En español | Does any of this sound familiar? You're stressed out; didn't sleep; binged on cookies, eggnog and caramel popcorn; and stayed up till 3 a.m. gift shopping online. You're so tired that walking the dog gives you jet lag. Maybe you're fighting a cold, too. Whatever the reason, the mirror is confirming red eyes; a puffy face; dry, dull splotchy skin; and an overall blah look. We've all been there, and it's inevitable we will be again. My prepare-and-repair tips can fake you awake and refreshed in no time.
1. Add an extra pillow ... in silk.
Any grown woman who binges on salty snacks, processed foods, carbs or alcohol knows her face and eyes will pay a puffy price by dawn. Snoozing on two pillows instead of one can minimize the resulting fluid retention. Silk pillowcases like the 100 Percent Pure Mulberry Silk Pillowcase ($20 and up, amazon.com) or SLPBaby Silk Pillowcase ($20 and up, amazon.com) not only help defy sleep creases (especially if you're a side or stomach snoozer), but also keep your blowout or do intact.
2. Mask overnight.
Get an extra dose of hydration with an overnight mask like Olay Masks Hydrating Overnight Gel Mask ($27, cvs.com), Laneige Lavender Water Sleeping Mask ($25, sephora.com) or L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Intensive Overnight Mask ($25, ulta.com) instead of your usual moisturizer. The creamy formula is amped with line-plumping humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin to give you a head start the next day — especially if combined with my pillow power tip. Be sure you remove all your makeup before applying the mask, and just rinse off in the morning. No worries: These creamy formulas really absorb, so that silk pillowcase stays pristine.
3. Chill in the a.m.
If puffiness persists, try cold therapy. Keep bags of frozen peas on standby. Press the pack to your face while you hit the snooze button for 10 more minutes. Cosmetic surgery patients do this at home to reduce swelling, but it works for us, too! It's the cold (not the veggies) that constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation, of course.
4. Deflate eyes with caffeine.
Fatigue, headaches and stress always show in our eyes. For a quick DIY, just place cool-brewed caffeinated tea bags on closed lids. The caffeine constricts blood vessels beneath the skin, and since it's an anti-inflammatory it soothes redness, too (you can actually do this along with the peas in tip No. 3). If this is an ongoing issue, keep a caffeinated eye gel/cream like Bliss Eye Do All Things Hydrating Eye Gel ($17, target.com), Julep So Awake Depuffing Gel Eye Cream ($22, target.com) or the Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream ($10, sephora.com) in the fridge. The combo of cold and caffeine provides a temporary solution to get you through anything looking bright-eyed.
5. Rely on a multitasking skin cream or oil.
This is not the time for complicated regimens or steps. It's trouble enough to work the Keurig and add water to oatmeal. Make your first choice a do-all — like Physicians Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Illuminating Argan Oil Touch of Gold ($17 cvs.com), Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré ($28, amazon.com) or Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream Intensive Creamy Oil ($28, sephora.com) — that brightens, smoothes, moisturizes and primes mature skin for makeup. The massage itself is soothing and helps ease tension lines. Use the cream on your hands to groom brows, smooth split ends and soften cuticles as you apply.
6. Fake healthy skin.
A just-back-from the gym/SoulCycle/brisk walk glow is what you want, and a CC Cream or tinted moisturizer will provide it. A full face of makeup and heavy coverage will only look masklike now. The key is choosing the closest match in skin tone with a dewy fresh finish. Brands with a more extensive shade range (between 12 and 20 skin tones) — like IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination with SPF 50+ ($39, sephora.com), Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($47, sephora.com) or BareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($32, sephora.com) — are worth the splurge. You just might make it your daily choice.
7. Choose a peach concealer.
The combo of thin skin and the slippage of underlying fat pads due to age make dark circles more visible. Unfortunately, they look even darker with fluid retention and lack of sleep. To simplify things, just know a warm orangey color counteracts blue or purple shadows better than a skin-tone shade. Choose a multishade palette with tints of peach, apricot, yellow, pink and melon like NYX Professional Makeup 3C Conceal Correct Contour Palette ($12, ulta.com), Milani Conceal + Perfect All-in-One Palette ($10, target.com) or Black Radiance True Complexion CC Palette ($8, target.com). Blend your own best peachy shade of camouflage to suit your individual complexion and degree of discoloration.
8. Add radiance to your makeup.
This is the moment to step it up with shimmer. Sounds like something mature faces wouldn't do, right? A touch of illuminator in a cream, liquid or drops — like L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer ($15, ulta.com), NYX Professional Makeup Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator ($8, ulta.com) or L.A. Girl Luminous Glow Skin Illuminating Cream ($7, ulta.com) — is a must. Simply mix a drop or dab with your plain moisturizer, skin oil, BB cream or tinted moisturizer for allover radiance, or apply as the final step by dabbing lightly on the tops of your cheek, bridge of your nose, inner eye and brow bones where skin is smooth. Choose a golden or bronze illuminator for darker skin tones, a pearly opalescent or champagne tone for lighter skin, and rose gold or golden for medium tones.
9. Grab your dry shampoo.
Keep your hair loose and tousled to look lively and animated, and to hide concerns like a greasy scalp and obvious roots. Pulling hair back — especially if it's too tight — or overstyling it until it's dead straight can exacerbate a fatigued look (so can limp dirty locks). A dry shampoo is your BFF here, but choose one that actually smells like freshly shower-washed hair (instead of last night's pina colada), is super light and has no residue — like Dove Refresh+ Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo ($7, cvs.com) or Aussie Clean Volume Sulfate-Free Dry Shampoo ($6, cvs.com). Blend at the waist, mist roots and run your hands through your hair, or just use your fingers as a rake to break up layers and tousle bangs.
10. Wear cheerful, vibrant clothes.
Remember that violet sweater you bought on sale? How about that bright pink blouse? Instead of jumping into your safe uniform of it-makes-me-look-slimmer black, reach for white, bright color and peppy prints to minimize a bad-day face. It sends an energetic attitude and makes you appear happy and approachable. Spritz on a light scent, too. Aside from having an elevating mood-boosting effect, it's the first and last impression you make to others.
11. Wide awake in five?
Here's my quickie on-the-go fix. Let's say you're already at work, a party or a restaurant when the “I look tired” hits. Grab an ice cube and head for the restroom. Rub the cube over your face — even right over makeup. It revs up circulation like a cold shower. Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with fresh water. Yawn to loosen up your jaw and relax facial muscles that exacerbate lines. Show more skin so it's not all about your face — unbutton your blouse or shirt to a V to display more neck and upper chest, roll up your sleeves to show forearms, or take off your jacket or cardigan and go sleeveless. Refresh your lipstick. Done!