Ugh, right now I am suffering from a bad case of “allergy face”.
I don’t know what tree or flower causes it, but evidently it starts torturing me at the end of May and then just as rapidly moves on to find someone else to pick on by early July.
June, however, can be a living hell. I am on prescription only antihistamines that keep it barely at bay during the day, but by the early evening it returns with a vengeance and 3:30am seems to be its particular favourite time to wake me up with the entire inside of my head itching so much that I want to scratch the insides of my ears with a knitting needle (not recommended).
A few weeks ago I was invited to a blogger breakfast with Benadryl where I would get some advice on dealing with allergies and beauty products to hide the evidence of “allergy face”. I could not go because it was in London at breakfast time and dedicated as I am I need a more pressing reason for a 5am start and a £100 train ticket.
Fortunately they saved me from my allergies anyway with this handy little kit which contains some products to banish allergy face issues and a little booklet. On one side of the booklet there are some make up tips from make up artist Jo Freeman, on the other some tips from Benadryl on generally dealing with the hell that is hayfever.
So today I thought I’d share some of these, and some of my own tips, in case you, too, are making that weird scratching noise with your throat and rubbing your eyes till you get those weird geometric patterns flashing in your brain.
Dealing with Allergy Face
I have to confess, some of the tips in the booklet don’t work for me, but others are great. Jo Freeman is a professional make up artist, so I’m not going to argue with her, but I am going to add some tips of my own!
Dealing with red and flaky skin
This generally happens around my nose because I’ve spent all day rubbing it, or sneezing and blowing my nose. I tend to get more flakiness than redness.
Jo Freeman recommends applying a hydrating moisturiser and then neutralising any redness with a green based colour corrector.
I say that the moisturiser is an excellent plan, as is drinking plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.
Take care with the green colour corrector though. Hayfever tends to happen in Summer when you might have a light tan, and if you’re not careful colour correctors can leave weird pale patches. I recommend sticking to cream formulations for make up, using BB cream instead of heavy foundation, and avoiding powder around your nose and eyes.
Dealing with itchy eyes
Hayfever eyes are itchy, watery, red and puffy.
My eyes tend to itch and get red and dry and a bit puffy, not so much watery.
Jo Freeman recommends avoiding dark eyeshadow and using a vanilla shade on your lids, she also recommends using a white eyeliner on the lower waterline to make your eyes look bigger and fresher, and using a waterproof mascara.
My advice is to leave your eyes alone as much as you can. I generally just use a waterproof mascara for every day and leave them to get on with it and rely on the rest of my make up to distract from them. Also, make sure your eyebrows are perfectly defined so you can distract peoples attention.
I find that using a white eyeliner just makes me look like I have drawn a white line around my red puffy eyes, and the more I try to cover up the redness the more it makes the bits I can’t cover up stand out. You might be able to see it in this picture where I tried it out.
If I want to look a bit glam I actually wear black eyeliner around the waterline of my eyes and smudged on my top lid. It’s a quick smoky eye look and distracts from the red puffiness by making it look intentional!
Again, I’m afraid these aren’t the best photos as my photography assistant was unavailable and I had to rely on selfies, but hopefully you get the idea!
If your eyes are watery, skip it, as you will just look like a panda.
Dealing with a puffy face
For me any puffiness is mostly in my eyes and nose, but I know some people have a whole puffy face!
Jo Freeman recommends using bronzer in the hollows of your cheeks, your jawline and your temples, with a highlighter on top of your cheekbones, along the bridge of your nose and on your cupids bow for some contouring. She also recommends working a brighter lipstick to make your lips the focus of your face.
I say contouring is great, but be careful not to overdo it as if your skin is dry and you use powder you’ll just look flaky and crispy. I tend to use a cream blush on my cheeks and a highlighter on my cheek bones which gives a fresher look, and also gives my face a bit of colour as I find my allergy face can be a bit grey and tired.
I also say YES to a bright lip, but be careful if you’re choosing shades of red. Pick deeper blue toned reds, or lipsticks with a browny hue as anything with red or pink in it will do a wonderful job in picking out the colour of your eyes.
General Hayfever Tips
Ok, so once we’ve dealt with keeping ourselves beautiful, here are some tips to keep hayfever misery to a minimum!
- Sunglasses – The bigger the better. They’ll keep pollen out of your eyes, so wear them even when it’s overcast.
- Close your windows and doors – I am very bad at doing this, but keeping your windows closed can help keep pollen out of the house.
- Wash when you get home – This tip was in the Benadryl booklet and I couldn’t quite believe I hadn’t thought of it in the 30 years I’ve had hayfever. Pollen can stick to your skin and hair, so shower, wash your hair and change your clothes when you get home.
- Try beeswax candles – I have read that using beeswax candles produces negative ions which can bond with the pollen in the air and cause it to drop to the floor where you can then hoover it up. I have no idea of the scientific evidence behind this, but beeswax candles are nice, you can make your own, and frankly I’ll try anything.
FYI – This post is not sponsored, but thanks to Benadryl for the inspiration and the allergy beauty kit!