This is the most wonderful, exhausting, stressful, time of the year. Just when I want to look my best for holiday festivities, I feel like I’ve been on a month long bender, and it is only going to get worse since I am about to start a month long bender. But, luckily, looks can be deceiving and both Mother Nature and the cosmetic industry have given us some tools to fight the appearance of fatigue. Don’t let the exhaustion show this holiday season in twelve steps – and I am not going to tell you to get more sleep. December is no time for rest!
1. Stay hydrated. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, your skin doesn’t have ample time to replenish. Dry skin looks old and dull. Increase your water intake. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces of water.
2. Moisturize your hands and face at least twice a day. On your face, use a brightening moisturizer like Shiseido’s White Lucent.
3. Don’t forget dry eyes. Red rimmed lids will surely prompt an annoying comment like, “Karen, you look really tired. Are you o.k.?” To this, I have to fight the urge to say, “What mother isn’t tired in December??!!” Avoid the possibility of losing a friend or worse, being arrested for assault, by keeping Visine in your bag.
4. Fight the puffiness. Cold is the best remedy for inflammation. It works great on your eyes as well. Keep cold cucumber slices in the freezer. For the added benefit of caffeine, which will shrink blood vessels, dip black teabags in water, squeeze them out and keep in the fridge. For de-puffing on the go, use frozen spoons. You can wrap with one hand while holding a cold spoon on your eye with the other. Try it. If I can do it, so can you.
5. When choosing a product to fight the dreaded bags under your eyes, pick one with caffeine. Estee Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator has a cooling tip for added effectiveness. My cousin raves about MAC’s Fast Response Eye Cream. I’m picking some up today as the bags under my eyes are threatening to require an extra charge at the airport.
6. Dark Circles – Many eye creams contain ingredients claiming to fight under eye darkness, but for an easy, quick fix, use concealer. Click here for how to find and use the right concealer for you.
7. Makeup – Fill in your eyebrows and wear mascara. These will make your eyes pop. Watch out for the powder. It can rest in fine lines, illuminating rather than concealing flaws. Invest in a great bronzer to combat ashen winter skin.
8. Fake a tan – Even when we are diligent with sunscreen, we simply look better in the summer months. A touch of sun creates a warm glow and brightens your whole face. Sun deprived? Try a self-tanner. I love Kiehls Sun- Free Self-Tanning Formula. It darkens skin gradually and leaves my skin feeling soft. Be careful with its application. Avoid dark spots when you apply or remove the tanner immediately from dark spots using a Q-tip and soap.
9. Caffeine in the morning and that’s IT! I know the temptation is to keep loading up on your lattes, but you must fight the urge. A cup of caffeine in the morning will help to wake up your skin, but too much will cause dehydration, ultimately making you look more tired.
10. Cut down on salt which will both dehydrate your skin and cause swelling, especially under the eyes. Goodbye Dirty Martinis … I will miss you.
11. Wear your hair down and wear bright colors. When you can’t beat ‘em, distract ‘em. Dark, boring colors and severe ponytails will highlight the exhaustion on your face. Spend a couple more minutes on your hair and choose clothes to make them notice the outfit and not the tired.
12. Have more sex. “I’m too tired,” should be a reason to engage in a little adult playtime, not one to avoid it. Sex eases stress and improves your sleep. Plus, it is fun and doesn’t Mrs. Claus deserve a little fun this holiday season?