Did you have a little too much fun last night? Did you drink all the things? Or maybe you just stayed up late clicking through all of your ex-boyfriend’s Facebook photos and crying [author has never done either of these things]. Either way, your alarm just went off and you’re scared to look in the mirror, right? Well, you should be. You look like hell. But don’t worry! You can put things on your face to fool people into thinking you’re functional! [Note: I will be providing links to products so that you can buy them. They will probably mostly be to the same site, and that is because I am in an unhealthy one-sided relationship with Sephora. Seriously, baby, why don’t you return my calls?]
First off, get in the shower. You smell like cheap champagne and regret.
While you’re in there, take off all your smudged eye makeup with some good eye-friendly cleanser. I like Philosophy’s Purity. I’ve had my $32 16 oz. for over a year now, probably because I only use it in the shower. Solid investment. It’ll getcha squeaky clean in a gentle (chamomile-infused!) fashion, and it wins Best of Sephora every time for a reason.
Now you need to give yourself a good exfoliation to brighten up your complexion, increase circulation, and get rid of all those dead skin cells. Just because I’m obsessed with Kate Somerville’s ridiculously expensive Exfolikate doesn’t mean you have to be (seriously, Kate, $85 for 2 oz.? And can we take a second to talk about how .5 goes for $19, but 2 oz. is $85? Is it possible that you’re worse at math than I am?). It’s undeniably fantastic, with small grains and fruit enzymes that exfoliate chemically as well as physically (it’s supposed to tingle, but if it’s burning, wash it off and try the gentle version). I use it in the shower 2-3x a week. If you can’t part with the cash, good old St. Ives Apricot Scrub ($3) will do you just fine.
After your shower, moisturize immediately. Since alcohol/lack of sleep are drying, you’ll probably want something with even more hydration than usual to plump up your skin. My go-to when I’m feeling parched is Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminée ($58). Immediately quenches, has great antioxidants and natural stress-relieving botanicals, and smells delicious. However, I just started using a sample of Sephora’s (relatively new) Instant Moisturizer, which at $20 for 1.7 is much more wallet-friendly, and you get that same instant “hey look now I’m moisturized” feeling. I’ll probably pick some up when I’m done toothpaste-squeezing my sample.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your eyes are puffy. They just are. If you’re looking for a miracle worker, Dior Capture Totale Instant Eye Rescue Treatment ($95) is astonishing. I’ve seen this sucker take out the puffiest of eye bags in under a minute. You squeeze a bit of the magic energizing cream (Dior is pretty vague about product descriptions and ingredients, but I’m pretty sure it involves virgin blood) onto the perpetually-cool palladium tip and press/massage into your suborbital eye area. I swear this stuff is amazing. I’ve never owned it, personally, because I am not independently wealthy and nobody has ever seen fit to give me one for free (weird, right?). If you’re looking for a less expensive option, Clinique’s Depuffing Eye Serum ($28) has a nice little cooling rollerball, and you can even use it over makeup during the day to refresh (I’d say it’s “Like a 3 pm cup of coffee for your eyes!” but I am obviously above such things). Drugstore brands are always coming out with versions of these as well.
By the way, if you absolutely can’t wash your hair, dry shampoo is your best friend. I’m partial to the classic Pssssst!, which doesn’t leave a residue and smells delicious, and my friend Hilary — who has enviable hair and has tried ’em all — swears by Suave. Dry shampoo is also awesome for when you get a little overexcited with your styling lotion and end up being able to see your reflection in your hair.
I’m not going to go through all the usual makeup steps. You already know about primers, foundation, etc. Here are just a couple of products and some tips that’ll perk you up and make you look more human.
Touche Éclat, YSL ($40). I resisted this one for a long time. “Yeah, yeah, cult product, blah blah,” I thought. “I have a million highlighters, I have a million concealers, what could possibly be so great about this one? Plus, $40? Ouch.” And then I got a sample. Slight digression: I’m going to do a post on sampling services like Birchbox and Beauty Army very soon, but while I’m on the subject, let me just say that samples are your friend. They’ll help you discover products you’d never dreamed of trying, or items that seemed too expensive to bother with but upon sampling are actually your holy grail. They’re also handy for travel. I am also planning a post on how to get the most out of your department store counter experience (and I’ll probably throw some Sephora know-how in there, since I’ve worked for both types of retailers), and it will definitely involve some real talk on samples. Aaaanyway. Touche Éclat, annoyingly, lives up to the hype. It’s creamy yet lightweight, with enough coverage to replace your undereye concealer but not enough weight to call attention to fine lines. Plus it has the added bonus of a bit of artificial light in there to brighten you up. There’s a great selection of shades based on skin tone and undertones (BTW, my biggest advice for concealer is don’t go too light. The reverse raccoon does no one any favors; you may as well hang a sign around your neck that says HAHA NOW YOU CAN’T SEE MY DARK CIRCLES).
Also, guess what. They have one for dudes now, too. Progressive!
Smashbox Eye Beam Double-Ended Brightener ($24) has saved me on a few occasions. One side of the pencil is a highlighter, great for under the brow or in the inner corners of the eyes, but the other side is what’s truly useful — it’s for your inner rim/waterline. Covers the inevitable lack-of-sleep redness while brightening and opening up the whole eye. I also use this if I’ve been having allergies. Just be very, very careful when applying. Don’t do this one in the car.
Right now I’m really into this Crimson Cream Rouge cream blush/lip tint by Besame Cosmetics ($22). Don’t be scared by the color, just tap a tiny bit onto the apple of your cheeks and blend, and do the same for your lips. It’ll brighten you up with a subtle I-just-ate-a-popsicle flush. Cream blush has good staying power, and won’t make you look all powdery. The trick is to find a shade that’s bright enough to give you some pop, and to use it subtly.
Finally, my eye makeup trick. Drag a concealer pencil in your shade (I like Shiseido The Makeup Correcter Pencil, $18, because it’s a small pencil, rare in the mostly-chunky concealer pencil world) right along the bottom of your eye bags where that dark line is. You know the basic rule of shading — put something dark on your face and it’ll cause that area to recede, put something light on your face and it’ll bring it forward, right? Same principle applies here. You want to fill in that dark line of demarcation at the end of the puffiness. In the same vein, grab a brown shadow (Smashbox Waterproof Shadow Liners, $22, are nice and chunky, and live up to their name- you’ll need a real makeup remover to get that shit off. Just make sure you smudge immediately after it touches your skin or you’re stuck with a hard line FOREVER) and smudge it on the area you want to recede: the puffy part (line & smudge along your lashes, too, for balance). This trick is like magic, I swear. Brown tends to look the most natural, but you can switch it up if you like. Match the depth of the shade to your coloring- if you’re really fair, go easy with the espresso shades. If you’re a spaz, powder shadows are much easier to manipulate and more forgiving; use with a small short-bristled shadow brush.
Cheap, easy trick to look dewy and luminous? Pat a tiny bit of Vaseline along the tops of your cheekbones. Don’t forget your eyeliner/mascara/whatever you like to use. Finally, blot away some of your t-zone shine with blotting papers (rather than using powder, which can build up and be drying). My favorite is MAC Blot Film ($15). Toss these in your bag for a quick and easy go-to shine remover. People will look at you funny while you’re blotting, but that’s only because they’re jealous of your foresight.
Now fill up your water bottle and go find the greasiest breakfast in town. Got hangover/perk-me-up tips? Leave ’em in the comments!