The Great Pollen Season Face Rescue
10 ways to yeet your allergies and reclaim your reflection.
Just a quick note today to say hi, how are you, how are your allergies treating you? In Atlanta, we have arrived at what meme culture has popularized as “The Pollening” — a season of misery somewhere around March or April where from the clear blue skies falls the Devil’s dust. If your car is black, sorry, now it’s yellow. Oh, you wanted to open your windows and enjoy that nice 72-degree day? Great. The price is your lungs.
This time of year, I wake up every morning looking like I slept in a beehive: swollen, puffy, purple under-eyes, sore throat, the works. It’s so bad that I’ve debated sleeping in a mask.
Over the years, I’ve developed some survival tactics to combat the pollen and reclaim the angles of my face. Going through my little routine today, I thought I’d share them with you.
OTC medication. I had to try a few before I found what worked, and what works for me is Zyrtec. However! Zyrtec will mess with you if you’re on Wellbutrin or a handful of other things, so check with your doc because drug interactions are real. Also, sorry but chill on the booze when you’re taking this stuff. I’ll never forget being in New York in the spring, feeling fabulous, having lunch at Fred’s (RIP) with a friend, and ordering a Bloody Mary right after gulleting a Claritin D. Fast forward two hours later, walking through Central Park, holding onto my friend for dear life because my head felt like a helium balloon floating above my body.
Nuface. God, I love this thing. On the days when my face is droopy and swollen, those little zaps perk it right up. It works better with long-term use, but it 100% gives you a little instant lift too.
Eye patches. I keep ($3.50) under-eye masks in the fridge because cooling feels nice and helps bring down the puffiness. (Make sure you check the ingredients for caffeine, that’s what you want.) If things are really bad, like today, I’ll roll over the eye area (over the masks) and around my sinuses with a gold facial wand. By the way, I know they sell the gold wands on goop… but they’re expensive. All my love to GP, but I feel like she appreciates a responsible fiduciary, so Imma tell you: you can buy them on Amazon for like, 15 bucks.
Ice roller. IDK what random corner of the internet I stumbled into that influenced me to buy an ice roller, but I am so glad I did. On top of the fact that it legit de-puffs your visage and (when used properly) can help drain your lymph (roll it across your clavicle!) IT FEELS AMAZING. This lives in my freezer and is one of the best under $20 beauty purchases I’ve ever made. There is nothing more soothing first thing in the morning.
Clarins depuffing mask. This mask is always sold out at Sephora, and that’s because it works. It’s essentially a clay mask that pulls the moisture out of your face in about ten minutes, and every time I wipe it off I’m still stunned because rarely does a topical product perform this well. I took it off today, looked in the mirror, and said aloud to absolutely nobody but myself, “THERE SHE IS!” Because my jaw and my cheekbones actually revealed themselves. Just moisturize after.
Concealer. A good one. Applied liberally. I currently like Kosas’s creamy formula… just like everyone else on TikTok, including Hailey Bieber.
Eye drops. Drown me in Lumify. From red and crackly to Disney Princess eyeballs. But if I’m itchy, an anti-histamine eye drop.
Waterproof mascara. Because I rub my eyes all day long this time of year. The best I’ve found is this one from the drugstore, which you can also grab on Amazon. Just buy a fresh tube every couple of months, because it can dry out and flake into your eyes when the formula gets old inside the tube.
Aquaphor. For lips, yes, but more importantly, for inside the nostrils. That might sound weird, but it helps soothe and protect that raw skin when you’re sniffly and blowing your nose more than usual. Plus, it stays put.
Air purifier. I have a Dyson Purecool fan/purifier combo that runs 24/7 this time of year, and I am diligent about switching the filter out: not only is there pollen to contend with here but also dust, pet dander, and golden retriever hair. Nighttime is especially important — if I forget to switch it on before bed, I sincerely pay for it the next day. I also love the cool air circulation from the fan, it’s gentler than a ceiling fan or A/C, and the white noise it makes helps me drift off. It’s an investment, but for allergy sufferers, one I believe is worth the pennies.
Godspeed, friends. May you survive and conquer The Pollening. Got any allergy season survival tips of your own? DM me on IG.