Makeup Artist Tips to See You Through Cold and Flu Season

Makeup Artist Tips to See You Through  Cold and Flu Season

Joy Fennell, a fashion and beauty makeup artist based in New York and founder of, knows that those in the throes of a cold or the flu can use makeup to help them look better (a little) even if they don’t feel better.

In a perfect world, those with even the slightest tickle in the throat would hit the chicken soup, take to their beds and stay there until the flu or cold have run its course. (Then again, in a perfect perfect world, colds and flu wouldn’t exist in the first place.)

We’ve all been next to that person – sore throat, runny nose, hacking cough, raging fever – at work, in a Lyft, on an airplane or picking up the kids from preschool. And sure enough, a few days after exposure, we start feeling the symptoms and lo and behold, we ourselves have turned into that person. What to do?

“The three health and beauty goals for us during flu season,” says Joy Fennell, “is to prevent exposing yourself to germs if you can, make the best of your situation if a bug does end up getting you and finally, doing everything you can to avoid spreading it to others.”

Cleaning up your act

“Professional makeup artists think about hygiene a lot,” says Joy, “because we have to. We work right up in a model or celebrity’s face which is prime contagion territory. Nobody wants to report in while they’re sick but sometimes they don’t have a choice. I’ve done makeup on plenty of models with a bad case of flu.”

Airborne (that is, sneezed or coughed out) cold and flu viruses can settle on hands and cling to surfaces. On the hands they stay infectious about 15 minutes to an hour whereas on a hard surface or door handle can stay alive for 24 hours.

Cold or flu prevention and response both require stringent hygiene (which you should be doing anyway) when it comes beauty tools, skincare routines, makeup application and your immediate environment.

- wash your hands multiple times a day
- wash your brushes with brush cleaner or alcohol once a week at least
- wash your sponges (or throw them out after a few uses) in hot water or in the washing machine
- launder your wash cloths in hot water after each use
- avoid using sponge tip applicators that come with palettes
- sterilize your sink, door handles and toothbrush handle with bleach or alcohol daily (biodegradable Bio-Pure™ alcohol wipes work quite well)
- clean your cosmetic products with makeup remover wipes daily or after use
- sterilize your phone with anti-bacterial or anti-virus wipes daily

Makeup in the face of flu

A cold or flu manifests on the face as extreme dryness, sallowness or ashiness, a red-rimmed nose and dark circles under the eyes. To minimize these, Joy takes them on individually.

Extreme dehydration – Make sure you moisturize thoroughly, always at night and even if you’re not going to be wearing makeup that day. Don’t hesitate to reapply every few hours if you’re not wearing makeup. A good trick with moisturizer is to put it on the face but only rub it on slightly. Even if it looks greasy, wait 10 minutes. The skin will absorb as much as it needs and that overly shiny look will most likely disappear. If there is any residue, you can gently remove it.

Red nose, undereye darkness – These call for concealer but not too much. The major concealer mistake people make is to put it on before you apply foundation when you should be putting it on after. Apply your foundation, give it about 5 minutes to set and then lightly apply concealer where needed. The goal is to lessen your cold’s skin symptoms, not eliminate them entirely (which is impossible. )

Sallow or ashy tone – Creating an even coat with your foundation which has been color matched to your healthy skin will eliminate the worst of it. Stay away from highlighter though when you’re ill because it could end up making you look even sicker. A light application of blush helps the skin look healthier too but don’t overdo it.

Color cosmetics – Fill in your brows as you always do. If your eyes are watering or you’re sneezing and coughing a lot, skip wearing mascara or eyeliner. Stick with a light, moisturizing lip color or balm. Dry lips tend to crack and don’t make the best base for bright or intense lipstick.

Mineral Air in the picture

“The beauty of Mineral Air foundation application with the AirMist Device is that you don’t use brushes or sponges and your hands never touch the product or your face. That’s a big hygiene plus right there,” Joy advises. “But you still should be cleaning your AirMist Device at least once a week any way to make it run better.

“Also,” Joy concludes, “the Four-in-One Foundation has enough soothing hyaluronic acid in it that you don’t have to hydrate your face before you use it. And because the formula already has concealer in it, you can skip that step too. It’s a double win-win.”

“Professional makeup artists think about hygiene a lot because we have to. We work right up in a model or celebrity’s face which is prime contagion territory.”


Joy Fennell
Fashion Beauty Makeup Artist

IG @thejoyinbeauty

Mineral Air




More Posts