Pretty Sick: 5 Ways To Stop A Summer Cold From Screwing Up Your Beauty Game

You may feel like death warmed over, but that doesn’t mean you have to look like it.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to an engagement party with my best friend. We had a really great time, and both had hangovers the next day to prove it.

Unfortunately, my hangover didn’t go away. My throat got sore, my head stuffed up, and the next thing I knew, I was in the grips of the dreaded SUMMER COLD.

I spent the next week and a half sweating my skin off with a fever and coughing like I was trying to win an Oscar in Les Mis. I used two entire boxes of tissues and half a bottle of NyQuil, along with taking practically an entire pharmacy at four hour intervals.

Being sick, especially in the warmer weather, has the potential to really derail your beauty game and eff up your life by making you look like a hot sack of crap. As always, I’m not saying TEND TO YOUR LOOKS OVER HOW YOU ARE FEELING; there’s just not a lot I can say to make you less sick other than “Fluids, plenty of rest and take your medicine on time.”

But there IS a lot I can say about not allowing a summer cold to run roughshod all over your prettiness. Like with most things, the key is fixing little problems as they happen, rather than letting them turn into MASSIVE problems and then trying to fix those. As Ben Franklin--my Imaginary Historical Boyfriend--once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Because colds go away in a week, but those awful scaly bits beside your nose from blowing it too much LAST FOR AGES.


I may as well start with these jerks first, and I think we are all familiar with them. Especially since everyone’s allergies have been horrible this year and so we’re all reaching for tissues all the damn time.

The crappy news is, there’s no way to prevent your nose from getting sore. No, not even with those aloe vera tissues that are six times more expensive and feel like human skin.

I HAVE TRIED. My doctor recommended putting extra moisturiser around my nose, but that didn’t do anything except hurt when the skin started to get irritated.

The good news is, I’ve figured out a way to heal them up really quickly. First, though, I have to tell you a story about my dog.

Before I adopted Oliver, he’d been thrown out of a moving car onto a busy street. He had a terrible eye infection, a hurt front paw and his skin was flaking off under his fur from malnutrition and neglect. His eye and paw were fixed up at the shelter, and I got his skin situation under control with special shampoo, a good diet and frequent brushing... but there was still a little spot on his muzzle that was super dry, and nothing I did could fix it.

When I asked the vet about Oliver’s peely patch, she checked it out and determined it wasn’t anything more serious, then said “Do you know what Rosebud Salve is?”

I actually had a tub of it in my purse right at that second.

She told me to put a little dab of salve on the dry spot and it would help it heal up. I was skeptical, but I tried it... and it worked. Goodbye flaky skin, hello little handsome face!

Anyway. This time, when my nose started to get sore, I decided to give Rosebud Salve a try on my own face. I put it on mostly at night when I wasn’t blowing my nose as much, and it worked. I was nowhere near as scaly and gross as I normally am after a cold of this magnitude. I was totally healed up in three days, when usually I can count on a week of discomfort.

Check with your vet before you put Rosebud Salve on your pup; otherwise, give it a shot.


It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the OTC medicines that one can take to dry up a drippy nose will also dry up your skin. It happens every time I get sick, no matter how much water I drink, and I hate it. Isn’t it bad enough that I feel like hell--I also have to look like a dried-out sponge?

My mum has been using Keri Lotion for years. It’s the only thing she likes, but I usually find it too heavy for my face and stick to putting it on my legs and arms instead. But there’s nothing like it when you’re sick and dried out: I mixed a small blob of Keri Lotion in in with my usual moisturiser (CeraVe PM, my favourite moisturiser EVER) and smooshed it all over my face in between accidental sick-naps to help prevent crazy dryness.

If this were a different publication, the writer would now imply that she woke up from those naps with the perfect skin of a newborn babe, but THANK GOD I don’t have to lie to you guys. I woke up sweaty and fevered, but my face was way less flaky.

And now that I’m done taking medicine, I’m really glad that I treated the dryness before it became a gigantic problem. My skin was back to its normal, non-Orclike state in four days.


I hate Chapstick. No matter what it’s meant to smell like--cherry, vanilla, plain “unscented”--it ALWAYS smells like straight-up sausage grease to me, and it feels horrible on my mouth, which sucks when one has a cold, because the skin on your lips is practically the first thing to dehydrate and flake off. And Chapstick, no matter what I think of the formula, really does help your lips stay nice.

I bought a tube of Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy lip balm, and oh man, it saved my life.

It feels really soft and silky on my mouth, and it hydrated the skin rather than just perfuming and making it shiny. The smell--like lemons and sugar--is a bit strong, but when your nose is only working at half capacity, anything that isn’t that revolting sick-smell is GLORIOUS.

The only problem with it is that it’s expensive, so I’m not going to be throwing one of these casually into each of my bags to lose in cabs. It’s nice to have on hand, though.


I should say right off the bat that if you have a high fever for a couple of days: GO SEE A DOCTOR. I was running at about 100 for four days, which is crappy but not exactly an emergency for me, and oh man, I was trying everything in the world to break that fever. Cold shower? Nope. Sweating it out? Nope. Weird teas? Still nope. I was desperate.

So I turned to the internet, which almost always gives good advice, and banged in “HOW CAN I BREAK A FEVER PLEASE HELP ME.” One of the suggestions was to put Vicks VapoRub on the soles of your feet, then throw on socks and voila, reduced temperature. No crazier than anything else, I decided, so I found a pair of socks I didn’t mind ruining, globbed it on my feet and almost immediately fell asleep.

The bad news is, it didn’t break my fever. The good news is, my feet have never been this soft IN MY LIFE.

It was like waking up and finding that the Pedicure Fairies had been to my house. Even my little toes--which are basically nothing but giant calluses after years of dancing--were soft and pink like tiny freaking rosebuds.

This isn’t an everyday beauty treatment--menthol can dry out your skin if you use it a lot, so save this for special occasions. You probably won’t need to, though. I did this over a week ago and my feet STILL feel really nice. My feet NEVER feel nice, so I’m hailing it as a miracle.

This is BY FAR my favourite beauty discovery of 2013, and I know it’s only June, but it’s gonna take some beating.


Even though it’s not Rapunzel-length anymore, my hair is still thick and that makes washing it a bit of a chore. And what with being sick and having no energy--well, let’s just say that rinsing it in a cool shower, then falling asleep with a towel on my pillow, was the best that I could do for about a week.

It goes without saying that my hair had looked better. It was greasy and my scalp was dry and it was generally pretty gross. But life doesn’t stop just because one has a cold, and I did have to leave the house to walk my dog, pick up more medicine, run errands, do work stuff, etc. I’d rather not do that looking like something that lives under a log in the woods.

I didn’t even have the energy for a braid crown, guys. It was sad. So I figured: DISTRACTION. I pulled my hair into a messy, gross topknot and then did this:

This is how I did it.

I grabbed one of my square silk scarves, folded it into a triangle, then folded the triangle a few times so that I had a straight scarf about five inches wide.

I kept this straight across the back of my head, and tied a single knot at the front.

I made two loops and tied a bow. Then, with the little ends, I tied two more loops and made a littler bow.

Then I puffed my bows out until they looked how I wanted them to and set the entire thing at an angle.

Who’s going to be looking at my grease-slick hair when THIS glorious concoction is on my head?


How do you guys handle the ravaging effects of an unseasonal cold? Have you ever discovered an amazing beauty trick by accident? Do you have any other weird uses for VapoRub that I should know about? Who is your Imaginary Historical Boyfriend?