Beauty products, tips and tricks for the perpetually fatigued?
June 30, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I want to hear about all your amazing beauty products, tips and tricks that camouflage or minimise the appearance of fatigue in the wearer's/user's face. Help a sufferer of a chronic condition avoid questions about tiredness when they're so tired they already want to lie down under the table!

I'm in my mid-twenties and suffer from fibroymyalgia, which in essence is a combination of chronic pain and chronic fatigue. I work out, eat healthily, drink a lot of water and am managing my condition as best as I can, including doing many of the recommended things to fight fatigue. But, due to the nature of my condition, this fatigue is likely never going to completely go away and it shows in my face.

I love beauty products, moisturise religiously and adore finding that perfect product that solves X issue. I wear make-up when I'm out of the house normally to camouflage my tiredness and also because I just like to. Please recommend me the best beauty products, tips, tricks to minimise the effects of fatigue shown on my face. Mostly so I can feel that I can look pulled together and on it when I'm out, and not have to suffer through any more "oh my, you look so tired, you should get more sleep" conversations which are very depressing - no amount of sleep helps, that's the point.

I'm in a position to spend a fair chunk of cash on products in the next few months, so help me spend my money wisely. If a product works, I'm willing to spend a decent amount. Also, I'm in the UK so availability here or online to ship to me is important.

Additional info and details:
- I tend to go for a glam look. Basics for me = foundation, cat's eye 1950s liquid eyeliner, blusher, under eye concealer, false lash effect black mascara. If I'm feeling extra special, I use highlighting cream/powder. So no need to limit yourself to "dewy natural" stuff - I want that, plus the glam stuff on top!
- I have very pale skin and dark hair, eyes.
- My skin tone can be fairly uneven, hence I, at a minimum, want some form of colour coverage.
- My under eye circles are epic: ANYTHING you can suggest to help would be great.
- Products need to have staying power - e.g. I no longer wear kohl eyeliners as they move too much on my face and I look like I got punched.

Thank you in advance for any and all help! :)
posted by thetarium to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (37 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
Laura Mercier's concealer is the best I've ever worn -- great coverage with staying power, but without looking cakey.
posted by scody at 12:51 PM on June 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Well, this is very much a "dewy natural" tip, but: If I'm looking tired, I'll either splash some green tea on my face or rub a cucumber slice over it (or you can sub pretty much any mild astringent here). Leave for 5-15 minutes to dry (don't rinse) and then add a few drops of jojoba oil. Together this will tighten pores and give you a healthy glow.
posted by susanvance at 12:56 PM on June 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Trick I learned for making myself look less puffy and red: concealer--the same sort you use under your eye--in the creases on the outside of your nose (the ala in this diagram). This doesn't minimize tiredness explicitly but it makes you look overall a little healthier and more pulled together. (I don't have fibro but I have arthritis so I can easily imagine the kinds of effects you're looking for.)
posted by immlass at 12:57 PM on June 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have chronic pain and often have trouble sleeping. This means my skin is terrible and I often have very dark shadows under my eyes. I use orange concealer on them (or orange lipstick if I'm feeling cheap), after primer but before anything else: the orange colour cancels out the blue and then you can just throw regular concealer and foundation over it. Many drag queens do it to cover up beard shadow; it can be very effective.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:06 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, goodness. My circles are so epic that people think I'm on drugs when I have no makeup on. It's a constant struggle for me and I haven't gone without concealer since I realized just how different I looked from everybody else. Two amazing concealers: Lancome EFFACERNES (WATERPROOF!!) and Benefit Bo-i-ng. Line your inner eye with
Tarte emphasEYES™ inner rim brightener. You probably do this already, but curling your eyelashes can make you look much more awake. Highlighter under your eyebrows will open up your eyes. Gold eyeshadow just slightly dotted next to your nose will make you look a bit more awake (I've heard that Beyonce does this as well). Using a non-shimmer coral/rose cream blush will liven your face up. I like Tarte Blissful cheek stain and Benefit rose tint.

