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7 Ways to Impersonate a Morning Person

Look great on four hours of sleep

Look Great on 4 Hours’ Sleep

Neo Vision/Getty Images

Not only are we sleepless in Seattle, we're snoozeless all over the country.

When a 50+ woman claims she "slept like a log," I always want to fire back, "You lie like a dog!"

Why? Because I happen to know better: Not only are we sleepless in Seattle, we're snoozeless all over the country.

And no matter which of these culprits you choose to blame …

… the effects, glaringly evident in the morning mirror, are always the same:

  • puffy eyes
  • bloodshot eyes
  • undereye circles that would make a bloodhound jealous
  • dull, dry skin
  • flat, crumpled or frizz-bombed hair

So for those of you (by which I mean "all of us") who can no longer leap out of bed looking freshly pulled together at zero-dark-30, here are seven ways to rise and shine.

  1. Set your alarm — and obey it. No more mashing the snooze button, people! To force yourself out of bed to shut the darn thing off, try placing your alarm across the room. And even if you feel like a zombie when you reach it, take a cold shower for 30 seconds, then switch to warm water while you suds up and rinse. Finish the cycle with another 30-second cascade of cold. You'll pull aside the shower curtain with your senses atingle, your sleep-creased face miraculously smooth and the mental fog banished from your brain. If none of that works, schedule an early-morning phone call or meeting — the obligation to show up on time makes type-A personalities (guilty as charged!) spring from the sheets.
  2. Energize your circulation to get glowing. If you'd rather shower at night, spend some wake-up time giving your complexion a fresher, healthier look. You could try a cleansing scrub or a sonic exfoliating brush with a cleanser to rev things up, then spend a minute or two jumping rope or doing good old-fashioned jumping jacks to deflate bloating and puffiness. Cross-training your face and body this way — even if only briefly — supplies an instant energy boost.
  3. Mask your intentions. To replace day moisturizer when you look tired, apply an intensive overnight treatment or mask with a high percentage of hyaluronic acid — a moisture magnet that plumps lines — as soon as you get up in the morning, then let it sink in as you prepare and eat breakfast. After about 10 minutes, wipe off the excess with a tissue. Finally, blend the residue into your skin as a superhydrating primer.
  4. Let your eyes have it. Use eyedrops to remove redness and lubricate dry eyes, which can make you look more alert. Dab on some of that secret stash of eye cream with caffeine we all know you keep in your fridge — it's a vasoconstrictor (an agent that narrows blood vessels), which reduces swelling and helps to lighten up those dark circles. A well-known homemade remedy — cooled, steeped, caffeinated tea bags, applied on close eyelids — works, too, but in a more subtle way.
  5. Wake up to makeup. Remember this old tagline? "Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's Maybelline." After 50, it's definitely Maybelline. First, rim your lower-lid waterline (just inside the lashes) with a white or nude eye pencil to get the red out, then add a smudgeproof black or navy mascara, yielding a clean, wide-awake look. Now it's time for your fast-fix move: Do a bold lip in red, rose, berry or tomato, or produce a clean, defined eye using a dark gel pencil at the lashline of the upper lids.
  6. Frame your lovely mug. Section off your bangs or any face-framing pieces with a comb over the sink, then quickly blow-dry them. You're redoing only crucial spots here, but the five minutes invested will freshen your look without a big-deal styling session. No time for that either? Just wear your boldest sunglasses as a hairband to control layers and bangs gone awry overnight.
  7. Wear white from the waist up. Anything from a simple cotton T-shirt to a crisp button-down shirt to a draped jersey top will clarify anyone's skin tone. This move lights up the face, erasing any blotchy or ashy undertones that might betray your true lack of zzz's.

For more beauty and style tips for women 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup and AARP's new Beauty & Style digital magazine, which is available for tablet.


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