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How to look less tired when you’re super short on sleep

I’m one of those people who like to sleep. I need a solid eight hours a night to be my best, and unfortunately as a full-time physician and mom of two, including a 4-month-old, that’s hard to come by!

I’m often lucky to get three straight hours of sleep. That means in the morning I don’t look my best. Luckily I’ve found a few beauty tricks that can save me a day of being asked, “do you feel OK?”

11 Steps

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

I really think being awake in the middle of the night sucks moisture out of my skin. The end result is that I look older, my skin is lackluster and any makeup that I apply isn’t even and sinks into fine lines. If you know that you’ll be having a long night, plan ahead with a super-hydrating night cream. If you forget, you can still apply a light layer of that night cream in the morning under your makeup.

Product recommendation:

Garnier Miracle Sleeping Cream Anti-Age + Anti-Fatigue Night Cream (Garnierusa, $17)

2. Caffeine is your friend

Under-eye bags are a dead giveaway that you didn’t get a good night of sleep. A good eye cream, especially if it contains caffeine, can decrease the puffiness and temporarily tighten the entire area.

Product recommendation:

Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller (Garnierusa, $13)

3. Color correction

Dark circles under your eyes? Don’t reach for your concealer first! Instead, grab a color corrector to neutralize the color of the bags. Colors that are opposites on the color wheel will cancel each other out. The bags are usually blue based, so using a peach or orange tone on them helps hide them! Use a peach if you have a light skin tone, or go for a more vivid orange tone if your skin tone is darker or your under-eye circles are more intense. Using a fingertip, lightly pat the corrector onto the discoloration only. Cover it up with foundation or concealer.

Product recommendations:

FACE Stockholm Corrector Kit (Facestockholm, $32)
NYX Color Correcting Palette (NYXcosmetics, $12)

4. Concealer with illumination

It is tempting to just reach for a heavy-duty concealer to cover up the effects of a long night, but you’ll likely just make yourself look worse! Start with the color correction, and then reach for a lightweight concealer with a bit of light diffusion. Because you’ve neutralized your under-eye circles, you no longer need the heavy coverage. The light shimmer in these products helps reflect light, making any imperfections less obvious.

When applying, don’t only apply to the half moon under your eye. Instead, create an upside-down triangle with the points at either corner of your eye and the tip as the side of your nose. Fill that entire area with concealer and blend it well up onto the side of your nose, the inner corner of your eye and up to your lash line.

Product recommendations:

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Highlighter (YSLbeautyus, $42)
Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer (Maybelline, $8)

5. Even more illumination

Illuminating doesn’t stop at your under-eye area! Depending upon your usual routine, rotate in an illuminating primer, foundation or finishing powder.

Product recommendations:

COVER FX Illuminating Primer (CoverFX, $38)
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Foundation (YSLbeautyus, $57)
Too Faced Candlelight Pressed Powder (Toofaced, $30)
e.l.f. Studio High Definition Undereye Setting Powder (Eyeslipsface, $3)

6. Brow lift

Filling in your eyebrows is probably not the first thing that you think of when you need to look more awake, but this small step will make you look much more polished and really opens up your eye area! Use a brow pencil lightly in your brow, and then follow it up with a little concealer or a brow highlighter right underneath. Blend with a fingertip.

Product recommendations:

NYX Eyebrow Push Up Bra (NYXcosmetics, $10)
It Cosmetics Your Brows But Better Pencil (Itcosmetics, $24)

7. Change your eyeliner

Instead of lining your upper and lower lash lines with the same black eyeliner that you usually reach for, reach for a brown liner and a smudge brush. The brown isn’t as harsh as the black, making it perfect for days that you aren’t looking your best. Line only your upper lash line, as close to the base of the lashes as you can, and smudge with the brush to soften the look. Your eyes will be emphasized, but you’ll avoid the midday eyeliner smudged under your eyes.

Product recommendations:

Sephora Pro Smudge Brush #11 (Sephora, $18)
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Damsel (Stillacosmetics, $20)

8. Lashes

Who doesn’t love long and lush eyelashes? Lightly curl your lashes and then apply a lengthening mascara with a wand that grabs every last lash. Your eyes will look larger and more open, helping you look much more awake.

Product recommendations:

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara (Toofaced, $23)
Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara (Charlottetilbury, $29)
CoverGirl LashBlast Volume (Covergirl, $8)

9. Open your eyes

Just when you think that you’ve finished your eyes, there’s one last step! A little highlighter to the inner corner of your eye will brighten your eyes and make them pop!

Product recommendations;

Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener (Smashbox, $20)
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer (RMSbeauty, $38)

10. A healthy flush

When I’ve been up most of the night, I am pale and washed out the next day. I need to add a bit of color to my skin, but going overboard will backfire and make me look even worse. I’ve found that a light pinky-peach blush with a touch of shimmer is perfect for my cheeks. I also grab a larger powder blush and will hit my forehead and down the center of my face. The larger brush means the color is much more subtle, but it makes a big difference in how awake I look.

Product recommendations:

It Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Palette (Itcosmetics, $38)
MAC Mineralize Blush in New Romance (MACcosmetics, $27)

11. A lippie with color

The morning after a rough night isn’t the time for that dark, vampy lipstick you’ve been wanting to try out, or for the nude lippie that is just barely darker than your own skin tone. Instead, reach for a lip color that is darker than your own lips, whether it is a pretty rosy tone or a bright statement pink. The punch of color will brighten up your face.

Product recommendations:

Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Carolina Coast (Burtsbees, $9)
NARS Lipstick in Schiap (Narscosmetics, $27)
Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Emily (Sephora, $19)

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