Ways To Look Fresh, Even When You're Exhausted

Sometimes, even when we have the best of intentions, we just don't get to bed on time, and the next day we still have to fake looking refreshed after a full eight hours of sleep. When the reality is more like four or five, this can be a challenge — but it's not impossible.

And as I've said before in a piece on how to get a good night's sleep, so many Americans have problems related to lack of sleep that the Centers for Disease Control actually cites it as a major public health concern, estimating that 50 to 70 million Americans have some kind of sleep disorder.

Basically, if you haven't been getting enough sleep, you're not alone. And I can tell you from personal experience that you're also not alone in your desire to at least look refreshed and well-rested even if on the inside you're one comfy chair away from falling asleep on the spot. The good news is there are several super effective ways to look more refreshed — and in turn feel more put together — on days when when you're struggling. So if you're on the lookout for ways to look brighter and more energized, take a peek at these 11 tips.

1. Splash Cold Water On Your Face

In an article on Good Housekeeping's site on ways to fake like you've had enough sleep, New York dermatologists Francesca Fusco said to "simply splash cold water on your face." Cold water constricts the blood vessels under your skin, temporarily giving you a smoother and more toned complexion.

2. Open Up The Eyes

Half-closed, bleary eyes are a dead give away when it comes to looking tired, so anything you can do to create the appearance of widening the eye will help a lot in terms of looking alert. In the same Good Housekeeping article, New York City makeup artist Emily Kate Warren said opening up her lashes with an eyelash curler is "the only thing that perks up my face when I'm sleep-deprived."

3. Under Eye Concealer

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealers, $6, Amazon

In an article for, beauty and style writer Karina Giglio stressed the importance of under eye concealer for faking your way to a more refreshed look. "Use a small brush to apply to any dark areas, including the inner corners of your eyes, where shadows are often the darkest. Finish by dotting a bit over your lids, and your entire eye area will look refreshed," she said. She also recommended using a shade slightly warmer than your natural skin color to offset the blueish tint of undereye circles and a creamier product for maximum coverage.

4. Highlighters Are Your Friends

L'Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow, $10, Amazon

Giglio said that the light and shimmer you get from a highlighter "wakes up your face in just a few seconds." In the same piece, makeup artists Nicole Culler recommended using "your fingers to apply a sheer, skin-toned highlighter [...] under your brow bone, on the inner corner of eyes, cheekbones, and the middle of your lower lip.”

5. Line Your Inner Lids

In an article in's Lipstick, New York City-based makeup artist Laura Mercier said she perks up her models for early-morning shoots by lining their inner and upper lash lines with a dark color. “It make the whites of their eyes seem brighter,” she said.

6. Wear Some Bling

Kate Spade New York Glitter Stud Earrings, $32, Nordstrom

In the same Glamour piece, NYC stylist Kate Schelter said she tells clients to wear sparkles and more "blingy" accessories when they're low on energy. "The sparkle makes you look lively," she said.

7. Dress Up Your Lips

Two Faced La Creme, $22, Sephora

On, New York Post gossip columnist Paula Froehlich said she wears a bold lip to draw attention away from her "weary eyes" when she's tired.

Giglio also recommended this tip, adding, "A bright, cheery lip color will pull attention away from the tired areas of your face and liven up your look."

8. Blush It Up

Nars Orgasm Blush, $30, Sephora

Beauty writer Jenny Bailly highly recommended using blush to appear brighter and fresher in an article for, saying that, "A pop of color on your cheekbones brightens your entire face and distracts from shadows underneath your eyes." A makeup artist in the same article (who wished to remain nameless because he works for a different brand) said, "There's a reason why Nars Orgasm Blush is so incredibly popular — that shade of slightly peachy pink, flecked with gold, makes almost everyone look vibrant."

9. Layer Your Liner

e.l.f. Shimmer Eyeliner Pencil, $5, Target

Bailly also recommended using two different color tones on your upper lashline. This "will counteract shadows underneath your eyes and make the whites look brighter," she said. "First, use a dark brown or black pencil eyeliner. Top it with a liner in a vibrant jewel tone, like a sapphire blue or emerald green."

10. Sleep With Your Head Elevated

Reading Wedge Pillow, $24, Amazon

In a article on how to look awake and refreshed every morning, makeup artist Taylor Babaian recommended elevating your head during sleep to reduce swelling or puffiness on your face. This is a good tip for those nights when you know you're not going to be getting your full eight hours.

11. Eye Drops

Rohto Redness Relief Cooling Eye Drops, $5, Amazon

In the same piece, makeup artist Kristie Streicher recommend keeping eye drops on hand for those morning when you're bleary-eyed. She said it will help reduce redness and have an almost instant "wake up" effect.

We can't always get a full night's sleep, but we can definitely look totally refreshed on those days when we're lagging with a few life hacks. Just make sure you have a few of these essentials on hand, and you'll be armed with all your need to fake it until you can actually get some rest!

Images: Alexandra E Rust/Flickr; (1); YouTube (2)