lilly’s beauty hacks for when you’re sick

Whether you caught the flu or a nasty cough, the last thing that you may want to do when you're sick is go out—same here. It’s the only time when you could not pay me to get glammed-up, let alone to face an important meeting or social event where I would want to look effortlessly polished

Although I do my best to prevent getting sick, when I do catch something, my looks can really match the way I feel—like a zombie. So I have figured out a few skin remedies and makeup tricks that at least make me feel pulled together.


If your skin is typically dry, you may already know that hydrating and moisturizing are key. This is even more important when you’re feeling under the weather, as your skin may look more flaky and dull than usual.

After cleansing your face, use a hydrating face mist. Then, while your skin is still damp, apply a rich face oil to seal in every drop and prevent it from escaping your skin. I like to use the MŪN Anarose Toner or the Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator to hydrate, and a rich, but non-greasy face oil like the Odacité Wild Carrot Serum, which really helps the skin to glow. If you have persistent dryness in certain spots, apply a small amount of an emollient balm exactly where needed and pat it in.


One of the worst symptoms of having a bad cold, especially during winter, is chapped skin around the nose. With every time that I wipe my nose, my nostrils get more red and irritated, like they’re on fire. Besides trying to be extra gentle (and using the softest tissue available), I find that using a gentle cleanser and soothing the skin with a balm is the most effective way to alleviate the discomfort.

After cleansing and applying my face serum, I add a thick balm around my nose to help repair/protect the delicate skin around my nose. I like to look for thick, emollient balms that create an occlusive film over the skin. While I tend to avoid products like this for the rest of my face, this type of product works wonders for protecting irritated skin from harsh elements. My favorite product for this purpose is the Laurel Whole Plant Organics Healing Balm. You could also use the Henné Organics Lip Balm, which is an excellent multi-tasking product.


One of the most uncomfortable and annoying things that happens when I am sick during winter is dry, chapped lips. When they get really bad and uncomfortable, a quick swipe of lip balm can’t fix it, so at night I like to take an extra step that makes all the difference.

First, I use the Henné Organics Nordic Berries Lip Exfoliator (scented with real, organic berries) to smooth out the texture and remove excess dead skin. Then I apply a generous layer of Henné Organics Lip Balm—and I really mean generous. By the time I wake up my lips are 90% better. Then I’ll wear Henne’s Tinted Lip Balm during the day, to continue to protect and heal my lips while getting a little tint. My favorite colors are Bare for a nude, understated peachy pink (the one I mentioned in this post) and Intrigue, for a sheer, warm red color (perfect for this season!).


The first thing you may notice when you don’t feel well is that your complexion looks more pale, which is due to a decrease in blood flow. My must-have for reviving my complexion when I am looking pale is a warm-toned, cream blush. The exact choice of blush color for you depends on your skin tone, but any peach/coral hues can work great.

I love the Kjaer Weis Desired Glow Cream Blush because it’s like a hybrid between a bronzer and a blush, adding just the right amount of warmth to my face. Texture wise, a cream product provides a slightly dewy finish that helps dull skin look more fresh.


A bright lip color can make your face look more alive and well. However, if your lips are dry, flakey or chapped, a highly pigmented lipstick may not be comfortable or flattering, as it could emphasize dryness and peeling skin. Instead, opt for a sheer, tinted lip balm. This is going to lift your pale face with a brighter tint, but it is going to keep your lips soft and comfortable—not to mention that it’s low maintenance and you can quickly re-apply it without a mirror. Win-win. A few favorites of mine are the Henné tinted lip balms I mentioned above, the Gressa Lip Boosts (in the photo below I am wearing the shade Aux Rouge), and the tinted Hurraw! Black Cherry Tinted Lip Balm.


Makeup is all about fun, and feeling confident and put-together. However, when you are sick, there are a few mistakes that you may want to avoid in order to look your best. Certain looks and techniques can make your puffy eyes look puffier, and your pale complexion look more drained.

  • Don’t apply dark eyeliner to your waterline. It tends to make your eyes look smaller, your lower lids more puffy, and emphasize any redness in tired, watery eyes.
  • Avoid heavy eye makeup. Keep it fresh—swipe a little eyeshadow, curl your lashes, and add a coat of mascara. Teary eyes may cause your eyeliner to smudge. Try smudge-proof mascara like the Hush + Dotti one.
  • Red and purple eyeshadows can emphasize any redness in your skin, and make your eyes look more tired and puffy. Opt for golds, coppers, and other warm toned eyeshadows like Kjaer Weis in Magnetic and Sappho in Beckitt.
  • Stay away from “vampy”, dark colors, blue-toned pinks, and purples on your lips. Dark colors can make a pale complexion look more drained. Unless that is the look you’re going for, try a brighter color or a shade that is close to the natural color of your lips.

I hope that these tips are going to help you feel more confident working with what you have. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, take your immune-boosting supplements, and just fake it ’til you make it.


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