Everyone I know is coughing, spluttering and feeling incredibly sorry for themselves. Including me today. The problem with something like a cold is that unless you work in a medical high dependency unit a bit of a cough is really not an excuse for a day off. So we have to face the world. Red noses, hacking cough and barely enough energy to make it out the door let alone set your hair and paint your nails.
So, as I could do with a bit of inspiration on this front myself this morning, I’ve got a few tips on getting through cold season with your dignity intact.
Ok, so, I know I’ve just said that we can’t get away with this. But it’s still top tip number one. Rest and fluids is the only prescribed cure for a cold. So cancel all engagements that aren’t earth shatteringly vital. If you’ve arranged to meet a friend for lunch, skip it, go home after work rather than for drinks and you don’t need to go to that vintage fair this weekend, you won’t appreciate it anyway.
A bit of rest will make you ill for less time and minimise exposure of your flaky skinned, sniffling self to the world.
If Joan Crawford can accept an Oscar from her sick bed then possibly your boss will let you work from home today.
The problem with caking make up on in an attempt to make yourself look well is that it rarely works. Red lipstick and a heavy powder foundation over a sallow, flaking poorly persons skin will look false and draw attention to your ill health. Plus it’s a massive faff when you’re poorly.
Low key make up is the key to making you look a little more healthy though, with the right products.
Skin – When you’re ill it shows in your skin. It can become drier, flaky and the texture can be bumpy. If you normally wear a heavy foundation and powder this will only show it up more. Use something lighter to even out your skin tone and add a bit of a glow. Something like a Beauty Balm is a good idea. I sometimes use No 17 BB Blemish Balm under my mineral foundation for the evening for a heavier coverage, but for poorly days it’s great on it’s own! You could also try No 7 Beauty Balm and Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector
To brighten up red eyes and around your nose something like Benefit Lemon Aid with a yellow base works well. Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer is also excellent with a brightening shade and a regular facial concealer
Cheeks – Don’t skip this one! A cream blush is your god send to look all healthy and glowy when you feel like rubbish. Use a bright colour and apply it lightly to the apples of your cheeks. Patting your fingers over your brow bone after applying it for a really light touch also makes your eyes look more alive. I’m currently using the brilliant Besame Rouge, it’s so bright I don’t think I’ll ever get through the whole pot. Plus I use it on lips as well. Another product I keep in my handbag is Elizabethan Herbal red lip tint, it works just as well on cheeks, you could also try No 7 Vital Brights.
Eyes – Tired eyes make you look ill, so weighing them down with eyeliner and dark shadows is a bad idea. You use a concealer or a light shade of eyeshadow on your top lid, curl your eyelashes, add mascara and define your eyebrows for pretend perky eyes.
Lips – I think a bit of colour brightens up your face, but a heavy red lipstick might be too high maintenance. I either use a red as a stain, or one of the cheek products from above for a hint of colour.
I think we all know I’m very fond of the beret as a cheats way of getting out of doing your hair. That might work for a trip to the shops, but if you’re going into work or to vital appointment with a cold then a beret probably isn’t going to cut it. Whether you’re a set your hair once a week or a wash it every day kind of girl when your poorly, your hair will suffer. It can go dry or greasy like your skin, and even if it doesn’t the effort of styling and washing it is just a bit too much and scraped back pony tail just screams “I’m ill and couldn’t be bothered”.
For greasy hair I can’t recommend Batiste dry shampoo enough. Spray it on, rub it in and brush it out and it will also add volume. This means lazy girls with long hair can take advantage of one of these doughnuts to create a high ballerina bun, clip in a small flower or a beaded hair clip and pretend that’s exactly how you wanted to look.
Girls with hair that’s chin length or shorter actually have a harder time pretending they could be bothered to do anything with it. Pretty hair slides and hair bands are a good answer. Basically you’re using accessories to distract attention from your actual hair. Don’t go overboard, but pushing your hair back from your face with something like this Tweed and velvet bow hairband looks far better than just clipping it back.
Or maybe not. But every lazy girl should have in her wardrobe at least one outfit that is the publicly acceptable face of pyjamadom. If you don’t have one of these then you need to find one.
It’s not an imaginative outfit, but it’s comfortable, easy to wear, requires no thought and looks relatively presentable. In winter mine is a black jersey dress with black tights and a longline cardigan, or wide leg jersey palazzo pants and a waist length jumper. These outfits are good for early mornings, travel, last minute outfit emergencies and illness.
So, you’d secretly like to stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself and you feel far too weak and feeble to make any effort. So you’ve slapped on a bit of make up to fool people into thinking your healthier than you are, scraped back your hair with an optical illusion hair accessory and put on the closest thing to pyjamas it’s acceptable to your personal standards to wear in public.
Don’t go and ruin it by spending all day sniffing, whinging and coughing all over people. You’ll only have to listen to them moan when you make them sick next week. It’s about politeness, and not making other people sick. So don’t cough all over all the telephones in the office, don’t drink out of all the glasses and leave them lying around, and remember how annoying ill people are and refrain from making dramatic ill noises or whinging too much (to friends and work colleagues at least, family and loved ones are obliged to offer sympathy)
Things to Carry:
Tissues – for coughs, sneezes and sneaking out of the room and loudly blowing your nose into. Make sure you use them as well. There is nothing more irritating that sitting in a room with an ill person going *sniff* *sniff* *sniff* for an entire day. If you feel like being a bit pretentious then a lace trimmed hanky is nice for covering your mouth for lady like coughs and delicate little sneezes.
Paracetamol /Lemsip – Rather than laying at your desk making little moaning noises and clutching your head, just take some paracetamol. Or make yourself a lemsip if you have hot water facilities.
A Scarf – A nice cosy scarf is the out and about equivalent of a blanket. Which is obviously what you’d rather be sat under.
Moisturiser and lip balm – For dry and uncomfortable skin.
So, those are my tips on surviving cold season with your dignity intact. Of course, if you have actual flu you won’t be able to do any of this except the first one. Stay at home.
If your cold is very bad I recommend pretending it’s flu, staying at home with a Poirot box set and dramatically playing up the symptoms when you return to work. Just don’t tell them I told you.