The way your skin appears is hugely affected by the colors that you wear. Experiment with things. It took me years to figure out that my favorite black and deep colors were not attractive on me. Unfortunately, the colors I've always hated (pastels!) make my face stand out in a positive way. I now use lots of scarves in light pink and baby yellow next to my face so that I can continue to wear deep navy dresses.

One more thing: consider dying your hair. I absolutely love pale skin with dark hair and dark eyes (my natural color is the darkest brown and my skin is really pale with olive peach undertones--think Daisy Lowe coloring), but it's hard for me to pull off without looking sickly (it seems like my dark circles are intensified). When I lighten my hair up to a golden brown, honey blonde, or very light auburn, I look so much better. It isn't my personal ideal--my long, dark hair always got compliments--but I need all of the help I can get to not look like the walking dead. Not everybody is blessed with the wide-awake complexions of Audrey Tautou or Mary Louise Parker.

If you don't want to experiment with dying your hair, keeping your hair gorgeous can go a long way to not looking tired. If your hair is a shiny, glossy work of art, people will focus on that and not your 'tired complexion'.

Uh, I just wrote an essay and I could really continue for hours. I think I need to stop now.
posted by 200burritos at 1:29 PM on June 30, 2012 [28 favorites]

I had my makeup done professionally for an event a few years ago, and was surprised when the artist dotted a slightly lighter concealer not just under my eyes, but all the way up the inside corners alongside my nose -- pinch the bridge of your nose to find the area she lightened. The effect was miraculous! Not obvious, and definitely made me look more awake.
posted by apparently at 1:47 PM on June 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Learn from the emoticons. :-( is sad. :-) is happy. Try to make all your lines go up. Can you style your hair to have an ascending look and avoid long hair hanging down? See if you can keep a smile on your face (without looking like an idiot). Memorize a few charming scenes that make you smile and bring a sparkle to your eyes: kitten with ball of yarn, flower poking through a city sidewalk, that kind of thing.
posted by Cranberry at 1:48 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't remember where I got this tip, but I think there's some truth to it. Don't put mascara on your lower lashes for daily wear. Because most of our indoor lighting is overhead, fuller lower lashes will cast a shadow, darkening your under eye area. Which is pretty much counter to what your are trying achieve.
posted by kimdog at 1:54 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all for the responses so far :)

200burritos -- the Tarte inner rim highlighter looks fabulous, but doesn't ship to the UK and I can't find a stockist in the UK from my googling. Do you (or anyone else) know of a similar product available in the UK or where might sell it here?

Cheers again all!
posted by thetarium at 2:01 PM on June 30, 2012

Benefit Eye Bright is really, truly wonderful. And seconding Benefit Benetint, which gives you a healthy rosy glow.
posted by mochapickle at 2:15 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you can get Benefit in the UK, I love Erase Paste for just this reason. It's a concealer with a faint pinky/melon tint that's brightening without being even the tiniest bit sparkly. I use it under my eyes and at the inner corners every day. I add some at the corners of my nose and around my mouth when I'm looking really rundown. When I'm having mega insomnia, I layer it thinly over a fuller coverage concealer (Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage) to get a combo of coverage and brightening.

Actually, Benefit has a real focus on brightening makeup. Eye Bright would also be great at the inner and corners of your eyes and on your brown bone with some Lemon Aid on the lid.

Also, do you curl your lashes before you put on mascara?

Finally, my skin is very fair with a tendency toward unevenness and blotchiness, and I recently started using Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation, and it's kind of amazing. It's not heavy or mask-like; really, it's virtually undetectable on my skin other than the fact that I look remarkably smooth and rested.
posted by mostlymartha at 2:17 PM on June 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

You've certainly come to the right place - I just answered a question about this yesterday on Reddit. Also, if I went a day or two without makeup in high school (for me, this entailed constant insomnia and a barrage of medicines for migraines and other issues), I was always asked if I was on drugs, why I looked so tired/sick, or why I had two black eyes.

