How to Look Less Tired, According to a Dermatologist and Makeup Artist

Dark circles? Puffy eyes? A dull complexion? There’s no remedy quite like a good night’s sleep to ward off dark under-eye circles and prevent us from looking dog-tired. But let’s be honest: Between life’s stresses, late nights binge-watching, work deadlines, or juggling kids, getting a full eight hour of Z’s is not always a reality—and that’s where a few helpful skincare and makeup tips and tricks can come in very handy to de-puff, brighten up a lackluster complexion and pep up tired eyes.

As someone who works full-time, has an energetic two-year-old toddler and is currently five months pregnant (waking up regularly at night), it’s safe to say I’m pretty darn tired, and unfortunately, my skin is showing it. For some skin-saving advice, I tapped into board-certified dermatologist Adeline Kikam,DO, MS, FAAD and celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek to share some of their expert tips and product recommendations for looking less tired and achieving a brighter look. Keep scrolling so that no one will guess your sleep-deprived again.

“There is nothing that says you are tired and sleep-deprived like puffy eye bags from temporary fluid build-up under the eyes. A little gentle massage with your pinky finger and a rich eye cream can improve lymphatic circulation to decongest and reduce puffiness. I like eye creams with caffeine to constrict blood vessels beneath the skin, temporarily decreasing puffiness, such as Ole Henriksen Wrinkle Blur Bakuchiol Eye Gel Creme—an ultra-moisturizing gentle eye cream with retinol alternative, Bakuchiol, along with peptides to depuff and rejuvenate tired-looking under-eyes.”

“Dark under-eye circles like puffy eyes are also a giveaway when it comes to a tired-looking appearance. The two often present together as eye puffiness and can result in dark under-eye circles from blood pulling in the area and giving off a dark-to purple tinge. Also, constant inflammation from allergies and skin irritation to delicate under-eye skin can lead to hyperpigmentation.

“Use concealer to instantly mask the appearance of dark under-eye circles or even better try eye creams with bakuchiol, to plump skin and improve hyperpigmentation to under-eyes.”

“Exhaustion and lack of sleep can lead to a dull complexion leaving you looking tired. I love Clarin’s Double Serum with turmeric to firm, smooth, and give dull tired-looking skin a radiance boost.”

“Dehydrated skin tends to be crepey looking and likely to show more fine lines and wrinkles which not only makes us look tired but aged out as well. Restoring hydration to skin with hyaluronic acid serums plumps and firms the skin, improving the appearance of lines and wrinkles for a less tired and more youthful look. I like Farmacy’s Filling Good Hyaluronic Acid Plumping Serum. It’s a lightweight, hydrating serum with collagen peptides that smoothes skin, adding bounce and life to it.”

“There is nothing that brings life to your overall look like a bright lipstick. A well-moisturized bare face with a pop of lip color is effortless glam to me. It’s playful, fun and not much is required as far as technique so even makeup challenged busy dermatologists like me can partake. I love bright reds and rusty orange colors such as Outloud from Smashbox.”

 “I love to always do a hydrating serum prior to any makeup or skincare prep. By using a serum, the skin appears plumper and much more hydrated and gives skin a more awake, glowing, and youthful appearance. I love Catrice’s Glow Beautifying Face Oil.”

“Using a concealer is a must for looking more awake and rested. Using concealer in the tear-duct area immediately makes the eyes look less tired and neutralizes any purple or blue tones. Depending on application or how much time you want to spend, just applying in the tear ducts area can make you appear as though you had eight hours of sleep. Many times I won’t go ultra-full coverage everywhere around the eye area, I’ll just go in with concealer using sparingly around that inner corner area. 

“I also love layering two shades, a peachy-toned concealer to cancel out purple and blue then a yellow-toned concealer to brighten. I’m loving Catrice’s Liquid Camouflage High Coverage Concealer.”

“Blush is another must-have for looking less tired. Using blush properly lifts the cheeks, adds warmth to the skin, and makes the entire face look alive. I even love using blush over eye shadow to blend out eye shadow application and seamlessly blend the colors together. Blush is one item I never skip out on with my clients. 

“I love a blush that has luminosity and a glowing effect as well. My favorite is Catrice’s Blush Box Glowing Multi-Color Blush in shades La Dolce Vita and It’s Wine O’Clock

“Highlighter is another area where that glowing luminosity makes such a huge difference. It’s the difference between flat-tired and luminous glowing skin which instantly makes the overall appearance of your face look awake and alive. The high points of the face are the best areas for application—the tear ducts area and bridge of the nose immediately make the face more awake. I love Catrice’s Face and Body Highlighter. This universal shade is great for those areas mentioned above but also amazing on the collar bone, decollate, and even the arms and legs. One of my favorites!”

“Mascara is another must-have for looking awake and less tired. I’m a fan of using mascara on both the upper and lower lashes—this application tip gives a more wide-eyed and fuller-looking eye. I love applying several coats for the fullest lashes possible. I love Catrice’s Rock Couture Extreme Volume Mascara, this really gives the lashes a full dense voluminous finish.”

“Again, I love a dewy and luminous finish to the skin, I find that a simple luminizing spray really makes the entire face look more finished and less tired. I personally believe drier-looking skin makes the face look more tired and ages the appearance of the skin. I love Prime and Fine Dewy Glow Finishing Spray. This is great after moisturizer, whether you have a bare face or a full face of makeup.”

“Another great trick is to sweep a lighter shade of cream eye shadow on the lids. It’s an easy foolproof look and you can even use your fingers versus an eye shadow brush. I love how it brightens up the eyelid while neutralizing any redness or discoloration. I love Catrice’s Liquid Eyeshadow in shades Mindful, Peace Hunter, and Spiritual Seeker.”

Up next, the best drugstore buys from a pharmacist who looks 10 years younger than she is.