Christmas is without question my favorite day of the year, and I have a special fondness for the earliest hours. Over the past 22 years, my family's taken hundreds of photos during the early part of the day. Around age 9, though, I stopped looking cute when I woke up to find my stocking filled with gifts and started looking, well, like a troll. It was time to figure out how to wake up gorgeous, so I could go straight from bed to presents.
About 85 percent of our Christmas morning photos taken between 2001 and 2011 feature me looking pretty homely. Hey, I have a little brother. It was early. Over the past few years, though, I've been finding ways to look a little better on Christmas morning without being too "done up" with a face full of makeup and perfectly curled hair. And not only do I want to create the illusion of #IWokeUpLikeThis when my dad's got the camera in my face on December 25 — I want to be able to honestly say #IWokeUpLikeThis. Well, at least #IWokeUpOnlySlightlyLessBeautifulThanThis.
When I wake up, I get a little help from my favorite CC cream, brightening concealer, and a lightly tinted lip balm, but the real photo preparation starts before I lay my head down to let those sugar plums do their thing. Here are 9 secrets to waking up gorgeous on Christmas morning.
1. Braid Your Hair
You've heard of the braids trick before, but this lazy girl has some tips for maximizing their effectiveness. To get those perfectly disheveled waves, part damp hair where you'll want it the next day (I'm a fan of the side part.) Comb a dime-size amount of smoothing cream through your strands. My hair takes a while to dry, so I flip my head over and blast it with a blow dryer till it's about 60 to 70 percent dry.
Braid each side of your hair and secure with crease-free hair ties. I've got short hair, so I braid the bottom sections separately from the top ones so it's more even, leaving me with four braids. Sure, I look like Snoop Dogg when I go to bed, but it's all for the cause. When you wake up in the morning, undo the braids and comb through them with your fingers. Texturize and add volume at the roots with dry shampoo, and voila — purposeful bedhead.
2. Sleep On Silk
To protect your hair from getting frizzy, make like a princess and sleep on a silk pillowcase. Or, wrap your hair in a silk head scarf. Bonus: You'll feel ultra glam.
3. Moisturize Deeply
Whether you reach for a night cream or a regular moisturizer, hydrating your skin overnight is a surefire way to wake up looking more refreshed. Layer your moisturizer on thick after thoroughly washing your face — I use witch hazel to tone and dissolve any makeup my Clarisonic didn't get, too — and let it do the rest.
4. Get Your Glow On
To wake up with a little color, mix a drop of self-tanner into your moisturizer before bed. Instant glow without a fake orange-y color. Make sure you let it dry before you hit the hay, though.
My Pick: St. Tropez bronzing face lotion, $30, sephora.com
5. Condition Your Eyelashes
No need to splurge on Latisse if you're just aiming for a more conditioned look overnight. For an inky vibe without the "done up" appearance of mascara, apply Aquaphor or Vaseline to your lashes and lashline before bed. (Hint: you can even use this medicine cabinet staple all over your face in place of a night cream or moisturizer.)
My Pick: Aquaphor healing skin ointment, $13.58, target.com
6. Treat Your Lips
Because lip gloss just doesn't say "I rolled out of bed this way." To wake up with moisturized, natural-looking lips, exfoliate gently with a wet washcloth and sleep with a restoring lip treatment on.
7. Sleep With Your Head Raised
The best way to sleep to avoid puffiness in your face is sitting up, but if you're a like me, there's no way you can learn to do that all night. Until I train myself to rest in the most beautifying way possible, the next best thing is sleeping on two pillows to keep my head raised.
8. Whiten Up
Though there aren't any great options for overnight whitening treatments, use an instant whitening toothpaste before bed and when you wake up so you can flash your pearly whites when you get that new watch you've been hinting at.
My Pick: Luster Now! instant whitening toothpaste, $19, birchbox.com
9. Wear Makeup to Bed
Yes, you read that right — wear your makeup to bed. There's a catch, though: you can't just reach for your go-to drugstore foundation and expect your skin to be dandy when you wake up. Bare Minerals formulated a powder that's perfect for overnight wear; it's essentially a mineral treatment. So although you can't just wear any old makeup to bed, this is a great option if you know you'll be woken up by a video camera.
My pick: Bare Minerals pure transformation night treatment, $60, sephora.com
Images: Fotolia/Alliance; giphy.com