Sleep deprivation has brought at least one new skill: disguise!  Over the last four years I ‘ve become pretty adept at finding tricks to hide tired eyes.

Last Spring, I was really struggling with the combination of a lack of sleep, pregnancy and working full-time. Yet one day when I walked into the staffroom, a colleague commented that I was looking much less tired. In fact, several people said I was looking ‘much more like myself.’ My great secret? I had taken a make-up class and had been putting the tips into practice.

Today I share my three steps to looking less tired:

Step One: damage limitation

Obviously, the best cure in the world for tired eyes is more sleep and better hydration. Whilst I do try my best to achieve these things, I find that life with kids  often thwarts those good intentions; more often than not lack of sleep is managed with caffeine (and cake). It may be a cheats method, but I find moisturising my skin is the next best thing in making me look a bit less puffy and a bit more alive!

I use Liz Earle ‘Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser’ each morning and evening, followed by her ‘Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer‘ ( both smell divine) but still favour Kiehl’s for moisturisers.

Step 1 to hide tired eyes

Before I put any make-up on in the morning, I put a little ‘Ultra Facial Moisturizer‘ all over my face. I find that this absorbs really well but a little goes a long way. I have the variety with an SPF 15 as I figure sun damage would only add to the tired-eyes look!

If I’m really feeling bad in the morning, I’ll also use a little ‘Creamy Eye Treatment‘. This is made with Avocado Oil and it is actually a little green – but I find it’s really soothing for the skin under the eyes that can get particularly dry when exhausted. I do without fail though use ‘Midnight Eye Recovery‘ at night time. It’s not as thick as the the Creamy Eye Treatment but it’s particularly nice after removing any make-up at the end of the day.

Step Two: concealing the pallor

Obviously, the mainstay of the ‘Zombified look’ is dark circles under the eyes, but I’ve also found that breakouts are inevitable. To combat this I initially use Benefit’s ‘Boi-ing Concealer.’ Anything with the tagline, ‘industrial strength concealer’ has got to go someway to camouflaging dark circles and minor blemishes. I find the medium shade blends perfectly with my skin and goes a long way to disguising the lack of sleep.

Step 2 to hide tired eyes

Beyond that I use Bare Minerals ‘Original SPF 15 Mineral Foundation.’ I really like how light this foundation is whilst giving really good coverage. It’s hard to tell when I’ve got it on and judging from my colleagues’ comments, it must look quite natural.

I started using Bare Minerals after my friend Olivia recommended it. Wjilst it isn’t always true that what works for one person, works for another, she is absolutely stunning so it was certainly keen to try out her tips!

Step Three: disguising a puffy face

Hiding tired eyes is only half the battle when concealing sleepless nights. I think by rights, one should look much thinner when tired but for me? Sod’s law applies and I just look puffier.

To deal with this, I learnt the basic rules of contouring and highlighting. This probably has made the biggest difference to my make-up routine and I am so glad I took a class. I know that this can get incredibly complex and my routine is very basic – but it works for me.

With MAC ‘ Mineralize Skinfinish’ , I use ‘Soft and Gentle‘ to add highlights to the high points of my face – think along the top of cheekbones. This is almost shimmery and adds a lot of light to these points. The idea is to create the illusion that these points are more prominent.

Step 3 to looking less tired

I then use ‘Dark Golden‘ which is about two shades darker than my usual foundation. This is matte rather than shimmery and helps to narrow in other points of my face. These points are different depending on your face shape but for me, I apply it below the cheek bones and around the jaw lines – areas that I would rather retreated elsewhere!

I know some people leave these unblended (not sure when) but I then go to town blending them in to be a little more subtle before adding my usual Bare Mineral’s blush. Even if I skip the highlighting and contouring (which is often when I’m rushing in the morning) – blusher helps to get some colour in my face and make me look a little less awful.

Sometimes of course this all fails and people still say I look exhausted. When that happens you just have to hope that they’re merciful and back their comments up with a large mug of coffee.

How about you? What are your favourite tips for dealing with a lack of sleep? Come join in the chat on the Edinburgh Life Facebook Page or just add a comment below!

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3 Steps to Hide Tired Eyes - Edinburgh Life with Kids


18 thoughts on “Style: 3 Steps to hide Tired Eyes”

  1. I wash my face in the morning with a citrus cleanser then put on moisterizer. For make-up I use the Bare minerals. I love the foundation. It doesn’t cake on to my face like liquids do. I also try to remember to moisterize at night but I am usually too tired to by then, lol! Visiting from #bloggerclubuk Facebook

    1. That’s exactly what I like about Bare minerals – never feel like I’m wearing a mask or something! And yes – removing my make up at night is usually the last thing I want to do, that’s why I need things that smell nice!

    1. I know you can go to product counters and get tips and make overs etc. but I always found them pushing products with claims like – this is so easy! – and then getting home to find the opposite. Taking a lesson (in natural light) was revolutionary for me. I repeat it every time I feel like I’m stuck in a rut or at a new ‘moment’ in my life e.g. just before my wedding, just before having baby 2… definitely worth the money – even in just saving money on useless products!

  2. I don’t get anywhere near enough sleep. I think genetics help, but concealer is definitely my go to. i’ve not got the hang of bare minerals but love it on top of my normal foundation as a powder!

  3. Such a lovely routine, I love how you share some of the products you use. I myself a fan of benefit concealer but lately, I’ve been grabbing my Collection concealer a lot. It gives me more of coverage.

  4. Hi Laura, when I am tired my skin looks dull and my dark circles are more obvious. I do find drinking plenty of water helps (I’ve use an app that reminds me to drink water and monitors the amount I drink, it’s wonderful!).

    I use something that sounds similar to your MAC ‘Mineralize Skinfinish’, it’s an illuminating cream by L’Oreal that you can dab on lightly before or after applying foundation and it just gives the skin a bit of brightness without being obvious.

    I also swear by The Body Shop’s ‘Lightening Touch’ under eye concealer, it’s light and does the trick.


    1. I’ll go look up the app! It’s definitely something I need to be a lot better at. Rely too much on tea/coffee and then end up gulping down glasses at the end of the day when I realise how thirsty I actually am!

  5. Ok, I must admit that I don’t get dark circles, but I have bags. Serious, like luggage sized bags under my eyes. I have to work at getting a bit more sleep. When I quit eating gluten the bags got smaller, almost gone, but lately I’ve been getting little sleep and so they are back full force. Luckily my glasses hide them for the most part! Loved the lesson, I’m going to look for these products, you are so much more knowledgeable than I. I’m still a zombie! LOL

    1. It’s really interesting about the effect of gluten – I feel ten times better when I ditch gluten and sugar. But I also LOVE those things so it’s really hard. I’m sure you’re over estimating your bags! But yes – glasses are my go to accessory if I’m really exhausted! haha.

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