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Cold and flu season is upon us. Ugh. Not only does being sick suck, but it can make us look less luminous than usual. Sure, that may sound vain — who cares what you look like when you can’t breathe through your nose — but for many of us, looking good helps us feel good. Plus, there are times when a cold isn’t enough to get you out of that important client meeting and you have to look presentable, right? So here are some easy tips for looking your best when you feel like crap.

Get Rid Of Puffy Eyes

When you’re stuffed up or just exhausted, your eyes can look puffy, making you look, well, sleepy and slightly out of it. Tackle puffy eyes first thing in the morning with an eye cream containing caffeine, which can help smooth out puffiness. Follow that eye cream by holding metal spoons you’ve put in the fridge for a few minutes over your eyes (place the backs of the spoons against your skin). Afterwards, apply moisturizer and your usual makeup. Don’t try to conceal puffiness by using a different coloured concealer. Contouring your under eye is never a good idea, but do apply highlighter to brow bones as mentioned above. Try: Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Caffeine Eye Roll On, $18.99, londondrugs.com

Hide Dark Eye Circles

Dark circles often go hand in hand with puffiness. Below the puffy bags? Racoon eyes. After moisturizing, use a concealer or even a full coverage foundation the same colour as your skin — not lighter or more yellow — to cover up dark circles. And apply it only to where the discolouration is then blend well using your fingertips or a makeup sponge. Try: M.A.C Select Cover Up, $19, maccosmetics.com

Conceal a Red Nose

‘Tis the season for Rudolph jokes and when your nose is chapped and red from wiping and blowing, those sticks and stones really sting. Treat that poor, sore nose with a soothing moisturizer. Once your moisturizer has set, follow with a thin coat of concealer where there’s lots of redness and add your usual foundation to smooth and blend. If your nose is really red, this is a great time to try a tinted concealer. One with a green tint will help bring down the red, but don’t forget to follow with a natural skin-toned foundation afterwards. Try: Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Restorative Serum, $62, pureandsimple.ca; NYX HD Concealer Wand in Green, $7.99, londondrugs.com

Brighten Pale Skin

Being sick can make you look pasty and pale. Don’t try to aggressively combat this by going crazy with blush and bronzer. You will look like a zombie who tried to contour like Kim Kardashian. And that’s not good. Use your usual foundation, which is probably a bit warmer than your current skin tone and follow with a cheerful — but not too bright — coral-toned blush. Apply it sparingly to the apples of your cheeks (find them by smiling, then apply blush to the round parts of cheeks that stand out). Then add the highlighter mentioned above and you’ll look brighter, more awake and healthier! Try: Clinique Cheek Pop in Peach Pop, $24, clinique.ca

Moisturize Dry Lips

Dry lips are a winter curse and they can get even worse when you’re sick and not drinking as much water as you should be. Use that humidifier and before bed, exfoliate lips by gently brushing with an old (but thoroughly washed) toothbrush. Apply a thick coat of lip balm before bed and then again in the morning, and your lips should be smooth enough to add lip gloss or lipstick before leaving the house. Try: The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Solid Lip Oil, $6, thebodyshop.ca

Calm Dry, Irritated Skin

You can’t just smear makeup over dry, itchy, red and irritated skin. The result will be scaly, peeling foundation and even more irritated skin. Before bed, apply a gentle (no anti-aging, exfoliating ingredients like retinol, aha, salicylic acid or glycolic acid, please) moisturizing serum and follow with a night cream. In the morning, use your usual day cream then apply makeup to what is now hopefully, less red, dewy-looking skin. Try: Pure and Simple Hydration Serum, $44.95, pureandsimple.ca; Clarins Gentle Care Night Cream, $71, clarins.ca

Use An Illuminator

Once you’ve tackled the issues listed above, and your complexion looks even, use an illuminator or highlighter, preferably in a cream or liquid to highlight your brow bones, cheekbones and the inner corners of your eyes. Apply it by patting gently with fingers or use a small brush for around the eyes and a wide, flat brush or makeup sponge to buff it into cheekbones. Follow with a coat of mascara and a shiny lip gloss. Try: Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer, $36, sephora.ca

Invest in a humidifier

Another cure-all tip: Get a humidifier and use it every night. Not only will it help clear up a stuffy nose and soothe a sore throat, it will also keep skin moisturized, soft and healthy looking. Try: Honeywell Medium Room Quietcare Cool Mist Humidifier, $69.99, canadiantire.ca