15 Ways to Look Awesome When You Feel Anything But

by Julia Teen

When you haven't slept or you're sick or stressed or brutally hung over, putting on a full face of makeup is the very last thing you want to do. Fortunately, on super trying days, less really is more. Instead of hiding behind a thick mask of cosmetics, just concentrate on making little tweaks. We've asked top makeup artists for their best quick-fix tips to help you look and feel like you're back among the living.


Michael Buckner/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Wake It Up

“Skin that is fatigued can look dull and dehydrated,"says makeup artist Margina Dennis, who has worked with Lea Michele and Jane Lynch. She recommends using a cleanser with lactic acid to wake up your face. "Philosophy Miracle Worker Lactic Acid Cleanser and Mask is a great way to remove dull, dead skin and quickly perk up the complexion,” she says.

Philosophy Miracle Worker Lactic Acid Cleanser and Mask, $35, Check It Out

Add Some Glow

“Try mixing a dime-sized amount of luminizer into your moisturizer. That way when you apply your favorite foundation product you’ll get a subtle glow without looking like you tried too hard,” says editorial makeup artist Gilbert Soliz, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and V Magazine. Try Nars Luminator in Copacabana for an easily-spreadable, gorgeous glow or try NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator for a more budget-friendly fix.

Nars Illuminator, $30, Check It Out

NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator, $7.50, Check It Out

Use a Light Cover-Up

"Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint evens out the skin tone by using light-diffusing pigments to keep your skin looking completely natural, like you aren't wearing any makeup. The ginseng also increases skin circulation and SPF20 offers sun protection,” notes Dennis.

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint, $40, Check It Out

Arm Yourself for Afternoon Touchups

"One thing I always have in my arsenal for days when no matter what makeup product I use I still look dry and tired, is rose water. This will freshen your makeup and look naturally dewy,” explains Marina Gravani, Los Angeles-based makeup artist to celebs like Mariah Carey, Robin Wright and Diana Agron.

Mario Badescu Rose Water Facial Spray, $7, Check It Out


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Make Blush Your Best Friend

I love a cream blush by CK, it really blends the best, looks so natural and leaves the skin with a silky semi-matte touch. Use a fresh rosy pink, it's simply the best color to wake up the whole face!” says makeup artist Riku Campo, author of Best in Beauty: An Ultimate Guide to Makeup and Skincare Techniques, Tools, and Products whose work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, Glamour and more.

CK Cream Blush, $25, Check It Out

Best in Beauty Book, $22, Amazon

Play Up Your Cheekbones

"I also like to add radiance to the cheekbone to give a freshness to the makeup. Tom Ford's Illuminating Highlight Pen in Lavender Voile is great for giving that ‘put together’ sheen,” says Gravani.

Tom Ford Illuminating Highlight Pen, $52, Check It Out


Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Don’t Let Your Eyes ‘Out’ You

“The eyes are the first dead giveaway that we are sleep deprived," explains Michelle Phillips, makeup artist and media personality for the Oxygen network and Martha Stewart Radio. "Keep your eye cream refrigerated and apply just after getting out of the shower. The cool creme will reduce puffiness while hydrating the thin tissue under our eyes."

Lancôme Progrés Eye Cream, $64, Check It Out

On a Budget? Grab a Spoon

“My first step to looking amazing when everything is against you is to grab a metal spoon and freeze it. Right before you're heading out the door apply it to the under eye area it will instantly tighten and reduce puffiness,” says makeup artist Stephanie Flor, a backstage regular at Alexander McQueen, DKNY and Victoria's Secret runway shows.

Curl, Curl, Curl

"One fail-safe and easy trick to looking amazing while running on empty is to curl your eyelashes," hints Mary Guthrie, commercial makeup artist for Topshop, Lacoste and Shopbop. "Angle the curler as close to the lash-line as possible, squeeze hold for 8-10 seconds and release. Your eyes will instantly perk up to give your face a quick, effortless lift."

Georgie Beauty Ultimate Lash Curler, $18, Check It Out

Leave the Undereye Alone

Skip eyeliner and mascara underneath the eyes if you have dark circles or puffiness. Apply mascara and line your eyes just on your upper lashes only. The trick is to open your beautiful eyes, not close them in like a raccoon!” warns Phillips.

Blinc Eyeliner Pencil, $20, Check It Out

MAC Haute & Naughty Mascara, $22, Check It Out

Pick Up a Navy Mascara

“Tuck and smudge black waterproof eyeliner into the roots of your upper lashes to instantly define and open the eyes," says Soliz. "Then apply a navy mascara to make the whites of your eyes appear much brighter."

Yves Saint Laurent Waterproof Eye Pencil, $30, Check It Out

Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Mascara, $32, Check It Out

Think Beige

Shading our waterline with white eyeliner is a practice most of us know. Instead try a natural skin color eyeliner like beige. It’ll still open up your eyes without looking bright white,” explains Flor.

LORAC Pro Eye Pencil, $20, Check It Out

When All Else Fails

If you can muster the energy, you have one more tool in your arsenal. "If there’s nothing that any brightening pen can do to help you," says Gravani, "throw a false lash on. It opens the eye up and draws it upwards.”

Kevyn Aucoin Lash Collection, $25, Check It Out


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Don’t Have Time for Makeup?

“Just apply some Vaseline onto your lips, but also swipe some across your eyelid for extra shine. It looks as if you’ve done something without much effort,” says Flor.

Vaseline, $4, Check It Out

Stick With Light Shades

“Lighten up and brighten up your lips. Darker hues tend to look muddy," notes Phillips. "Think of soft, beautiful petals from a flower – shades like rose, coral and peach help create a more flawless appearance."

Nars Audacious Lipstick, $32, Check It Out