For dark circles, I use either Hard Candy Glamouflage (in "light") or Maybelline Instant Age Rewind (in "yellow") concealer, then put some powder on top to prevent creasing. The Maybelline kind feels thinner and somewhat less sticky (also, yellow concealer is often used for correcting dark circles). Glamouflage is designed to be applied in multiple layers to build up to the coverage you want (however, I'm not sure if you can easily get it shipped to where you live). In addition to concealer on the circles under my eyes, I put some under my lower lash line and above my eyes because it looks a little dark/dull there if I don't.

The Tarte inner rim highlighter just looks like a nude/beige concealer or eyeliner pencil. You could try searching for "nude eyeliner" or "concealer stick". Personally, I use a white Maybelline concealer stick (it's more of a creamy off-white than true white) in the inner corners of my eyes to help me look more awake.

Blush and lip color make a big difference for me as well. I'm fair skinned and don't really have color in my cheeks or lips without makeup, so I look instantly healthier/more vibrant if I apply these.
posted by cp311 at 2:21 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have found Clinique Air Brush concealer very effective for making around my eyes appear lighter. It doesn't cake on as it's not a heavy concealer as such it just sort of lightens things up so you don't notice the bags as much. I think Clinique stuff is available in the UK.
posted by wwax at 2:28 PM on June 30, 2012

Have a gander at this guy's makeup tutorials, starting with Highlighting and Contouring.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:39 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: cp311 - I empathise with your high school experiences. I have often had similar when going out without a face of make-up on, and even at times when I've made myself up [:(]...

Them: "You must be having such a hard time, you must be soooo tired, I can tell from your face"
Me: "Erm, no, actually, I'm feeling like I have a little more energy than normal today. That's just my face. Thanks." [GOOD DAY]
Me: "Yes, I am beyond tired, I could sleep for a year, but you know what? I pulled it together and got dressed and came out to do stuff, like seeing you, and being functional, so. Thanks for such a motivational comment." [BAD DAY; or what I would say on a bad day if I could get proper words/sentences/thoughts together]

I am finding comfort reading replies, not just because of all the awesome tips etc., but to hear that other people need camouflage too!
posted by thetarium at 2:41 PM on June 30, 2012

I often look tired; I am REALLY tired of explaining that this is "just my face." So things that help me:

1) Queen Helene Mint Julep mask. It helps even my skin tone and while it's pulling oil out of my face has this tightening effect which makes my face look more vibrant, awake, smooth.

2) Bobbi Brown concealer/corrector. I got this off eBay - it's basically a two color palette with both a concealer and a corrector as well as a finishing powder. With a small concealer brush, I brush both of these on, set with powder, and then finish with a bit of cream foundation.

Then I look alive.

For the rest of my makeup, I generally don't put much foundation on the rest of my face unless absolutely necessary, because heavy makeup ages me. I also never put any eye makeup on my lower lids.

I mostly wear eye makeup - liner, powder, mascara. For staying power, I use primer and foundation on the top lids, then line my eyes, usually with a gel liner or a cheapie kohl pencil. Then I smudge eyeshadow and a bit of powder on top of it. I also powder my eyeshadow after I put it on. This tends to keep my eye makeup from traveling.
posted by sm1tten at 3:03 PM on June 30, 2012

Nthing Tarte inner rim brightener or whatever equivalent you can find. Also try drops for red eyes.

Wet N Wild's H2O waterproof liquid eyeliner does a great cat eye that doesn't smudge at all, if you're still having the smudging issue with whatever liquid eyeliner you're using now.

I'm assuming you use primer for whatever undereye concealer you use, but if you don't, try that. Using primer, then liquid foundation, then powder foundation is good for color coverage. I use Smashbox Photo Finish primer, Lancome Teint Miracle liquid foundation, and Bare Minerals original powder. Then I add Makeup Forever eyeshadow in matte ivory below my eyes.
posted by quiet coyote at 3:09 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

No7 do a good green based colour correcting primer to wear under foundation, and minimise redness or uneven skin tone. MAC's studio sculpt foundation also provides really good coverage. I like nudey/bronzey eyeshadows for daytime and always feel like I look more awake when they are silver based rather than bronze based.

