There are many reasons you might have had a long night last night. Perhaps you decided to stay until the house lights came up at the club. Maybe you were up late working on deadlines so you could dazzle your boss at the morning meeting. You may have little ones to look after, lost track of time binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix, or your mind kept replaying songs you hate or things you should’ve said to people all night long.
Whatever the reason you missed out on a good night’s sleep, when you need to appear fresh-faced and professional in the morning, it’s important to know how to look fresh after a long night.
You surely don’t want to look like the zombie you feel like inside when you arrive at work. Even if you were up late working rather than ordering another shot of something you never want to take a sip of ever again, you’d feel pretty self-conscious about looking weathered. And everyone will inevitably make annoying comments that will make you really long for being back under the covers in the safety of your bed.
Without proper sleep, it can show on your face. You get those puffy eyes and dark circles. Your skin looks dull and blah. It really takes a toll, even if it was just one night. And it only gets worse as you age. The choices you make in your wakeful hours have a major impact on how you’re going to look in the morning. Knowing that is the key to looking your best, but sometimes it just can’t be helped.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and read on to find out how to look fresh after that way-too-long night of yours. Experts say when you look good, you’ll feel better, at least somewhat, so keep reading to find out what you can do the next time you don’t get enough sleep!
1- Stay away from salty snakes
Pretzels with your beer at the bar, chips while watching movies on your sofa…all these things are a poor choice if you want to look good in the morning. Salt draws more fluid and will give you a bloated appearance.
If you must snack, snack smart with low-sodium alternatives and counter it with plenty of water. Especially if you’re having alcoholic beverages. You don’t need to be rip-roaring drunk to have that salty-bloaty look in the morning. Even a glass of wine or two can do you in if you don’t take proper precautions.
When your eyes are red and puffy, it’s usually caused by more inflammation or the decrease of circulation. The pooling of fluids in your cheeks and around the eyes can happen even if you were sound asleep, but is much, much worse when you’ve been up late. A jade roller, eye cream, and concealer can help but for the most part, rest will take care of major puffiness, dark circles, and red eyes.
Don’t forget to take off your makeup either. Neglecting to do so can enhance that puffiness and redness and even lead to infection. You could wind up with broken blood vessels and more redness that stays around over time.
If you must stay up late for projects or you just want to have a good time, be sure to keep those sodium-filled foods out of reach to help your face look its best in the morning.
2- Stay hydrated
One of the things most of us are very guilty of is not drinking enough water. Funny how you can make cocktails, beer, and wine disappear in a flash but drinking the water you need feels like a chore.
But even if you’re not out drinking, you should be making sure you down enough of that water every day. It’s the key to having clearer, more beautiful skin even on a well-rested day. It’s also the key to avoiding a hangover and looking like a hot mess the next day after going out.
For those wild nights, order a glass of water between every drink. And if you’re not drinking, be sure to keep water at your desk and sip it frequently to get in the proper amounts.
Carry on this practice in the morning too. One of the best ways to jumpstart your body for healthy function is to drink a glass of water in the morning. Set that coffee pot brewing and while you wait, chug your water. It’s not just to fuel your body with enough hydration but also to chase away water retention. Drinking more water may sound like the opposite to do in that situation, however more water flushes away those toxins that are making you puffy. It helps your body deliver blood and oxygen all around it to keep you looking and feeling healthy from head to toe.
3- Remember to sleep on your back
If you’re a back-sleeper, then there’s good news! Sleeping on your back is the best way to avoid stretching your skin for wrinkles on any given night. But on a late-night, it can make all the difference for circulation.
Experts say if you elevate your head with a pillow or two, it will help with the circulation of blood and your lymphatic system. This will keep puffiness away. Sleep position is just as important as the amount of sleep you get. If you’re a side or stomach sleeper, try retraining yourself to sleep on your back. Either of these positions can cause strain on that delicate under-eye area and make for dark circles.
As a bonus, sleeping on your back is also good for preventing wrinkles on your neck and décolleté too. In your youth, you might not think much of it, but as we age, this area can instantly give away our actual age, contrasting with all our best facial efforts to look ageless.
