Spring is coming: allergy-proof your makeup

Allergy-proof makeup

I have sort of mixed feelings about spring. On one hand, warm weather! Flowers! Trees! On the other hand – flowers. Trees. Ugh. About a gazillion people have problems with seasonal allergies, and so do I (in addition to the year-round ones). Aside from the obvious misery, it can make me look like a hot mess if I’m not careful. Through some trial and error I’ve found some tricks that help disguise my allergy-face, and also keep allergy symptoms from destroying all my hard work at the vanity.

The obvious first line of defense is to stomp as hard as you can on your allergy symptoms. Things like, start taking your allergy medicine when the season starts instead of waiting until you’re miserable. Or my favorite, remember to actually take your allergy medications at all – the doc probably prescribed them for a reason. I’ve also found that nasal irrigation – ie, Neti Pot – helps a lot. It’s kind of gross, in a fascinating way. You take a teapot-looking thing (the blue one in the picture above), tilt your head forward and to the side, pour a water/saline mix into your top nostril, and let it run out the other side. Clearly this should be done over a sink. It can help wash out mucus, but it also flushes out pollens and junk that lurk up in there. Showering at night also helps, since it washes out pollen in your hair.

Makeup’s biggest allergy enemy is runny or itchy eyes. Talk about destroying a look. It can take your eyes from Dita Von Teese to heroin chic in no time. I’ve had really good luck with Zaditor eyedrops though – once before work and once at lunch usually keeps my eyes under control. They’re available over the counter, and most stores also carry generic store-brand versions (look for ketotifen drops).

For those days when I wake up with red puffy eyes anyway, my favorite trick is still to wet a couple tea bags, put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes and then hold them over my eyes off and on for about 10 minutes. I’ve tried a ton of fancy eye potions, but none of them help nearly as much as a cold tea bag.

The products you pick are important this time of year; budge-proof eyeliner and waterproof mascara are a must. Lorac Front of the Line Pro is my favorite liquid liner for not moving, and Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eyeliner used with the LM Activator Fluid survives even my worst days. I still haven’t found a waterproof mascara that I’m totally in love with, so if you have suggestions let me know! A nude liner (my favorite: Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl in Nude) will help open up your eyes and hide those red rims. Another pro tip: instead of rubbing watery eyes, dab the corners with a tissue. That will irritate them less, and make it easier to avoid smearing your eye makeup.

As hard as the eyes have it, my nose gets pretty abused too. I haven’t found a fool-proof way to keep tissues from rubbing off the foundation around my nose, but it helps to touch the tissue to my skin as little as humanly possible – so just at the very edges. When it starts getting raw and chapped (and yes, that’s when, not if) a thin layer of Aquaphor holds the moisture in and keeps it from getting too painful. More moisture, of course, means less dry patchy foundation around your nose and mouth.

And finally, concealer is your friend. Embrace it. Not literally, the containers are too small, but you know what I mean. A green one will help correct redness, and a yellow or salmon-colored concealer can help hide dark undereye circles. My favorite green is Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Redness Reducing Concealer, and I’ve been using Benefit Erase Paste for my undereye corrector (though it is a bit prone to creasing).


What are your tips for looking great even when you feel like crap? Leave ’em in the comments for the rest of us!



  1. antigenabx

    March 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    For super waterproof mascara, UD cannonball is fantastic! It’s my absolute HG for maintaining my curl because it has such strong hold.

    1. Nikki

      March 17, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      Ooh, thank you! I’ve tried Supercurl and liked it, so I’ll have to test this one too.

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