Scripps News Life


Makeup artists’ top tricks to help you look more awake

Makeup artists’ top tricks to help you look more awake
Posted at 4:30 AM, Sep 13, 2023

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Simplemost may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

In an ideal world, we’d get eight-plus hours of sleep every night, be fully hydrated and never age. The reality is that sometimes sleep is scarce, we don’t drink enough water and aging is very real. For the days when we’re dragging but have things to do and people to see, makeup can be crucial in helping us look like we’re on our A-game.

I know that personally, I’ve had moments where I actually am awake and ready to take on the day, but for whatever reason my face is telling another story. It’s those moments where I know a clever eyeliner trick or some intentionally placed concealer can make a world of difference.

While makeup can be great in that way, if it’s not used properly it can also create the opposite effect — either aging you or making you look just plain tired. However, learning to skillfully apply makeup to help brighten your face and give the illusion of a more “awake” look isn’t as hard as it may seem.

To help, we’ve tapped the expertise of makeup artists who’ve recommended their favorite makeup tricks and products to help you look rested and at your best. According to them, you should focus on the eyes.

Read on to hear what else they have to say!

Prepping Your Skin

While you might be tempted to beeline it to your makeup bag for your concealer after a long night out, our experts suggest heading to your skincare cabinet first.

“One of the most common mistakes I’ve come across is clients not using an eye cream,” says Mandisa Vonette Peters, a New York-based makeup artist. “Once you apply product on top of a dry under eye area, the product will set in the wrinkles which makes it look extremely dry and textured, which adds more weight to the undereye and can bring down the face.”

She points out that skin is thinnest under the eye.

“Therefore, proper hydration is key or else wrinkles will start to form,” she explains.

As far as which product to use, Vonette Peters recommends Bobbi Brown’s Hydrating Eye Cream.

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream


This cream from Bobbi Brown is ideal for sensitive skin and is fragrance-free. It is specifically formulated to help create a smooth base under the eye to prep it for makeup application. It has jojoba seed oil, avocado oil and aloe vera juice, which all help hydrate and moisturize this delicate area.

Buy Bobbi Brown’s Hydrating Eye Cream at Amazon for $57.75.

Vonette Peters also recommends making sure your skin is properly moisturized before applying any makeup to the rest of your face. Essentially, the same rules apply to foundation, meaning applying it over dry skin will make you look aged and drag your face down.

MORE: Put Vaseline under your eyes to get in on this inexpensive beauty hack

For moisturizer, she is partial to Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Face Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid


This anti-aging moisturizer contains shea butter, oat kernel extract and rose extract alongside a wealth of other luxurious ingredients to help hydrate and protect the skin’s moisture barrier. It’s designed to plump and smooth skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles over time. It works for normal, dry and combination skin and comes in different sizes, starting with 0.5 ounces,

Buy Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream Face Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid at Nordstrom for $30.

The Eyes Have It

It’s no surprise that one of the first things to give away a lack of sleep is your eyes. Dark circles, under-eye bags and general droopiness are typically the culprits here, but thankfully there are things you can do to counter these negative effects.

While concealer may be the first thing you gravitate to, Vonette Peters says it’s super important to color-correct your under-eye area first.

“Another common mistake is picking the wrong undertone of concealer. If darkness or discoloration is visible under the eye you should color correct before applying concealer,” she explains. “Some concealers can do both but more often than not you would need to use two products. [First,] a color corrector which cancels out the discoloration, and then a concealer your shade or one to two shades lighter.”

In this case, she recommends Bobbi Brown’s Skin Corrector Stick.

Bobbi Brown Skin Corrector Stick


This color-correcting stick from Bobbi Brown provides medium coverage with a natural finish to help neutralize dark circles under the eye. It comes in a stick formula, making it easy to apply to the under-eye area, and can last as long as 12 hours. It comes in 12 different shades so you’re bound to find a color that complements your undertone.

Buy Bobbi Brown Skin Corrector Stick at Sephora for $33.

After you’ve applied your corrector, it’s time for concealer. Vonette Peters is particularly fond of Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Full Coverage Concealer.

Pat McGrath Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Full Coverage Concealer


This concealer offers full coverage but is both creamy and light so it won’t drag your eyes down. It offers a matte finish as well as a brightening effect to illuminate the undereye area, giving a more awake look. It also uses what’s called a Vita-Serum Complex, which stimulates the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid.

Buy Pat McGrath Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Full Coverage Concealer at Ulta for $34.

Wake Up Your Eye Makeup

Now that you’re fully corrected and concealed, it’s time for some eyeliner. However, when it comes to eyeliner, there is a specific habit that one expert tries to avoid at all costs if you want to look more awake.

“One of the most common mistakes I see people make is putting black in the waterline, which can sometimes make the eyes look more tired, especially if your eyes have redness,” says Los Angeles-based makeup artist Heidy Gondola.

Instead of using black eyeliner, Gondola opts for a nude eyeliner to open things up.

MORE: How to clean your makeup brushes

“One of my favorite tricks is using a nude eyeliner in the water line, this makes the eyes look bigger and more awake!” she explains.

To achieve this look, Gondola prefers Tarte’s Fake Awake eye pencil.

Tarte Fake Awake Eye Highlight


This eyeliner from Tarte is specifically designed to open up the eye and provide a brightening effect. It can be applied along the waterline, on the inner corner of the eye and even along the brow bone to give an illuminated appearance. It comes in shades of white and nude and works on all skin tones.

Buy Tarte’s Fake Awake Eye Highlight at Macy’s for $22.

Lashes are another important step in opening up the eye. Gondola says you should make sure to pick the right lashes to your specific eye shape.

“Another common mistake is using an unflattering lash style for your eye shape that causes droopy eyes and further makes them look small or tired,” she explains.

Whether you have round eyes, almond eyes, big eyes or small eyes, make sure you do your research to find which lashes work best for you.

For lashes, Gondola recommends Ardell Wispies Lash.

Ardell False Eyelashes Wispies Black


These lashes come in a pack of five pairs and provide a natural look. They are lightweight and designed for both casual and formal occasions. They offer a rounded, semi-flared lash style and can be easily trimmed length-wise to fit any sized eye. The band that attaches to the eye line is clear, meaning there won’t be a visible black line to drag down the look.

Buy Ardell False Eyelashes Wispies Black at Amazon for $8.52 (was $9.99).

This Bonus Trick Brightens Your Appearance

While skincare and makeup are king when it comes to nailing the more awake look, Gondola has one last, perhaps unexpected piece of advice when it comes to brightening up your face.

“Using Lumify eye drops brightens the eyes in just a minute, removing redness from your eyes and enhancing your natural eye color!” she explains. “Lumify is a great prep for the eyes before applying makeup.”

Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops


These eye drops made by Bausch + Lomb are designed to whiten and illuminate your eyes and give you a more radiant look. The drops can brighten your eyes in less than one minute and are FDA-approved and formulated by doctors. They contain a brimonidine tartrate solution, which targets redness in the eyes and can brighten them for up to eight hours.

Buy LUMIFY Redness Reliever Eye Drops at Walmart for $12.98.

The next time you wake up feeling a little worse for wear, be sure to refer back to these tips, and no one will ever be the wiser.

MORE: Makeup remover pads are eco-friendly alternatives to disposable makeup wipes

Any products or services mentioned above were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Simplemost may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Check out Simplemost for additional stories.