How do you train yourself to sleep on your back? Get a pillow meant for sleeping on your back. It will give you better head and neck support. Don’t forget to elevate your head and chest too to drain away fluids from the face for a puff-free face in the morning.
4- Stay away from allergens while sleeping
Allergens do us no favors, especially when we’ve got our faces buried in them or are wrapped up in them. You’ll wind up red and puffy, possibly itchy depending on the allergens in question.
Dust mites lurk in our bedding. If you think you’re sleeping alone, think again! Those things can aggravate your allergies while you sleep making for an unsightly morning. In addition to cleaning your bedding on the regular, perhaps make an investment in a hypoallergenic pillow as well as sheets and comforters that repel them.
Got pets? Snuggly as they may be, the dander from their fur might not be a bother until it’s in your face all night every night. In some locations, especially during certain seasons, sleeping with the windows open could be inviting these allergens right into your home.
The best course of action is to take stock of your bedroom and living arrangements with pets. Clean out anything that can trap allergens and use hypoallergenic items instead, to wake up looking more fresh-faced.
5- Get rid of puffiness and dark circles under your eyes
Should you decide to change mattresses, pillows, blankets, sheets, kick the pets out of your room, and all that jazz, that might not stop those puffy, raccoon eyes from coming on. Whatever the cause of a bad night’s sleep, you can pull a few tricks to ease out of looking like the lead in a horror movie.
Puffy eyes occur because of temporary swelling in the area. They can come from allergies, too much salt, too much alcohol, or lack of sleep from staying up too late reading to working to partying or simply because that song that annoyed you blaring at the supermarket somehow is on eternal repeat in your brainpan.
When fluid pools under your eyes, the area appears puffy. Because you’re horizontal when sleeping, that effect is much worse first thing in the morning. The trick is to remedy it so you can look more like usual fresh-faced self.
Apart from donning sunglasses indoors all day to hide it, you can take some of the puffiness away by applying tea bags submerged in cool water under your eyes. The tannic acid found naturally in tea helps your blood vessels constrict. This bit of science is handy to know because it keeps the fluid from leaking into your skin which is what creates that puffy look. Caffeine is a great one for reducing puffiness, often why it is included in eye creams.
Cooling products meanwhile reduce inflammation and encourage blood flow. While doing this will surely help, it’s just a temporary fix. You’ll want to work on the root cause of your puffy problems at the same time as concealing them to sort things out.
As a side note, you should be aware that your lack of sleep isn’t what’s making your eyes darker underneath. It just enhances what you have in the way of shadows there. Lack of sleep makes you appear more hollow-eyed and pale. To avoid that, get some sleep, but in the meantime, here are some more quick fixes for those puffy and dark eyes of yours!
– Cold compress
If you don’t have tea bags, use a cold compress. Simply apply it to your eyes for a good 10 minutes. This will only work if you have enough time to kick up your feet before work. And it’s probably wise to set an alarm. It’s so soothing you may just drift back off to sleep until your phone rings and your very angry boss is inquiring to your whereabouts on the other end of the line.
– Cucumber slices
We’ve all seen those skincare ads with women luxuriating with a mud mask on and cucumber slices over their eyes, smiling blissfully. Because cucumbers are composed of over 90% water, they are cool and refreshing and can be just what you need to perk your peepers up.
– Saline washes or sprays
If you think the problem might be allergy-related, use a rinse with a saline wash or spray to bring relief to your nasal congestion. When you’re congested, that whole area causes blood to pool in your capillaries and veins underneath your eyes which makes for a darkened appearance.
– Eye drops
Eye drops are a quintessential must-have for any woman that has to rise and shine. Over-the-counter varieties are easy to get and in seconds, can reveal clear and bright eyes.
– Warm compress
If you’ve been suffering from a lack of sleep and your under-eye area appears darkened, you should use a warm compress to shrink those agitated blood vessels. Ideally, doing this a few times a day will help but if you’ve got time in the morning, 10 minutes should suffice.
