Beauty Shortcuts for Sleep-Deprived Moments

Go from ravaged to radiant with these fast, simple tricks.
Published October 31, 2016


There are so many reasons you might wake up feeling like your head just hit the pillow: A particularly funny Late Show. A baby who needs you every 1.5 hours. A noisy next door neighbor. A husband who's all knees and elbows (ouch). Or an early-morning appointment with your neighborhood jog buddy.

While we can't deliver a good night's rest, we can make you look and feel like yourself again. We asked top beauty pros to share their speediest secrets for looking pretty when sleep — and time — is scarce.

Skin SOS 
Give me 50. Jumping jacks, that is, says dermatologist Ellen Marmur. "Skin gets shafted when we're fatigued," she says, explaining that when we skimp on sleep, our body goes into conservation mode, shifting vital resources away from the skin and giving them to priority organs like your heart and brain. Even just a few seconds of exercise is enough to bring blood flow to your skin, giving you a rosy flush, she explains.

Cool, then cleanse. After your micro-workout, hop in a skin-stimulating cool shower and wash your face with a niacinamide-containing cleanser. No time to shower? Hit the sink. Niacinamide dilates skin vessels and boosts skin repair, says Marmur. 

BB All You Can Be. "It's all about multi-tasking," says makeup artist Laura Geller. Your ultimate skin multitasker: the BB or CC Cream — foundation that offers light-but-buildable coverage, good-for-you ingredients (moisturizers, anti-agers and/or pigmentation-correctors), and a dose of SPF, says Geller. In other words, one dollop can replace several steps in what was once your usual morning routine. 

Makeup made easier 
Conceal correctly. To bring light to your complexion instantly, says makeup artist Mally Roncal. apply concealer to these key spots: the inner and outer corners of your eyes, underneath your eyes, the outer corners of your nose and the outer corners of your mouth. 

Brush up with mascara. When you're particularly bleary-eyed, simply slapping on some black mascara won't do the trick. Instead, try Roncal's "starburst" method: As you apply, stroke the wand toward the bridge of your nose — instead of toward the outer corners. Lashes stand up straighter, making eyes look more open.

Be a loud mouth. Swipe lips with a brightly-colored stain. Think fuchsia, says makeup artist Emily Kate Warren. The vibrant hue is enough to make you look more awake and also like you "tried," she says. 

Hair helpers 
Air-dry appropriately. Wash-and-wear hair is a necessity right now. To ensure it dries smooth but not lifeless, celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa says to apply a mousse that also contains leave-in conditioner (in a pinch, mix your own in the palm of your hand). "It will moisturize your hair and leave it feeling silky (not crunchy), while still adding volume," she says. 

Think beyond the pony. For simple polish, consider a low bun instead of a ponytail, says Gretta Monahan, style expert and author of Style and the Successful Girl. "It's a chic alternative that's just as easy." Gather your hair in a low pony and then twist it until it coils against your head into a bun, she says. Secure with a stretchy hair band. "Embellish with a sparkly pin or add a headband," says Monahan. "Or, make it a side bun every now and then to keep your look fresh."

Shorten your dry time. If you do have a few extra minutes, try what Monahan calls "the lazy girl's blowout," a trick she employed often after the birth of now almost three-year-old son (and still uses today). Blow dry just the face framing sections and let the rest air-dry. "This way, the bang and side areas are a bit more smooth and look polished when I [eventually] pulled my hair into a bun or pony," she says.