How to look Pretty When You’re Sick.


Last Monday I woke up with a sore throat and everything sort of just went downhill from there. By Tuesday I was blowing my nose constantly, on Wednesday I was basically a living zombie, and once Friday hit, a deep phlegm-y cough had set in and I was a complete and utter hot mess. I spent the whole weekend more or less in bed, and this week I’ve still been feeling not so great… coughing quite a bit and constantly reaching for the tissues. Summer colds are the absolute worst… they come out of left field and just knock you down! Alas, the show must go on, and I still had work + a few events that I needed to make myself look presentable for. Here are my secrets to looking healthy when you feel anything but.

The first and most important thing here is skincare + making sure that your skin is properly hydrated. I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but I am a huge, huge fan of La Mer for colds + hangovers. I buy the smallest jar once every year and a half or so and reserve it exclusively for those two occasions. It’s a miracle-worker. My nose gets red and chapped but if I slather this on before bed, my skin is back to soft and almost normal by the morning. I also live and die for Susan Ciminelli’s Calming Cream when sick… after the La Mer goes on the trouble spots, this gets applied in heavy does. I intentionally put too much on, and by morning my skin is fixed. It’s packed with apricot kernel oil, calming azulene, + soothing aloe vera and sucks the redness right out of your skin, leaving behind a dewey, radiant glow. If I’m able to remember, I also love Sisley’s masks when I’m sick because you don’t have to rinse them off. I particularly love the black rose one when I’m under the weather as it is majorly hydrating. I leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then just tissue it off… nice and easy.

For makeup, I stick to a bare minimum, as I’m usually blowing my nose quite a bit and rubbing it all off. When in doubt, stick to creamy textures… anything powdery is going to flake right off or make your skin look even more dehydrated. I use a little bit of this tinted moisturizer (my shade is Alaska, if you were curious) and this concealer (but very sparingly — only where I”m really red, and inside the bridge of my nose + corners of my eyes to make me look a little more awake.) To add a little color to my corpse-face, I rely on blush (this stick is a godsend and nice + creamy) and waterproof mascara (though not this time around as I have my eyelash extensions.) Stay away from matte lips when you’re sick… instead, I love this gloss-stick from Laura Mercier (in rosewater) as it is pretty + shiny and acts as a distraction from everything else going on in my face. It also really hydrates, which can be hard to find in a lipstick. Another (if-I-remember) trick is to apply a little bit of RMS’s Living Luminizer to the inner corners of your eyes, browbones, + tops of your cheek bones… I find a little bit of shine helps counteract all that redness + dull skin!

Once I’ve faked pretty, I drink a lot of water (and Emergen-C), load up on Ginger Fireballs from Juice Press, and just get as much sleep as possible. Fake it til you make it, right? PS – I’d love it if you want to share your sick-day secrets in the comments!


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Leave a Comment


  1. ~ carmen ~ (@CarmenVarner):

    The La Mer product sounds almost miraculous. I hate the redness that comes with a runny nose or cold! :] // ☼ ☯

    8.29.14 Reply
  2. Alyssa Gapske:

    Sleep is probably the biggest thing for me. And lots and lots of green tea! Makeup just never looks right when I’m sick. It looks like I’m trying too hard!

    8.29.14 Reply
  3. Akaleistar:

    These are great ideas! Hope you are feeling better!

    8.29.14 Reply
  4. Kelsie:

    Ok I am definitely buying that La Mer and Calming Cream. I just got over the worst summer cold, and it was so terrible I didn’t even want to get out of bed let alone wear makeup lol. I also love Laura Mercier products, and have found that my Estee Lauder BB DayWear Foundation is perfectly lightweight it doesn’t even feel like your wearing anything. I would say doing your hair helps too. Even if your face isn’t perfect, some pretty curls or a side french braid can go a long way in making you look semi-normal! 🙂


    8.29.14 Reply
  5. Alexandra Puffer:

    Emergen-C is my life line when I’m sick!

    Warm Regards,

    8.30.14 Reply
  6. mana:

    I swear by Weleda’s Skin Food. I use it like you use the La Mer cream. Just the tiniest amount goes a long way, and I use it on my under eye area, it takes ages to soak in, but once it does your golden. If you start this from the beginning you don’t end up with scaly red nose, but if you don’t it does take a few days to soothe and heal.
    Fashion and Happy Things

    8.30.14 Reply
  7. Virginia Varinelli:
    8.31.14 Reply
  8. Lindsay:

    Ugh, the worst. I usually try to make my mascara and hair look good, and wear an oversized pair of glasses. I also dress in loose but warm clothes. Pedicures work wonders if you’re mostly head-congested… something about a little extra pampering feels like a treat!

    9.2.14 Reply
  9. Ellie:

    This is the worst. I just want to sleep all of the time. Great tips!

    9.9.14 Reply