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How to Brighten Tired Eyes

Photograph by Rachel Matos

Like many working moms, I spend a lot of hours in front of the computer reading, writing, photo editing—you name it. I wake up early to help my son get ready for school and I’m up late getting ready for the next day. I do everything in my power to get my eight hours of work packed into my day, but eye strain from the computer still often gives me a very tired look by the end of the day. Depending on what’s going on, there are days I wake up and look as though I haven’t slept at all.

If I have an evening work event to attend or a PTA meeting, I need to do a few tricks to get my eyes looking brighter in a short amount of time. If I don’t, I usually get asked “Are you OK?” or “Had a long day?” Gee, thanks. I get it, I look tired!

I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to everyday makeup so I really only use a few products to help me look refreshed: Foundation, an eye shadow compact, eyeliner, concealer, brow liner and mascara.

If you need to brighten up your tired eyes and only have a few minutes to spare, try these simple tips.

Wash your face: It may sound obvious, but a little soap and cold water will do wonders for livening up your face. It will tighten up the skin and give you a refreshed look.

Prep your face: Apply your favorite moisturizer and foundation. I use a BB cream under my foundation. It’s important to get the canvas all set before doing your eyes. This takes about 2-3 minutes.

RELATED: BB Cream or CC Cream? How to choose which cream is right for you

Eye brows: Keep your brows natural with an eye pencil or shadow that is one shade lighter if you’re a brunette, or one shade darker if you’re blonde. Since you want to make your eyes less tired, keep your brows soft and natural with a defined shape and subtle arch. I use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo.

Apply concealer: I find that applying my concealer in a V-shape really covers the dark circles best and gives the illusion of brighter eyes. I don’t put any on the outer edges of my eyes, as it tends to increase the appearance of wrinkles when I laugh. I gently blend the concealer from the inner corner of my eye outward.

Eye shadow: Use a neutral color for your lid and a lighter shade for the inner corners of your eyes to create an illusion. Add the light shadow to your your brow bone to give the appearance of a wider eye. I used Mary Kay’s Honey Spice and Crystalline.

Eye liner and mascara: To make your eyes look more awake, keep your water line (the inside of the eye on the lower lid) very natural and focus your attention on your upper lid. Draw a nice thin line to give your eyes a bit of a lift. For day, I prefer using a powder, pencil or matte gel as opposed to a heavy liquid eye liner. The simplest cat eye you can do will suffice. A little will go a long way in helping your eyes look rejuvenated. My eyes naturally curve down on the ends, which gives me a sad puppy dog look. It was cute when I was little but now it just looks like I’m sleepy and tired. To counter that, I always do a simple cat eye and apply a black mascara. I used La Ligne de Chanel and L’Oreal’s Voluminous Butterfly mascara. For an extra lift, use a curling wand prior before applying your mascara.

Blush and lip color: Darker lipstick and bronzes are not the way to go if you’re exhausted. It will make you look older too. Since you went a little heavier on the concealer, you want to stick with a very neutral palette. Try a nude or neutral gloss, and blush such as a soft peach like this one from Nars for a natural look.

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Photograph by Rachel Matos
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