How to Look Awake

By Tara Thompson Rasmus

The summer sun is officially gone (well, not gone, but decidedly more elusive), the temperature has dropped, and our school/work schedules are officially in full swing. Fall is certainly an exciting time of year, but between the go-go pace and the chilly, overcast days, I admit that I’m having a harder time feeling energized these days. Luckily, I have a contingency plan — and, of course, it involves beauty products.

Behold, some of my best tips, tricks, and products for faking a wide-awake look, even when you feel like you’d rather get a root canal than get out of bed. A side benefit: I find that when I look like my best self, I’m somehow tricked into feeling better, too. That, my friends, is a win-win situation — read on to snag some of these sneaky beauty tricks for yourself!


First things first: When I’m feeling puffy, crusty, and generally zombie-like upon waking, the first step towards feeling more like myself is a really good face-washing session. If I’m washing in the sink, I’ll usually splash my face with cold or lukewarm water for an extra dose of refreshment, but no matter what the temperature, I always take a few extra minutes on tired mornings to really massage a gentle cleanser around my entire face and eye area to really get my blood circulating. I’m really loving this cleanser from Restorsea — the whole line is infused with a natural enzyme that gently breaks down dead skin cells for happier skin. (And, it smells like green tea, which always manages to energize me!)

Image Source: Harry Crowder


After moisturizing, I slap on a simple moisturizer with SPF (whatever is around, I’m not picky), but then I follow with a little secret weapon: an anti-puff eye roller, like this one from Garnier. The nifty rollerball deposits a de-puffing eye gel along with a cooling sensation that is super refreshing.

At this point, I’ll apply foundation as I normally would (I usually go for a mid-weight foundation like this one with a bit of glow-inducing moisturizing properties, especially in cooler weather), and then dab on a bit of lightweight under eye concealer. The key here: you may be tempted to pile on the concealer when you’re tired, but keep a light hand here — too much concealer can actually accentuate puffiness and make your eyes look smaller.

Image Source: Elle 

If I’m really suffering in the undereye-circles department, I’ll consider option B, rather than piling on the concealer. What is option B, you ask? Well, option B is an old Revlon eyeshadow (I believe that it belonged to my mom) that’s an almost completely translucent pearl pink. I dust a tiny bit under my eyes and in the inner corners to reflect light and open up my eyes, without adding caginess. For a similar look, try Too Faced’s ingenious highlighting powder duo.

My next step towards faking a wide-awake look is probably the quickest and easiest, but also the single most important trick to looking and feeling alive and put-together. I brush my brows up and out with either a clear brow gel or a tinted version (NARS’ Brow Gel is fantastic). There’s something about boosting and shaping my brows that adds structure and shape to my face — it almost literally “lifts” my entire look.

Image Source: Listal

To finish, I love adding a moisturizing cheek and lip tint for color and dewiness. A good gel blush like Tarte’s melts into the skin and recreates a well-rested flush like no other product I’ve tried — and, since the product is paraben-free, it’s totally fine to use on your lips without fear of ingesting any ickiness. Simply swipe on cheeks and lips and blend a bit with your fingers. Add a strong cup of coffee and run, girl — you’ve totally got this day.

Image Source: Shanina Shaikers