Few things are more irritating than being told you look tired, especially when you aren't! "Allergies, aging, winter weather, and stress can all make you appear exhausted," says New York City physician and Women's Health contributor Keri Peterson, M.D. If you're looking sleepless, follow these tips for refreshing your face.
Under-eye bags crop up when you sleep too little or too much. "Lying down for more than eight hours can cause excess fluid to flow to your face, especially to your eye area," says Peterson.
Wake-up call: Pop an eye serum into the fridge for a few minutes (cold is a vasoconstrictor that calms swelling almost instantly), then gently swipe it directly onto the bags under your eyes; reapply throughout the day as needed to further reduce swelling. Try Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller ($13, at drugstores). When you hit the sack, elevate your head with an extra pillow to help minimize the fluid buildup that causes a.m. puffiness.
Seasonal allergies and sinus problems can both cause the blood vessels around your eyes to dilate, and the purplish hue they cast makes it look as if you pulled an all-nighter. Another culprit: aging. Loss of collagen thins the skin around the eyes, making blood vessels more visible, explains Helen Torok, M.D., a dermatologist in Ohio.
Wake-up call: An eye cream with caffeine constricts blood vessels, making dark circles less obvious, says Meghan O'Brien, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Pat a pea-size amount onto circles morning and night. Try L'Oreal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm Eye ($20, at drugstores). Then take those circles undercover by dabbing on a creamy concealer with your ring finger. "The shade should match your skin tone. If you go too light, the circles will be more prominent," warns makeup artist Laura Geller. Try Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($30, at Sephora).
Alcohol, caffeine, and stress are a beauty-busting trinity: They inhibit skin cells from turning over at a normal speed, leaving behind a layer of dead skin that can make your face look dull. And winter weather doesn't help: Biting winds and chilly temps cause even more dryness, and because dry skin doesn't reflect light, your complexion ends up looking sallow, says Torok.
Wake-up call: Morning and night, smooth on a moisturizer with alpha hydroxy acidsÃ¢â‚¬”it will hydrate your skin and slough away dead cells, says O'Brien. Then blend an illuminating primer onto your forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose before putting on a smidge of makeupÃ¢â‚¬”it will create a lit-from-within effect and prevent makeup from settling into fine lines, says Geller.
Finally, dab a pink cream blush onto the apples of your cheeks to impart a rosy, dewy glow. Try Urban Decay Afterglow Glide-On Cheek Tint in Quickie ($24, at Sephora).BLOODSHOT EYES
The main culprit is booze, which makes the blood vessels in your eyes dilate. But allergies (those again!), staring at a computer screen for hours (which reduces blinking), or wearing certain kinds of contact lenses that don't let your eyes breathe can also make you look party pooped. "When eyes are oxygen depleted, they pump extra blood to compensate, causing redness," says New York City optometrist Susan Resnick, O.D.
Wake-up call: Try dousing your peepers with eye drops a few times a day to help replace moisture and to keep yourself from rubbing your eyes (which only makes things worse), Resnick recommends. If you wear contacts, consider switching to oxygen-permeable lenses, such as Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus.
To neutralize your bloodshot inner lower lash lines, gently trace them with a bone-colored eye pencil. Try Tarte Emphaseyes Inner Rim Brightener ($18, tartecosmetics.com)Ã¢â‚¬”it has anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe and won't irritate eyes. Then line your upper lash lines with a navy eyeliner pencil on top of your usual black or brown. Geller says the hint of blue counteracts redness, making the whites of your eyes seem brighter. Try CoverGirl Exact Eye Lights Eye-Brightening Eyeliner in Radiant Sapphire ($7, at drugstores).