We’ve all been there: You wake up the morning after a great night out, only to discover you feel like death warmed over as soon as you try to lift your head off the pillow. Crawling back under the covers isn’t an option — you have to be at work or a baby shower or some other event where your partying ways will be scorned.
Luckily, you more than likely have a few tricks in your makeup bag — not to mention your fridge — to look as polished and pretty as if you’d slept eight hours and drank only water. Here’s how to look, and feel, much better than you actually deserve to:
1. Spike your water
Alcohol dehydrates you, and that pounding head is the result of being parched. The first thing you should do is crawl your way to the kitchen and drink as much water as you can stand. Squeeze a little lemon in there, too, says Andrew Somjack, manager of The Better Health Store organic market in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Alcohol really deprives you of electrolytes — salt, magnesium and potassium are all minerals we need. A little bit of lemon can get you some antioxidants and electrolytes, and should in turn lead to a better glow on the skin,” he says.
2. Skip the coffee
It might seem absolutely impossible to get moving without that jolt, but caffeine is also dehydrating and can make you crash even harder once it wears off. Somjack suggests lower-caffeine options such as kombucha, guasai tea or green tea for a nice burst of energy that won’t leave you jittery.
3. Depuff your face
Bags and dark circles are the telltale signs of partying too hard — all that fluid pools in your face and can leave you looking like a panda. Here’s where you can put caffeine to good use: Freeze those green tea bags and apply to the eyes for 10 minutes, or even pop a couple of spoons in the freezer and then place them over the eye area. The cold contracts the blood vessels, shrinking eye bags and giving you a more rested appearance. If you’re really not squeamish, Tucks hemorrhoid pads are great at shrinking bags, says Kamaria McCullough, a makeup artist who has worked on feature films and national photo shoots.
4. Correct your complexion the right way
Your skin is almost certainly pretty lifeless looking, and if you have any tendency toward redness you’re probably also splotchy. McCullough suggests a beauty balm to cover any unevenness of tone. Stay away from the green primer to color-correct, though — “those can go left pretty quick,” she says.
5. Skip foundation
You want to look fresh and rested, says McCullough — while foundation or beauty balm evens the complexion it can also make everything look flat. Using blush and highlighter brings color, light and dimension to your face and lets you fake a little well-rested sparkle.
6. Make your eyes look bigger
Curl your lashes to give your eyes a more wide-open appearance, and don’t skip the mascara. A light wash of color on your lids can make you look fresher and more awake.
7. Use lipstick to your advantage
A warm pink or plum lipstick will play up your lips and liven up your complexion, McCullough says.
8. Use dry shampoo or make your own
If you woke up too late to wash and style your hair, a dry shampoo will absorb extra oil and freshen any lingering stale odors. It also provides a boost of volume, which helps your hair look freshly styled. No dry shampoo? Rub a little bit of cornstarch between your palms and rub it around your hairline, then brush out.
9. Finally, smile!
Hopefully the memories you made the night before are worth whatever pain you might feel the morning after. Try to focus on the good time you had and stride happily into the day. That, Somjack says, will do more for your looks than just about anything else. “So much of how people perceive the way we look is based on attitude,” he says. “If our mood is upbeat, cheery and bright, people will attach more attractiveness to us in their eyes. If you radiate a positive aura people will remember you as more beautiful.”