8 Flawless Makeup Tricks to Help You Look Less Tired

Updated: Feb. 09, 2017

Freelance makeup artist and 'Reader's Digest' photo editor Emma Kapotes demonstrates how to fake well-rested skin for those days when your face gives away how few Z’s you got last night.

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Step 1: Start with a clean slate

This is especially important if you went to bed without washing your face last night and remnants of yesterday’s makeup are sticking around. A gentle cleanser is ideal, says Rich Campbell, who’s worked as a makeup artist for 25 years for brands like Origins, Dior, and Chanel, and is the director of education at Dermaflash. Follow up with your regular daily moisturizer. Here we used Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer. Hydrated skin perks you up because it naturally makes skin look more glow-y and vibrant. These are the morning habits of people with great skin.

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Step 2: Smooth on tinted moisturizer

“I like a natural look for summer,” says Campbell, who recommends grabbing a tinted moisturizer with a built-in SPF 30. (Note: if your regular moisturizer already has an SPF 30, it’s not necessary for the tinted moisturizer to have it as well. The key is that one of these provides sun protection.) “These blend in nicely and even your skin tone, leaving skin looking sun kissed,” he says. “In summer, a little illumination is a nice touch,” he says. We combined two different tinted products to give our model Taylor the perfect match for her skin tone: Benefit Cosmetics The Big Easy Liquid to Powder SPF Foundation in Light and bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream in Vanilla.

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Step 3: Target undereye circles

One of the key areas to focus on when you’re tired is your undereye bags. To prep the skin, use an eye cream to battle puffiness. Here we used Benefit Cosmetics Puff Off! eye gel to smooth out the skin texture. Next you will want to hide the appearance of dark circles. Take a concealer two shades lighter than your skin tone and apply this in a triangular shape under your eyes. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle is a great drugstore brand product that worked wonders here. Here are more tips to get rid of puffy eyes and dark circles.

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Step 4: Set your concealer

To prevent creasing and to keep your concealer in place all day, set this area with a loose setting powder. To set, apply a generous amount of powder with a brush or damp beauty blender and let it “bake” in for a few minutes. Here we used Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder to smooth out and brighten the undereye area. Once the powder has started to sink into the skin, take a brush and dust the remaining powder off.

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Step 5: Add color to eyes

Campbell is a fan of shimmery eye shadows to brighten up eyes—and he promises you won’t look like a disco ball. Swipe a goldy-pink or champagne color on lids, he says. Focusing this brightening shade on the inner corner makes the eye appear wider and more awake. We achieved this look by using the Tarte Tartlette in Bloom Clay palette. Finish the eyes by lining the water line with a nude liner, curling your lashes, and applying a volumizing mascara. Lastly, fill in your brows with whatever product works best for you. Here we used Benefit Cosmetics 3D Browtones Instant Color Highlights in Light/Medium.

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Step 6: Dip into bronzer

Dust on a bronzer that has—you guessed it—a subtle shimmer to it. Apply to areas that the sun naturally touches your face: apples of cheeks, tip of nose, and along your hairline. Use a light hand. “Bronzer should kiss your face—not look like a mask, which will backfire and make you appear dull and tired,” says Campbell. We created a sun-kissed look here by using Laura Mercier’s Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact in Bronze 04.

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Step 7: Add color to cheeks

Making your skin glow with a shimmery blush and highlight is key to faking well-rested, fresh skin. Dust a shimmery blush, like the Milani “baked” blush we used here in Luminoso, onto the apples of cheeks to add some color back into your face. Add highlighting powder to the tops of cheekbones, down the nose, across the cupid’s bow, and on the chin to enhance your skin’s appearance. Here we used Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Glow Kit in Gleam.

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Step 8: Bring focus to lips

Lastly, coat lips in a natural looking lip gloss/stain to add a nice, but subtle, pop of color without looking overdone. NARS Lip Gloss in Chelsea Girls is the perfect Pink Beige shade. The finished look gives the illusion of a well-awake, fresh face! Now, trick your brain into feeling more awake with these energizing tips for when you’re always tired.

For more makeup reviews and inspiration, follow our artist Emma Kapotes on Instagram @emma_kapotes_beauty.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest