Exhaustion 101: How to Perk Up Your Face When You’re Tired

The last thing anyone wants to hear is that they “look tired.” Even if we’ve been up all night trying to meet a deadline or just couldn’t fall asleep, we don’t want to look it. Here are a few quick ways to perk up your face so you can avoid the “tired” comment and the whole I-haven’t-slept-in-a-week zombie look.

Must-have: We always keep Emergen-C on hand! Emergen-C variety pack, $10.69


Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Immediately upon waking, drink two big glasses of water. For an extra boost, drink an Emergen-C . Giving your body a boost of hydration and nutrition will immediately make you feel better.


Do 50 jumping jacks, jog in place, jump rope, dance around your room or do any sort of movement for at least 5 minutes to get your blood flowing. Circulation is key for waking your body and face up!

Cold Water ASAP

Next, splash your face with tons of iced water. Fill a bowl with ice water and soak a washcloth in it. Apply to your face, rinse, and repeat. Ice cold water will instantly help circulation and help reduce redness or swelling.

Check Your Eye Baggage

Puffy eyes and dark circles are tell-tale signs of exhaustion. Luckily there are plenty of DIY remedies to soothe tired, swollen eyes. After splashing your face with ice water, apply one of the following over your eyes for 10  minutes to help reduce darkness, puffiness, and eye redness:

  • A bag of frozen peas
  • Chilled cucumber slices
  • Chilled potato slices
  • Chilled caffeinated tea bags (black tea is best)
  • Homemade espresso eye pads (see recipe here)

And if you need a quicker, more convenient solution, we recommend prepacked individual eyemasks for reducing puffiness and giving an instantly “awake” look. You can find a huge selection of them online. Simply stick them in the freezer and apply when needed. We love Hitece’s Crystal 24K Gold Powder Gel Collagen Eye Masks Masks, $9. 

Prime Time

Next, apply a brightening primer to your entire face. When you’re exhausted you’ll notice that fine lines and wrinkles are magnified and you may appear more ashen. Brighten and smooth your face with a primer such as Benefit Cosmetics That Gal Brightening Face Primer, $26 or a brightening BB Cream.

Makeup Accordingly

Keep your makeup natural and soft, while defining the eyes with black mascara.
Keep your makeup natural and soft, while defining the eyes with black mascara.

Lastly, you’ll want to make your face look fresh and your eyes appear as open as possible. First, apply a soothing eyedrop such as Refresh Liquigel Eye Drops to relubricate tired eyes and reduce redness. If you have super bloodshot eyes or allergies try Opcon-A for instant redness reduction. However, use redness reducing drops sparingly as overuse can exacerbate the problem over time.

Next,  sparingly apply a brightening concealer on the inner undereye socket (where the eyebag indention is) and in the inner corners of eyes. Curl eyelashes and apply a few coats of black mascara. Line the lower lid and inner and outer corners of the upper eyes with a dark brown eyeliner, smudging any harsh lines. Groom brows and comb upward to enhance the arch and make eyes appear more open. Apply a soft peach-toned blush to cheeks. Skip heavy eyeshadow and dark lipstick. Also avoid overly shimmery white near eyes -contrary to popular belief it can make you look MORE tired! Finish lips with a natural lipstain and hint of gloss. Keep the look light and natural as pictured to the right.

By far our favorite palette for priming and concealing on the go is Benefit’s Confessions of a Concealaholic, $38. This little kit is a total lifesaver! It includes ‘That gal’, brightening face primer, ‘Erase Paste’ brightening concealer, ‘Boi-ing’ concealer for extra coverage, ‘Lemon Aid’ color correcting eyelid primer, and “Eye Bright” instant eye brigthener all in the a handy little box. It’s like a tired face rescue kit!

Our favorite tired face kit ever: Benefit’s Confessions of a Concealaholic, $38










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