a full-coverage look (for me, anyway): heavy makeup can not only show texture - and add it - but it can also look like you're trying to hide something, so it can have the reverse effect to the one you're after.

When I'm not looking my best, I still reach for lighter bases (like tinted moisturisers/BB creams) and then go in with a concealer or colour corrector where I need to. It's also not a good time to layer on the powders because your skin is likely looking dry anyway, so reach for cream products where you can to help give you some much-needed dew.

Colour correct and conceal

I don't normally colour correct much because I'm lazy and don't have a lot of colour-correcting products on hand, but when I'm sick I'm more likely to reach for what I have.

Yellow works best for correcting the dark purple bags under your eyes; green will help with any redness around your nose from all that tissue-blowing; purple corrects yellow, dead-looking patches of skin; and pink brightens any dull areas.

Once you've corrected, you can add your concealer over the top to even things out. Pick something brightening for under the eyes and the parts of your face you want to highlight, and something that matches your foundation for everywhere else.

Now's the time to contour

I don't normally contour much - except when it comes to my hooded upper eye area - because I've been told by a makeup artist I trust that it's not right for my face and I tend to agree with her. When I'm sick, however, it's not just my puffy eyes that need some assistance: I lose what cheekbones I have and look rather full around the jawline from water-retention and swollen glands.

So what I've been doing these past few days is shading my cheekbones back in and giving myself more of a jawline with a contouring product. I've also been going in a little heavier with the matte shadow on my upper eye area, since my eyes are even puffier than usual.

Have a look at your face and ask yourself whether you need to give yourself back any features that your illness has taken away, then pull out that contouring product if you need to.

Choose your colours wisely

To me, the best coloured products to wear when you're sick are brightening ones. This generally means spring/summer colours and not sultry autumn/winter ones, although of course the choice is up to you.

Peaches and corals can work wonders to brighten the face - I like using these on the cheeks and lashline - and a bright lip can take the focus away from how dead you look elsewhere. I also reckon it's a good time to reach for your bronzer and warm up your face, since you've probably lost a bit of your natural warmth while you've been fighting off your bug.

In sum

Foo to being sick! But at least we have makeup to breathe life back into our faces ; )

Do you have any tricks for when you're sick and need to look alive? I'd love to hear.

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