Sick-day makeup: how to look your best when you’re feeling your worst



When you’re feeling sick, the best thing you can do for yourself is stay in bed with a cup of hot tea, snuggled up with a favorite book or a movie…

.. but sometimes you don’t have that luxury of being able to stay home and need to leave the house for a bit. If you don’t feel the need to wear makeup- awesome! But if you’re anything like me, then you like to give yourself a little “pick me up” by making yourself look pretty, while still keeping things to a minimum.

It seems like everyone is battling a cold right now, I’ve been sick for almost a week now, but I still had to show up for an important meeting at work on Saturday, run some errands during the weekend, and take care of some thangs. I stuck to some of my favorite light coverage, cream products, since those usually work best for me when my skin feels dry and exhausted. If you’re on the same boat as me, wipe that snot right off your nose girl!



When you’re dealing with a cold, you’re dealing with more than just sniffles, sneezing and a cough: your skin also tends to feel dry and rough. That is why it’s very important to moisturize your skin- especially if you’re planning on wearing light makeup. The skin around your nose also tends to feel very dry when you’re sick (because of constant use of tissues) and what I like to do is apply some Vaseline around my nose to prevent my skin from getting irritated.


Again, your skin is probably feeling dry and that’s why it’s best to stick to cream formulas. If your skin feels a bit oily, you can use a little setting powder, but I’d recommend that you try blotting papers instead. I always like to stick to a bare minimum when it comes to wearing makeup during sick days, so all I really use is a light base, some concealer and a cream blush. Speaking of base…


Forget foundation. If you have great skin and don’t feel the need to wear a base- great. Instead, you can use a bit of a brightening product like MAC’s Strobe Cream– just mix a little bit with your moisturizer and use it on top of your SPF lotion. It won’t add any coverage, but it will give you a nice, healthy glow. If you feel like you have to give yourself a little coverage- go for a BB Cream or a tinted moisturizer. It’s just enough to cover up any redness and even out your skin tone. If you have any breakouts or discoloration, don’t worry about them. I know from my own experience that when you’re not feeling well and your skin is feeling dry, the more you try to cover those little imperfections, the worst they end up looking, so try to avoid caking up multiple products on your face. For the last couple of days I’ve been using Guerlain’s Meteorites Baby Glow Light-Reflecting Makeup– even though it’s a foundation, it feels more like a tinted moisturizer and makes my skin look nice and healthy, without looking unnatural or feeling heavy.


Your lips are probably feeling dry, you’re constantly wiping your nose, coughing or you’re sipping on your tea.. Lipstick? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Stick to your favorite tinted lip balm.


I’m sorry, but it doesn’t matter how sick I’m feeling, if I’m leaving my house and planning on interacting with other human beings, I’m wearing mascara. Mascara is my jam. When you’re feeling under the weather, it’s usually best to stick to water-proof formulas. I stay away from anything that gives me tons of volume or feels very heavy so I just use any mascara that gives a minimal and natural look, like Maybelline’s Great Lash. I usually don’t like this mascara, I don’t think that it does much for my lashes, so I always use it on those “no makeup makeup” days because it’s so delicate and natural-looking.


Okay, is this a weird one? It doesn’t matter if you’re going to put your hair up in a bun, make sure your hair is nice and fresh. As much as I love dry shampoo, I love freshly washed hair even more and whether I’m having a bad skin day, or I’m simply battling a cold like right now, I always make sure that my hair is clean. I know, it might be weird, but it just makes me feel so much better. You know when you’re shopping and you’re trying on clothes, but your outfit looks so much different (meaning better) when you have your hair and makeup done? It’s kind of the same thing with feeling sick and having fresh hair- it just makes me feel a little less bummy. :P

Like I’ve said in the beginning of this post, when you’re sick, the best thing you can do is forget about makeup altogether and stay in bed, so don’t go around thinking that I’m making you wear makeup when you feel like crap! :) Stay healthy my friends, I’m off to make myself a 13727th cup of tea this morning!



  • Reply
    Ashley Elizabeth
    October 20, 2015 at 11:05 am

    This post is my life today, Lol! I called out of work yesterday and I’m still sick but really needed to go in today. You don’t want to look like the living dead, but you know that any kind of heavy makeup isn’t going to make you feel any better.


  • Reply
    Jodie Vernon
    October 20, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I’ve just gotten over the first cold of the season and I wish I could’ve read this post then, it would’ve been such a lifesaver!

    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

  • Reply
    October 20, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Hope you feel better soon Paula! I totally agree with you about wanting a bit of makeup on and nice clean hair when I’m ill but need to go out – it feels like an effort but it makes me feel much better about myself. x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  • Reply
    Sara Fleming
    October 20, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Great tips! I have a feeling I’ll be using this post a lot over Winter!

