After months on end of a demanding job, family responsibilities, travel and just life, one day you realize that you look tired All. The. Time.It’s OK—you can easily fix this problem (first step: commit to a sleep schedule!). Your eyes are a dead giveaway, so focus your energy on getting them in bright-eyed shape and the rest will fall into place.We asked leading experts how to look fresh and awake when it may be the last thing you’re feeling. Here’s your complete plan to fake it until you can catch up on those zzz’s.Before Bed:Remove all eye makeupSure, we all know that leaving some traces of mascara and liner—or not cleansing at all—can make eyes look gunky and gross in the morning. But what you may not realize is that makeup residue can settle into the fine lines and folds of eyes overnight, drumming up redness and inflammation. By removing all traces of the day’s look, skin cells are able to more effectively replenish and recharge during the restorative sleep cycle. “Remove eye makeup by working from the outside corner of the eye for the most gentle approach, and be careful not to tug or stretch the skin,” advises Teresa Stenzel, Director of Education for Bioelements.Consider an antihistamineHave an important meeting in the morning? With a patient list that reads like a who’s who of early morning news show makers, Washington, D.C., dermatologist Tina Alster, M.D., preps big names for a bright wakeup with a non-sedative version of an antihistamine like Claritin or Zyrtec before bed. “Even if you don’t have allergies, it keeps swelling down and circulation moving, to prevent puffiness and dark circles in the morning,” she explains. And often, both symptoms can be a result of undiagnosed hay fever that becomes more common as we age, and is often triggered by polluted city air or a higher pollen count in the countryside, she adds.Use an AHA eye peelMoisture and natural acids are a bright eye’s best friends. “Fruit and lactic acids dissolve the ‘mortar’ or intercellular glue that holds dead skin cells together,” explains Stenzel. The process also stimulates microcirculation, which oxygenates skin and flushes toxins to reveal more luminous and young cells underneath. Try Bioelements Quick Refiner for Eyes, which blends lactic acid with alpha hydroxy acids plus botanicals to reduce inflammation and redness. Apply the “peel” two to three times weekly (your skin won’t visibly peel—it’s on a microscopic level) or whenever you need a boost for the next morning, and follow with your favorite moisturizing eye cream.
In the Morning:Use a cold spoon to wake eyesTry this trick that celebrity esthetician Kate Somerville’s A-list Hollywood clients swear by: Refrigerate a spoon overnight, or put it in a cup of ice to chill. Then using the curved backside, gently massage the under eye area in an outward motion. “The cold metal constricts blood vessels and moves fluid out from under the eye to immediately reduce puffiness,” explains Somerville.Apply eye creamUse your ring finger to tap on an antioxidant-rich hydrating treatment to keep the eye area dewy-looking. We like Kate Somerville Age Arrest Eye Cream that also boasts telomere technology to target wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness all day.
Brighten With Makeup:Conceal like a pro“Most concealers are designed to cover redness and breakouts, which means they tend to be too yellow to correct gray and brown under-eye darkness,” explains celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor. Instead, warm a concealer with peach undertones between your fingers and then tap onto the area for coverage that blends seamlessly into your skin. Try Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer, which is formulated with honey and fruit acid to cover, de-puff and brighten dark under-eye circles.
Reach for peachThe most refreshing eye makeup look is super simple, says celebrity makeup artist Julianne Kaye. Sweep a peach shadow from lid to brow bone to counteract blue undertones and redness. Then use a peachy pencil in the waterline to lighten the whites of eyes. Try Three Custom Color Specialists Bright Eye and Bushy Tailed, which pairs brightening shadow with the brand’s cult-favorite Light Clarifier Pencil for the inner rim. Avoid gray and plum shadow colors, says Sotomayor, which match and emphasize under-eye darkness.
Line naturallyIf you want more definition, “Fill in the lash line with dark brown liner,” suggests celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg. “You won’t be able to tell you’re even wearing makeup but your eyes will look open and awake.” Try NYC New York Color Show Time Velvet Eyeliner in Brown Black.
Define your lashesCurl lashes before applying mascara to open up the eye area. “Blue mascara will help make eyes look whiter,” says Greenberg. We like Pixi by Petra Lash Booster Mascara in Blackest Blue.
Illuminate your skinSweeping a glowing powder directly on skin or over foundation will enliven and awaken your eyes too, says Kaye. Try blending a velvety powder like Girlactik Beauty Face Glow to highlight the brow bone, inner corners of eyes and tops of cheekbones. The compact comes in Natural for fair to medium shades and Bronze for deeper skintones, and can also be dusted on the décolletage and shoulders when day turns into night.