In addition to all these tips, or perhaps in lieu of them if you’re trying to get out the door fast, use your makeup stash. Concealer will help even out and brighten up the under-eye area. For eye makeup though, blue eyeliner on your inner upper lash line will brighten up your eyes. You can also use blue, white, or gray eyeshadow and black mascara to give the appearance of whiter eyes.
6- Take a shower
For the ultimate in a fresh-faced appearance the next morning, guzzle down 2 glasses of water. A little lemon in them can’t hurt either. That’s more vitamin C for your body and more flavor for your taste buds. After that, get in the shower with cold water (cool water if you just can’t take it). You’ll instantly pop awake and boost your blood circulation. It can have the visual effect of making you appear well-rested when you feel like you’re dying inside.
Buck up, little camper, because as you shower, you can promise your body that you’ll get to bed earlier tonight.
After the initial blast of cold water, you can warm yourself up at a normal temperature. Make use of your essentials, preferably those that have an invigorating fragrance that further brings you to a state of alertness. While it really might be tempting to skip the whole shower thing, you shouldn’t. It will really help oodles. Don’t forget to use your exfoliating scrubs on these types of mornings too. They can take dull skin and perk it right up.
7- Moisturize your skin to compensate the dehydration
After that shower, get right to moisturization. When you have a lack of sleep, even if it was for a noble cause, your skin becomes dehydrated. Over time, that creates wrinkles. One of the best ways to halt that from embedding into your deepest layers where wrinkles are born is to use moisturizer religiously, I’d recommend Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream (Amazon Link), the least to say is that with this stuff you’ll start seeing results after the first use.
With fresh hair and soft and hydrated skin, you’ll be more on your way to feeling like a human now. If you have the time, you can use a hydrating mask to finish the whole thing off. If you don’t have one, make time for one of the tips mentioned above.
And then again, there is makeup to save you from your own self-destructive ways…
8- A little makeup goes a long way
Too much makeup will result in a try-hard appearance. Not the look for any of us. Skipping it is even worse though because your skin may need some help to look even and dewy. Focus on hiding the imperfections rather than trying out ultra-stylish looks. Conceal the under eyes and any blemishes and focus on rounding out your skin tone with a natural look.
Makeup color is also really important. Warm-toned skin looks great with deep greens, ivory, brown, or orangish reds. Cool-toned skin does well with pink, purple, pure white, blue, or blue-green. Black eyeliner is not your friend this time around. It will just create dark shadows. And if you think your neutral palette will be helpful, think again. Neutrals simply enhance the darkness and create a sallow appearance.
If you want to look extra radiant, mix some foundation with illuminating cream. And instead of that black liner, trade it for something skin-toned on the waterline which will create a wide-eyed look.
9- Walk to work to fight exhaustion
Whatever has led you to a less than restful sleep, you might be surprised to learn that exercise can really help. Initially, it will be difficult to get moving. But if you make yourself exercise, you’ll find you feel better in 15 minutes. Fatigue can really be off-set by exercise. Try walking to work if possible. If not, park further away and walk to the building.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator and take breaks to walk around the office. That exercise will boost your circulation and have you feeling more human in no time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bit slow because you’re so tired. These movements make a significant impact on your energy levels and will help you survive the rest of the day until you can be reunited with your bed.
Lack of sleep can happen at any time. Whether it’s our own doing or something was disturbing our slumber (like the neighborhood cat caterwauling outside your window), it doesn’t make for a pretty presentation in the morning. With these tips and tricks though, you can hit the reset button on puffy, darkened, and tired eyes and come out of it looking well-rested.
Self-care is one of the most important parts of looking fresh-faced. If you aren’t making the best choices nightly, perhaps snarfing up lots of salty snacks and going out one too many nights during the week, make more time to nurture yourself. You might be young now but one day, you’ll find that the hands of time can be much crueler. What you do now and how you care for yourself can make a huge impact.
Hop in the shower, slap on some tea bags, apply that makeup, use essential oils that uplift and run (literally!) out the door. When you do and you get that blood pumping, you’ll be unstoppable until you encounter your bed tonight!