    Sara – She Who Is Short

  • Reply
    jenna cantillion
    October 20, 2015 at 11:49 am

    This is such a good post! I’m feeling abit down right now

    Jenna | Beauty And The Style

  • Reply
    October 20, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Amazing suggestions! The advice about forgetting lipstick is something I need to follow, I always wear lipstick when I’m feeling sick and it makes my lips crack and feel horrible.

  • Reply
    Hillary H
    October 20, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I feel your pain! I was sick for two weeks recently and it really is awful when you have to leave the house and feel like crap on this inside. It’s nice to feel a little bit better on this outside! Nice post! And feel better!

  • Reply
    A Little Dose of Makeup
    October 20, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Loved this post! I definitely need some hot drinks and under eye concealer to make me look semi-decent on a sick day

    A Little Dose of Makeup

  • Reply
    October 20, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Love love strobe cream from MAC but I haven’t used it lately! Thanks for reminding me I own that product too, I remember it provides such a nice glow on the skin. And nope, it’s not weird, I wash my hair everyday even when I’m sick, it’s just refreshing. :)

    Miriam ♥ A whole lot of serendipity

  • Reply
    Danielle Beautyblog
    October 20, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Hope you feel better soon! I like concealer and blusher to make myself look more alive when I’m sick!

    Danielle’s Beauty Blog

  • Reply
    Ana Sofia
    October 20, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I loved reading this post, there were loads of great tips! Get well soon sweetie <3

    Check out my blog <3 |


  • Reply
    Sierra Calah
    October 20, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    I usually forgo the makeup when I’m sick but this is really useful for when I “have to get out of bed” i.e. for work and want to look presentable. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    sierra | @itsberrystylish  

    • Reply
      Paula @
      October 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      That’s exactly what I said in this post, the best thing is to not wear any makeup at all when you feel sick.

  • Reply
    Myra Haddad
    October 20, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    i feel you, i really dont feel like going anywhere when i sick expecially when i got migrain. but if i have to then i must look my best, the most problem i got is with red and watering eyes. any suggestion?

    • Reply
      Paula @
      October 21, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      My eyes tend to water quite a lot too, that’s why when I do use mascara I make sure to how with waterproof formula and always use eye drops a few minutes before applying mascara to help with the irritation.

  • Reply
    Chaste and Beautiful
    October 20, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Your so right about the hair part. Without having freshly washed hair on sick days, one tends to look more ill and gross. Really nice tips and I always make sure to fake glow when I am sick. A big thumbs up for this post.

    & Beautiful

  • Reply
    Nereyda Gonzalez
    October 21, 2015 at 12:51 am

    I’ve been wanting to try that Bouncy blush for a while now, glad to see you like it.

    Ugh, having to look presentable when you are sick is the worst, thanks for the tips Paula!

    Nereyda│ This Girl Is Obsessed

    • Reply
      Paula @
      October 21, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      Right?? I don’t even feel like doing my makeup when I’m sick, all I want to do is nap, but sometimes I have to choice but to leave the house and take car of some things.

  • Reply
    Caked To The Nines
    October 21, 2015 at 3:40 am

    These are great tips! There’s nothing worse than feeling dry and dehydrated when sick; thank god for cream makeup products!

    Caked To The Nines

  • Reply
    Linda Libra Loca
    October 21, 2015 at 6:04 am

    I hope you feel better soon! But as you say, staying home isn’t always an option, and I am extra careful with my makeup to make me look fresh and alive if I need to leave the house.

    Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Reply
    Kay (shoesandglitter)
    October 21, 2015 at 6:11 am

    Oh no, I hope you feel better soon, dear! :( Really helpful tips, btw – staying hydrated is the most important thing for me when I feel sick, and that includes moisturising! <3


  • Reply
    The Sunday Mode
    October 21, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Get better soon! I’m the same with the whole hair thing, whenever I’m sick the first thing I want to do is have a shower, wash my hair and get into fresh pyjamas.

  • Reply
    Dagmara Klich
    October 21, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Oh I hope you’re feeling a bit better! Definitely wearing mascara and a bit of blush make me look like human again, even if I’m feeling crap :) x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  • Reply
    October 21, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Hellooo! Ha, how is it that you’re sick and you still manage to take such great photos and write such an interesting post!? You are awesome. I agree that makeup is definitely the best ‘pick me up’ ever on days like these! and not forgetting, shampooing my hair. That’s basically all I need to feel normal again:)

    Hope you’re feeling better now.

    Rachel x

  • Reply
    October 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Love this! we all have those days


  • Reply
    October 22, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Naww I hope you get better soon! I’m currently sick also :( Loving the great beauty tips though :)


  • Reply
    Sugar Tea
    October 25, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Thank you for this! I’ve got final exams starting tomorrow and I have been feeling terrible. Hope you are feeling better. :)

    Samantha Rose x

  • Reply
    October 25, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I always find I have to make more of an effort with my skin care and make-up in autumn/winter, and when I have a cold I try to avoid make-up altogether.

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