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How to Banish Tired Skin—Including Telltale Puffy Eyes

Looking wide awake is a lot easier said than done. And who has time for a full eight hours of shuteye these days anyway? The answer: not too many of us. But, that’s not to say that all hope is lost. When you wake up feeling like your battery is running low before you even get going or you catch your reflection in the mirror and realize that you are under eyes are darker than usual, remember these beauty-boosting game changers. Never forget your skincare—if your skin is glowing, you’ll appear healthier and more well-rested, even when it feels like you haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. Keep an eye out for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and cooling, gel formulas that will help perk you up immediately upon application.

Arguably the best piece of advice is that less is more when it comes to makeup. You may think that going in with a heavy hand of concealer or foundation can help spackle and hide redness and dark spots…wrong. Too much coverage can actually call attention to such areas, so stick to lightweight formulas and subtle touches. While you’re at it, play up your features with dewy textures that catch the light and enhance your skin’s natural radiance. Think: on the high points of your face like your cheekbones and even on lids and the inner corners of your eyes, too. Skip dark eyeliner and opt for a few swipes of mascara instead. If you’re feeling adventurous or want to distract from any redness in or around your eye, go for a blue mascara—it has a brightening effect. So, next time your alarm blares in the morning and you’re begging for just five more minutes, go ahead and hit the snooze button because you have these time-saving, fake-awake tips on your side.

Step 1: Brighten
Waking up to refreshed skin after eight-ish hours of uninterrupted sleep is what dreams are made of. But because life often gets in the way, we’ve come up with a few go-to tricks to help liven up sluggish skin on rough mornings. First, reach for a gentle face scrub instead of your regular cleanser. The physical sensation of buffing will help wake your senses and slough off dead skin cells so the skin will automatically look healthier. Try Clark’s Botanicals Dual Charcoal Detox ($58; clarksbotanicals.com), which has charcoal powder, fruit extracts, and ginger extract to brighten blah skin. Massage it onto damp skin, then leave it on for a few minutes while you brush your teeth. Rinse with cool water (if you weren’t up yet, now you are), then apply a peptide-packed serum to help plump skin. We like Dr. Jart Peptidin Radiance Serum ($48; sephora.com), which contains eight peptides and peach-flower extract for a quick recharge—even when your battery is drained.

Step 2: Depuff
Make your serum work even better with this one-minute DIY facial massage. In addition to feeling good (ahhh), manipulating your skin with your hands helps rev up blood flow, resulting in a rosy flush. It also helps improve circulation and flushes out excess fluids so you won’t look as puffy—especially helpful after a salty dinner or late-night drinks. Apply a few pumps of serum to your hands, then rub them together. Press your fingers between your brows and slide them up your forehead, repeating a few times. Then, using your fingertips, massage from the center of your face, past your cheeks, and toward your ears. Drop one level lower and repeat the same motion across your jawline.

Step 3: Enhance
When you look tired, your gut reaction might be to do a full face of makeup. But makeup artists advise against it, suggesting a less-is-more approach because piling makeup on dehydrated skin can emphasize pores and lines. Apply a tinted moisturizer with light-reflecting particles, since adding a sheen will make you look more alive. Try It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Illuminating SPF 50+ ($38; ulta.com). Instead of highlighter, which can settle in lines, press a light-catching balm like Chanel Baume Essentiel in Transparent ($45; chanel.com) onto cheekbones. It’s what the model is wearing in these photos.

Step 1: Soothe
Lack of sleep and genetics can contribute to dark circles and puffy under eyes, but we’ve got a few solutions for you to keep up your sleeve. Chill four spoons in your fridge for 15 minutes, then place the round sides of the spoons under your eyes until the metal warms up. If you want to upgrade from spoons (treat yourself!), consider investing in an ice roller, a stainless-steel roller your house in the freezer until you want to roll it over your skin and under your eyes to temporarily depuff. Try StackedSkincare Ice Roller ($30; amazon.com). Or slick on cooling eye-gel patches instead. We like Milk Makeup Cooling Water Eye Patches ($22 for six pairs; sephora.com). They’re infused with caffeine to help decrease puffiness and aloe to calm stressed skin, making them the perfect prep step before applying makeup. Finish by tapping on hydrating eye cream (use your ring finger, the weakest, to avoid tugging the delicate skin around your eyes). Try Alpine Beauty PlantGenius Line-Filling Eye Balm ($62; alpynbeauty.com), which has vitamin C to brighten, algae to tighten, and mica to blur imperfections and fill in fine lines short-term.

Step 2: Conceal
While you aim to clock more shut-eye and drink more water, a great concealer, applied correctly, will help you fake it until you make it. Apply concealer after tinted moisturizer—options are endless, but liquid concealer formulas tend to work best on the thin skin around the eyes. A general rule of thumb: Use a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your base to help brighten skin. If you’re aiming to hide blueish undereye circles, go for a yellow-toned concealer. If you have brown or red discoloration under your eyes, opt for a peachy-based one. Using your fingers or a brush, apply the product in a semicircle, starting along the inner corners and working your way to the outer ones. Be sure to hit the hollow part (the tear trough) that sinks in—that’s where a natural shadow is a cast, so adding some brightness will help cancel out the darkness and depth. Then blend; fingers work well since they add warmth that helps the concealer melt into the skin. We like Armani Power Fabric High Coverage Stretchable Concealer ($64; giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com). After applying, go back over the concealer with your fingertips to remove excess product, which will prevent it from settling into lines. For an extra brightening shot, dust on a bit of soft-focus setting powder. A good one: Lawless Brightening Translucent Talc-Free Loose Setting Powder ($36; sephora.com).

Step 3: Highlight
Using the same Chanel stick (from above), dab a dot in the inner corners of your eyes and over your lids for a little lift. Finish with mascara (a blue shade can make your eyes look brighter) and go win the day.

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