As Seen on the Today Show: How To Look Less Tired in the Morning

As Seen on the Today Show: How To Look Less Tired in the Morning featured image
Maria Korneeva / Getty Images

No matter how many times we’re told about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Stress, alcohol, caffeine, Instagram scrolling, your inconsiderate and loud pet roommate or spouse—there are a myriad of factors that keep us from getting our solid eight hours. Besides feeling groggy and just plain cranky, a lack of shut-eye can have detrimental effects on our skin, too, not limited to just dark circles and under-eye bags.

As it turns out beauty sleep is a real thing. Ahead, see how senior editor-at-large Sarah Eggenberger discusses how a lack of sleep impacts your skin and—because sometimes a good night’s rest isn’t always on the agenda—ways to look well-rested even when you’re not.

Morning Rituals for Looking Less Tired When You Wake Up

Give your face an ice-water bath

Quite possibly the cheapest anti-puff tool on the market—it’s ice cubes and water after all—giving yourself an ice-water facial in the morning is a great way to beat those tired eyes and groggy faces. Hollywood legends like Joan Collins, Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor used to do ice water facials, so it’s safe to say it’s a tried-and-true method.

All you have to do is fill a bowl with water and ice, then submerge your full face in it for 20-30 seconds. When your skin interacts with super-cold temperatures, it causes the blood vessels beneath its surface to constrict. This reduces blood flow to that area, which decreases redness, swelling and puffiness. When your face returns to homeostasis (aka its normal temp) your capillaries will open back up and you’ll be left with a nice, refreshed-looking flush. Cold water helps give your face vitality and more color—it also enhances the brightness of your skin by getting the circulation going and literally waking up your skin.

Treat your eyes

Your eyes are the first place to show tiredness—they literally get smaller and more closed up as you tire, on top of developing dark shadows. Targeting them is a quick way to fight visible signs of fatigue, so a tried-and-true eye brightener is essential.

Touted as a temporary eyelift in a tube, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Bags ($40) forms a flexible adhesive film that compresses and depuffs while tightening and smoothing the undereye area in just 15 minutes. It also has a translucent finish that allows the creams burring effect to work on all skin type. 

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To fully harness its power, wait until all your other products have fully absorbed, then apply a pea-size amount per eye. Then, relax your face until the product is completely dry (it should take about 15 minutes)—you’ll literally feel the skin tighten and see the difference. Keep in mind, though, this product is intended to be a quick fix and should not replace other products in your skin-care routine and should be used to complement your eye care routine that features other ingredients, like peptides, niacinamide and retinol. IT’s Bye Bye Under Eye Bags is only intended for use during the day.

Under eye makeup is essential

If under-eye darkness is the demon that gives you away, clever concealing will help you to vanquish your enemy. When dealing with a color like deep purple or blue, it’s less about caking on the coverage and more about neutralizing tone. Depending on the exact shade you’re trying to tackle, you’ll need to look for a product that’s peachy to terracotta in undertone in order to color correct and conceal. In terms of application, dab concealer on lightly, building up as you need, rather than swiping on one big dollop that dries down to become a creased mess.

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The legacy of Rihanna’s beauty brand is built on ensuring that makeup-wearers with darker skin tones can find their perfect shade. The Fenty Brightener Concealer ($28) instantly hydrates, brightens, blurs and corrects, and just a drop delivers a fast, natural, no-makeup makeup effect with sheer to buildable coverage. The lightweight, serum-like texture smoothly melts into skin, feels comfortable, and leaves a flawless finish. Crease- humidity- and sweat-resistant, this long-wear formula conceals and counteracts dark circles to make eyes look fresh.

Wake up and illuminate the rest of your face

The oldest and possibly best trick in the book for perking up exhausted eyes is to trace a nude eyeliner along your waterline—it’s tried, tested and works. This will work for widening eyes and faking an even brighter finish, but be sure to color in the inner and outer corners of your eyes as well, as the added lightness will have an instant awakening effect around your eyes.

L’Oreal Nude Eye Pencil ($8) is a long-wearing, gel eyeliner pencil with intense color payoff, making it perfect for opening up tired eyes. The pointed eye tip easily glides on for a smooth application and the formula is waterproof, transfer proof and smudge-resistant. Its also ophthalmologist tested and safe for sensitive eyes.

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In addition to the eyes, face makeup plays a big part in looking more awake. To appear refreshed, keep makeup light with a dewier foundation, as a heavier base will accentuate tiredness, and remember to color-correct, not cake. Go lighter on the complexion products and concentrate on blush instead—it’s a sleight of hand that redirects attention away from the tired-eyes issue. Plus it signals that you did not wake up like that, and, in fact, have been alert and productive for hours.

Apply blush to both cheeks and the bridge of your nose, then blend together into a diffused “W” shape. If that seems like too much, an easier trick is to do your regular blush application and add whatever’s left on the brush or your fingertips to the tip of your nose.

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Patrick Ta’s Double Take Blush ($38) is endlessly blendable, buildable and made for layering, and this blush duo includes complimentary shades in two beautiful finishes. Tap into the hydration-boosting cream formula and apply onto the apples of your cheeks for a naturally dewy flush, or layer up with the featherweight powder for a bolder wash of soft-focus color. Together, the cream version gives the lit-from-within glow while the powder provides all day stay.

Curate a solid before-bed routine

Hydrate skin before you go to sleep

When the body-repair process is interfered with by broken sleep, anxiety or stress, the body produces cortisol, which in turn prevents your skin from producing hyaluronic acid, its natural hydrator. What all this means is that poor sleep can result in dry and dehydrated skin, leading to dullness and an impaired skin barrier. 

Applying Drunk Elephant F-Balm Waterfacial ($54) effectively rehydrates hungover, overly parched skin, making it soft and supple. Tiny beads loaded with vitamin F burst during application to deliver extra emollience and soothing hydration.

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Silicone face masks do not contain product of any kind, and are designed to be worn on top of skin-care products of your choosing then washed, stored away, and re-used infinitely. Many other sheet masks absorb a lot of the product itself whereas silicone masks aren’t able to absorb product, so you can be assured that your skin is actually getting the beauty boost it needs, and not the sheet mask itself.

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Recapture your glow by wrapping your face in total hydration with the Nurse Jamie Face Wrap ($30)—a non-adhesive mask made of ultra thin, medical-grade stretch silicone. Inspired by silicone scar treatment technology, Face Wrap is designed to adhere to the contours of the face thus locking in moisture and creating an intensive hydration climate. Simply use with your favorite creams or masks for better absorption and efficacy and after just one treatment, skin will appear less lined, more hydrated and refreshed, revealing a healthy glow.

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