What To Do With Your Face When Your Body Turns On You


If you're reading this, thank God! It means that I've survived my 72-hour bout with strep throat, and I've returned to my post as a member of the elite beauty press. Unless... I have not survived, and this story was published posthumously, In Memoriam. That be the case, feel free to post your memories and favorite things about me in the comments. "Great nose," "love of my life," "like an alternative-looking Ryan Reynolds, with a fun sense of humor"—I'm sure you will think of something.

Besides taking amoxicillin, self-pampering is one of the most important parts of being ill. Not only because viruses and infections do a number on your skin, but because illness, while ravaging your body, also annihilates your will to live. The anxiety of missing work, coupled with the helplessness of falling asleep every time you begin an episode of Mad Men, and then having to rewind because you missed key plot details, is emotionally exhausting. And then there's the physical toll! If you have strep throat, congratulations—you have wrapped up every flulike symptom into one tidy little package that you've also ingested by accident on a bus from Boston to New York.

But you're a winner, because despite all the pain and suffering and severed Mad Men plotlines, your body is literally forcing you to take a respite. Take it—it is a gift, albeit a weird one. Depending on what ails you, heed these suggestions:

For Fever: A Face Mist (And An Ice Pack)

The ice pack will feel sensational and the face mist is simply to give your deathbed a spa-like quality. Choose something luxurious but affordable, like Caudalie's Beauty Elixir. The combination of bitter orange, mint, and rosemary essential oils smells incredible, and because it's a mist, you can apply it as frequently as your faculties will allow.

For Headaches: A Mask You Can Sleep In

Headaches—or worse, migraines—are among the most hopeless of the symptoms: Until it passes, you are totally and hopelessly immobile. You can't even watch Mad Men to pass the time because it will only make it worse—although, speaking of things on Netflix, The Crown was basically made to play gently in the background while you drift in and out of slumber. Headaches are exactly why you keep Peter Thomas Roth's Cucumber Mask in the fridge. Rest, sweet baby. It will be over soon.

For Congestion: A Hot, Minty Shower

When I'm not curled up in the fetal position on my living room rug because my head pounds so much that I can't imagine getting up, I suffer from pretty frequent and disruptive seasonal allergy symptoms. There is maybe a two-day period every year where I am NOT congested, and then everything else is a wash. Mint helps clear everything up, so I like to run a hot shower and soak my body with Plant's Get Happy body wash, which is minty but also geranium-y. New to this regimen is Briogeo's Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, a tub of charcoal-infused goop that smells exactly like Thin Mints, and is a generally awesome weekly scalp treatment. It's my new favorite thing.

For Nausea: Acupressure And Maybe Stay Away From Products

This is assuming you don't have stomach flu, and are thus not hunched over your toilet trying to keep your small intestine from exiting your body. But if instead you're just camped out on the periphery of always being about to vomit, consider the acupressure point for nausea—right in the middle of your wrist where it meets the palm of your hand. Maybe also avoid the beauty stuff for now and focus on not throwing up. Close your eyes, deep breaths, wait for it to pass. It always passes. Trust me.

—Brennan Kilbane

Photographed by the author.