Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Look Great on Zero Sleep

Look bright-eyed and radiant, even if you haven't slept a wink

WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

Good Housekeeping Magazine Logo

Nothing takes the spring out of your step quite like being told, "You look tired" — especially when you're actually feeling well rested. "Dark circles, puffy eyes, and sallow skin can all telegraph fatigue," says Francesca Fusco, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. So we asked the beauty experts how best to address these tiredness hot spots. Read on for their wake-up tips for eyes, skin, and hair. Your friends will think you've just taken a 10-hour nap — or a 10-day vacation.

10 Ways to Fake 8 Hours of Sleep

  1. Revive Sleepy Skin
    The easiest way to refresh your complexion turns out to be fast — and free. "Simply splash cold water on your face," says Dr. Fusco. Coolness constricts blood vessels, giving your skin a smoother, more toned look. Try this while on the go: Tote an atomizer in your purse, such as Avène Thermal Spring Water ($7, drugstore.com).
  2. Seal the Deal
    Slather on a thick, occlusive moisturizer to lock the water into your skin. "With a face balm, any dryness and flakiness will disappear, and wrinkles will be less obvious," says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a Boston dermatologist. Try Vichy Aqualia Thermal Mineral Balm ($32, drugstores).
  3. Get Even
    If skin still looks lifeless, dip a washcloth in a mix of milk and ice cubes, wring out the cloth, and place it on your face for five minutes, then rinse. "The combination of the pH of the milk, plus the cold, makes this brightening," says Dr. Fusco. To reduce blotchiness, suck on an ice cube, she says. The top of the mouth contains nerves connected to the blood vessels in your face. By touching the nerves with ice, you are sending them a message to constrict (again, helping to even skin tone).
  4. Deflate Lids
    To counteract puffiness, choose an eye treatment containing a mix of peptides — some of the least irritating anti-aging ingredients — and caffeine, which has a diuretic effect. Try First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller ($24, Sephora). Stash it in the fridge before applying under eyes. "Coldness counters puffiness," says Elise Brisco, O.D., an optometrist in Los Angeles. Or, rest refrigerated 2nd Skin Moist Burn Pads ($8 for six, drugstore.com) on lids for five minutes. They're filled with a soothing gel that's 97 percent water.
  5. Go Lightly
    Skip heavy foundation or powder; it makes dull, sallow skin look even more mask-like. Instead, slather on a tinted moisturizer with SPF, suggests Sarah Lucero, global education director for Stila Cosmetics. It will even out any blotchiness while still letting skin show through. Try Wet n Wild Beauty Benefits Fresh Effects Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 ($10, Walmart). Apply a second layer or a touch of concealer over any still-apparent dark circles around the eyes.
  6. Open Wide
    "I always travel with an eyelash curler," says Emily Kate Warren, a New York City makeup artist. "It's the only thing that perks up my face when I'm sleep-deprived." Aim the curler as close to the lashline as possible and give a good 10-second squeeze. Then go over the outer lashes again. "I've had patients who think they need Latisse [the prescription eyelash growth product]," says Dr. Hirsch. "I show them how to curl their lashes, and they decide to skip it."
  7. Remember to Stretch
    To further enhance curl, apply two coats of lengthening mascara, adding a little more in the center above each eyeball for even longer-looking fringe. Try CoverGirl LashBlast Length Mascara ($7.49, drugstores).
  8. Blush Brightly
    Peach cream blush beats pink for a quick pick-me-up. "Peach tones brighten skin and take the focus away from dark undereye rings," says Lucero. "Cream formulas leave a slight dew on cheeks, like a 'flush of youth.' " Dab color on the apples of your cheeks, and blend well. You can also apply some to lips over balm for a soft hint of color. Try Sonia Kashuk Crème Blush in Petal ($10, Target).
  9. Shape Up
    Adding some deeper contour just below your blush can give definition to a puffy face. Sweep a powder bronzer or foundation one shade darker than your skin directly beneath your cheekbones. "You'll get an even more sculpted look by dabbing the same formula along the jawline and temples," Warren says. Then blend, blend, blend with a brush or sponge. The color should almost disappear.
  10. Give Locks New Life
    Revive slept-on strands without washing them by misting roots with a dry shampoo. Try KMS California Hairplay Makeover Spray ($17, kmscalifornia.com for salons). This rice powder–based aerosol absorbs oil and freshens hair. Briefly blast roots with a blow-dryer on high heat to loosen up the powder, says Kaycee Clark, international artistic director for KMS California. Then you can apply your favorite finishing styler to hair.

Brush up on Beauty

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site HONcode Seal AdChoices