“You look exhausted’’ is one of the last things that any woman over 40 would want to hear. Unfortunately, for many of us who are facing prolonged stress and anxiety as well as some menopause symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats, showing a bright and refreshed look in the morning is not always that easy to do.
Poor quality sleep, with nights spent tossing and turning, certainly has an impact on our energy levels and yes, our skin too as sleep paves the way for its ‘repair and renew‘ phase. The less of it we get, the less efficient this process is. Enter dull, lacklustre skin.
Of course, the ageing process may make things worse as our skin usually can dry out from general moisture loss, which can also end up making us look tired, but most of the time it’s our lifestyle that needs an improvement.
According to Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, Columbia University professor and founder of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services in New York City: “When you notice changes in your facial appearance, take inventory of what is going on in your life and what may be stressing you out. Simple things like sitting quietly for 10 minutes focusing on breathing, writing in a journal, exercising, or taking a walk outside, reading, baking, painting, listening to music, and reaching for an activity that takes the focus off the stress is helpful“.
Clearly, we all need more shut-eye—but in the meantime, we can still count on some quick fixes to disguise those wrinkles, dark circles or puffy eyes and re-energise our complexion after a sleepless night. Here are some ideas for you.
De-puff your eyes
The female body usually retains water and when you’re sleep-deprived or stressed, tissues swell and fluids pool around your eyes even more. A splash of cold water works just as well as an anti-ageing cream and makes you look awake. Even better, if you hold for a few minutes a spoon or a jade roller you’ve previously put in the fridge the night before, under your eyes for a few minutes when you wake up in the morning. This will cause the blood vessels to constrict and reduce inflammation.
Refresh your face
Wake up the look of your skin by moisturising your face and neck with your favourite cream, tap some eye serum under and over your eyes and then use a water mist on your face and neck to achieve a better and more consistent radiance.
Conceal dark circles
When you have not had enough sleep, dark circles can make you look even more exhausted. You can brighten that area around your eyes by applying an illuminating concealer. Its magical effect can add a glow to your skin and give you a more wide-awake look.
Make your eyes look bigger
When it comes to makeup, arguably the best piece of advice is that less is more. It’s better to stick to lightweight formulas and subtle touches. To make your eyes look wider, you can curl up your eyelashes using a lash curler to maximize the lift and use a volumising mascara. Skip dark eyeliner and apply a beige colour on your lower lashes to sparkle up your eyes instantly.
Divert the attention to cheeks and lips
Skin can look pale and almost grey when you haven’t had enough sleep. It’s tempting to slap on the foundation, but too much make-up can actually make you look worse – clogging up your pores and highlighting any areas of puffiness or wrinkles. Try a lighter BB or CC cream instead. Also, distract people from noticing your overall look by adding a touch of light and shimmery shades of rosy blush on your cheekbones and a brighter shade of lip colour.
Increase your water intake
Fine lines and tired-looking eyes are usually caused by a lack of moisture, which you can restore with a specialised beauty product and by simply drinking plenty of water (or even green tea). To establish a good routine, keep a large glass of water by your bed and drink half before bed and half in the morning. That should be enough to ensure a bit of hydration making you look and feel less lethargic.
Enjoy some fresh air
Nature is one of our most underutilized self-soothers both physiologically and psychologically. Being in the fresh air can make you feel so much more awake. Also, getting some natural sunlight helps maintain your circadian rhythms, which in turn will help get your sleep schedule back on track.