There’s a definite early morning nip in the air, which can mean only one thing; it’s the start of cold and flu season.
A study (carried out by the University of Virginia) claims that during the average lifetime, we will suffer from about 200 colds – each lasting around nine days each. That’s a mind-blowing five years of headaches, sore throats, blocked noses, coughing and generally feeling bleurgh!
So what do you do if you’re unlucky enough to be hit with your yearly cold quota?
The Chic guide to looking glam during the cold and flu season
Don’t leave the house – Now this may not be possible, but if you can take a few days off work. One of the best aids you can give your immune system is rest, so get as much of it as you can. At the very least, reschedule all non-urgent appointments, cancel lunch with friends and put your feet up!
If you really have to leave the house, and you don’t want to expose people to your red nose and flakey skin, read on:
Wear your ‘go to’ outfit – Most of us have at least one in our wardrobe; the ‘go to’ outfit. It’s the outfit that we don’t really have too think to much about, it’s easy to wear and comfortable but it’s not going to illicit cries of, “Dear God woman, why have come to work in your pajamas?!”
During the colder months, for me it’s a grey or black polo neck, black leggings or stretchy jeans, knee high flat boots and a longline chunky cardigan. It’s not going to rock anyone’s fashion world, but it’s presentable and can be dressed up with a really great jacket or coat for more formal meetings, etc.
Note: if you don’t have a ‘go to’ outfit then you need to put one together. Not right now as you’re probably reading this with a streaming cold. Unless you’re planning ahead. In which case, “Way to go you!”
Trust me, your ‘go to’ outfit will make travelling, last minute outfit cock-ups and leaving the house when ill so much easier.
Bad hair day – If you’ve been hacking up a lung, probably the last thing on your mind is washing and styling your hair. Hats and scarves can hide a multitude of sins, so if you’re just popping out or have a very informal meeting, then this it the way to go.
If you have something more formal in your diary and your hair is greasier than a burger van’s fryer, then grab yourself some dry shampoo. I’ve tried a few and always end up going back to Batiste, which offers a plethora of different scents to choose from. Which probably won’t matter a toss if you’re nose is stuffed up, but hey ho.
For hair that gets drier than the Sahara during illness, spray on a leave-in conditioner. I’ve always got on well with Bed Head Ego Boost. Smells delicious, which again won’t mean a thing if you’re congested, but it does what it says on the tin.
If your hair is long enough, then wear it up. If you’ve followed the tips above you should now have hair that doesn’t look dry or dirty, but during a cold is not really the time to be faffing with styling tools. Get yourself a doughnut and create a ballerina bun, or check out the many great fake hairpieces you can now get your hands on. I’m particularly fond of fake hair scrunchies / hair wraps. They really do take only a minute to pop in and can actually look pretty darn good.
Short or chin length hair is, I’m afraid, a bit more of an issue. Still follow the tips above for greasy or dry hair, then accessorise. Try to draw attention from your hair with a hairband or slides. Keep it discreet, now is not the time to wear eye-catching hair accessories. Something that’s a few shades lighter than your hair colour will be enough to draw a persons eye away from, but not draw attention to, your hair.
Don’t tell my face, my achy flaky face – Skin does tend to take a bashing when you’re ill. It can become dry, flaky and lumps and bumps seem to spring up overnight. It can be tempting to cake on the makeup in an attempt to hide the flake. Heavy foundation and bright lipstick applied to flaking, sallow skin will only draw attention to your ickiness. So it’s a good idea to keep a light hand when it comes to makeup.
For skin – If you use foundation then try switching to Beauty Balm. BB cream will not only give you a light coverage, a lot of them have moisturising properties which will help with your dehydrated skin.
For eyes – When your ill, it’s likely that you will feel more tired than usual. And when you’re tired it really shows in your eyes, so skip the heavy eye makeup and keep it light. To soothe puffy, red eyes try soaking two cotton pads in Liz Earle Eye Bright and placing them on your eyes for a minute before applying your makeup. It’s incredibly soothing and helps to revitalise the eye area.
Makeup wise, a concealer, a neutral eyeshadow, mascara and a neaten of your eyebrows is enough to give your eyes a lift without drawing too much attention to how bloodshot they might be.
For cheeks – The aim here is to try and mimic your usual healthy glow. Try applying a cream blush just to the apples of your cheeks. Pat the colour on – don’t rub or drag your skin. Even if you usually reach for the powder blush, a cream blush will be easier on dry, flaky skin.
For lips – Stay well away from any lipstick that you usually find drying. Instead, try a tinted lip balm or lipgloss, you’ll end the day with a much happier pout.
Top tip – To cover a red nose, try a cover stick, foundation or blemish stick with a green base. It will help counteract the redness.
Keep up the good work – You’re now hopefully less puffy of eye and red of nose, so let’s try to keep it that way. Take a pack of moisture infused tissues with you, they really do help to keep your nose from getting sore. Also handy for coughing and sneezing into so you don’t spread your ickiness to all and sundry.
If you take such things, don’t forget to pack a couple of paracetamol. Better still, if you have a kettle at work, squeeze half a lemon into a small flask and add a teaspoon of honey. When you need a hot drink, top your flask up with hot water, pop on the cap and carefully shake. A slug of whisky gives this soothing drink a bit more oomph, but better to leave that until evening time (hic).
Take your lip balm and your moisturiser with you, and apply throughout the day. If you’ve covered up your red nose with blemish stick, then pop that into your bag along with your BB cream.
Although, as far as Google knows, there is no actual proof that drinking lots of fluids helps a cold – do it anyway. Let’s face it, you should be drinking lots of H2o, so a bit more won’t do you any harm.
Last and by no meant least, for the love of all that is decent take a hand sanitiser, and use it – regularly! Studies have shown that washing your hands alone does not necessarily kill the cold germs, sanitiser does. So do your colleagues, your family and your friends a favour.
So there you go, my Chic guide to looking glam during the cold and flu season. I hope that, if you are hit by the dreaded lurgy, you’ll find it useful. If you have any tips to add then hit the comment button below.
Cheerio. Attishoo – – sniff – – darn it!!