Life doesn’t always accommodate you when you’re sick and need time to recoup. Even if you do manage the time to care for yourself, the flu, colds and other illness can leave you looking run down for days or weeks. These tips will help you look good when you’re sick, or at least a bit healthier, for those times when appearances do matter.

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Dress up both to perk up your spirits and draw attention away from your less than perky complexion. Aim for colors that compliment the warm tones in your skin, especially if you are pale or sallow. Colors to avoid for many people include grays, blacks, whites, browns and other neutrals, most greens except teal and washed out pastels. Add jewelry or a bright scarf for additional appeal.

Improve tired and red eyes. Apply light blue eyeliner on the inner lower eyelid to reduce redness. Use white eyeliner around the inner eyelids to brighten dull eyes. Ensure that your concealer covers up dark circles and discoloration above the eye. Try highlighting the arch of the brow with a light pink for added glow. Avoid most brown and gray eyeshadows as they tend to make eyes, especially dark eyes, look sullen. Try a deep plum, navy or khaki instead for definition.

Address problem hair even if you lack much energy to fuss with it. Keep it simple if needed, but take notice of frizz or stray hairs and address these with your favorite styling aid. Otherwise, for more camouflage, try a few hair rollers on the top of your head, lifting the roots at the crown area and front to give added lift. Limp hair detracts from all other efforts to look good when you’re sick.

Add a little powdered bronzer to your face to give it a healthy glow. Apply as for a sun-kissed look on the cheekbones and T-zone and lightly on the neck. If this clashes with your regular blush, consider a little more color but don’t overdo it. Rather, bring your makeup along for another touch up as needed.

Look good when you’re sick by wearing lipstick, even if you are not accustomed to doing so. A simple lip liner will work to add definition, a hint of color to paling lips and as a detraction from less than alert eyes. If however, you have redness under the nose or in the lip area, stick with a neutral lip liner and avoid gloss or bright colors.

Consider corrective makeup if you still look like you should have stayed in bed, which may be the case. Look for green base makeup to correct substantial redness/flushing or a warm color to improve tone. A concealer that provides better coverage may be needed as well and aim for one that you can continue to use to make it economical.


  • The best way to look good when you’re sick is from the inside. Follow your doctor’s orders or sound advice such as plenty of rest, water and juices, antioxidants and healthy foods as applicable.