Sometimes that alarm clock goes off and you just want to cry, right? A randomly sleepless night, a tossing-and-turning-from-the-flu slumber, a tiny nocturnal human screaming for you every hour, or the fun one, an unexpected late night out. All of those things will make you feel like crap before your feet even hit the floor the next day. But duty calls, and you have to pull yourself out of bed. Swear as much as you want–you still have to do it.
Then you look in the mirror. Yikes! Puffy eyelids and undereyes, redness on your inner eyelids, dull looking skin, forehead lines the opposite of on fleek, and parched lips. Some coffee and a shower might help you feel less tired (at least temporarily), but what can you do about those visual signs of exhaustion?
That’s where I come in. Replace “tiny nocturnal human” with “4:42am call time,” and I’ve been there. As a business owner, I have to push through exhaustion like anyone else with a job or commitment. But as a makeup artist, I feel pressure to also look polished any time I’m in public. I can’t go to a job, meeting or other appointment looking like I only slept for three hours, even if I did.
So I’ve learned some beauty hacks to give the illusion that I am well rested and definitely not thinking about how comfortable my bed is every 15 minutes. So read on and get woke.
Ice, Ice Baby. When I wake up from a near-sleepless night, I am puffy. Not Sean Combs “Puffy,” but swollen puffy. My undereyes may be holding some baggage, but my eyelids are usually worse. And it doesn’t stop there. My whole face looks slightly swollen and trust me, these cheeks don’t need any extra help. Luckily, there is an easy fix for this one: an ice cube. I put one in a dish towel then press it over my face, starting from the forehead down. I press, hold for about four seconds, and move. For my lids, I hold the cube there for 20 seconds. This whole process takes maybe five minutes and it really works.
Stay Hydrated. Lack of sleep accentuates fine lines, and alcohol (if that was a factor in your reduced slumber) dehydrates the skin, which also brings out the lines. Rehydrating skin will blur those lines, so get to it. You’ll get a little help from a moisturizer alone, but layering hyaluronic acid under that is a better choice. For more on the miracle product that is HA, peep my blog post.
Exit the Dark Side. In most cases, dark undereye circles are blood vessels showing through the thin underye skin. When we are tired, our body produces more cortisol to help us feel awake. That increased cortisol causes bumped up blood flood, which makes the blood vessels expand, in turn making them more visible through that thin undereye skin. If you want to know how to minimize them, I’ve got a blog post for that too. On days when you are feeling especially vampire-y, stay away from purple tops and berry-toned lipsticks, as they will bring out the undereye darkness you are trying to hide.
You’re Blushing. When people are tired, they often look paler than their natural skintone. The easiest way to bring color back onto the face is blush. A little blush (soft pink for fair skin, brighter pink for medium and a reddish pink or red for dark skin) makes a world of difference on tired skin. I prefer a cream blush in this situation, because as we discussed, your skin is probably dull looking and/or dehydrated after sleep deprivation. Cream blush blends into skin more easily than powder, which can get patchy on dry or dehydrated skin. My favorite cream blushes are the Make Up For Ever HD Cream Blushes. Pat a small dot on the center of each cheek, blend with your fingers and watch two more hours of sleep magically appear on your face.
Hey, Bright Eyes! Eye drops may help with any bloodshot business you have going on, but makeup can hide the telltale red inner eyelids. Applying some off-white pencil to the waterline will cover the redness and instantly make your eyes look more awake. MAC keeps discontinuing the ones I like (R.I.P. Pale Yellow and Chromographic Pencil NC15/NW20), so I sadly don’t have a good personal recommendation for you right now as I had stockpiled some Chromographic Pencils a few years back. I’ve heard this one is good, and it’s cheaper than the MAC ones, so I’d go for it. I’ll be sure to post reviews of any new ones I try.
Shadowy Lady. If you don’t normally wear eyeshadow, I wouldn’t recommend starting that on a day you are exhausted and low on patience. But if you do normally wear eyeshadow, stay away from shimmery shadows if your lids are puffy, as that will only accentuate that. I also tend to avoid light matte shadows, as light colors highlight whatever area you put them on. I tend to do a light gray or mid-tone brown smokey-ish eye (I say it that way so you don’t think I’m doing some dramatic, heavy look) along with a shadow liner, as that seems to work best when my lids are puffy. The ice cube trick will usually take care of the puffyness, but sometimes I run out of time or am being lazy. Hey, I’m not perfect.
Lip Service. Dry lips go hand in hand with tired skin. A good lip balm like Glossier Balm Dotcom will bring some moisture back, so start there. As far as lip color, again, if you don’t normally wear any, this might not be the day to start. But if you do, something sheer or creamy will look and feel best. Hold off on the matte lip colors if your lips are dry, as matte formulations stick to dry patches, making them more obvious. Unless you’ve cancelled out all of the redness in your skin and waterlines and your eyes are not bloodshoot, I would avoid a red lip as that will bring out redness on the rest of your face. Much like with the blush, a lip color in the pink family will bring some color back onto your face and make you look more rested.
There are levels of tired you just can’t push through. But I’ve found that when I can hide the obvious signs of exhaustion with makeup, I feel a little less tired when I look in the mirror. It’s like tricking your brain, you know?
I hope you have lots of well-rested days in 2018, but when you don’t, you’ve got these tips to fall back on.
Have a beautiful day 🙂