Having had many different hair colours over the years I agree that going lighter would make a difference.

And for moisturisation, in between toning and moisturising, I've recently started alternating between no7 beauty serum and a Liz Earle facial oil, then following this with a day or night cream.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:11 PM on June 30, 2012

You might already do this if you're doing the glam look, but my makeup professor in college (theatre major) always said to curl your eyelashes every day to keep from looking tired. I usually heat up my eyelash curler with my blow dryer to make them curl more and make it last longer. Or they sell heated eyelash curlers, but I can't recommend any because they scare me.
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:17 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You should check out some Lisa Eldridge videos! She's a British makeup artist, so most of her recommendations should be available to you.

Dark Circles
Pick Me up Makeup
Morning After
posted by grapesaresour at 3:22 PM on June 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

Came in to recommend Lisa Eldridge, specifically the Morning After videos. Also, this if you can't get the Inner Rim Brightener. I second the Erase Paste by Benefit. When buying a good blush, think the hottest pink you can find. It looks absurd in the pan, but it will work on the face. In fact, the now discontinued Chanel Turbulent should be your guide to the correct color. It looked good on everyone. This is an excellent lip for reviving the face and universal in its sheerness (I believe more universal than Clinique's Black Honey, although that is nice). The Clinique Airbrush concealer is lovely, and going easy on foundation is key, as Lisa Eldridge will demonstrate. I also love a good illuminator, and in the UK, you can get Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector.
posted by oflinkey at 4:43 PM on June 30, 2012

For your undereye circles, the reviewers at Makeup Alley RAVE about sweet almond oil. I don't know if you have to have an account to see the reviews, but here's the link:
posted by moira at 4:43 PM on June 30, 2012

Yeah...I've never understood what people are trying to accomplished with the "you look so tired!" comments. If I didn't get any sleep, I'm probably grumpy and don't want to hear about how tired I look. Otherwise it's just my face, thanks.

Anyway, wearing eyeliner helps me - I typically wear a darker turquoise/jade/blue/brown and curl my eyelashes. Mineral makeup covered mine up pretty well but I didn't like how it looked on my skin otherwise so I stopped using it. Now I use stila shimmery tinted moisturizer with random drug store concealer but I am looking to trade up. The tinted moisturizer is good though because it's not too shimmery but I think the light reflecting particles help to minimize the circles a bit.

I've tried sweet almond oil but for those of us with serious dark circles that are just there all the time I don't think it does much.
posted by fromageball at 5:37 PM on June 30, 2012

It may not work for you, but I am very fair and cool (NW15ish, blue eyes, auburn hair), and I *adore* the YSL Touche Eclat for when I look 'tired'. I use it under my eyes, but also around my lips/mouth/chin, in the lines (especially the triangle ones from the outside end of the nostrils down to the lips), and then a bit up the center of my nose and in between my eyebrows. It's not going to conceal imperfections like a concealer/foundation, but it just... moves the eye away. And it really does make me look less tired. (I use the lightest/pinkest one, Luminous Radiance). For me, it's absolutely worth the entire $40 it costs.

(I'm interested to see what the foundation they're releasing in the Touche Eclat line will be like; I understand they're currently offering samples in the UK...)

I also use the Garnier undereye roller, the one that is just a clear liquid (with caffeine to depuff/brighten) in the green tube, not the one that has a concealer in it. It helps some.

Also, I never do lower eye makeup (lower liner/mascara), because I think it just makes the circles/tiredness worse, but I always think a thin line of liquid eyeliner (I use either brown or navy, usually) along the upper lashes or tightline, plus mascara and brightening shimmery shades of eyeshadow (e.g., UD Half Baked, X, Sin, etc.), with definitely an inner eye highlight (I pretty much always use UD Virgin). It helps me a lot with looking awake.

Highlighters: I like Benefit's High Beam (tops of cheekbones, in between eyebrows, center of nose), because it's pink and pretty, maybe. I think it makes a big difference to how I feel. I also use Physician Formula's Happy Booster powder (in Translucent: and even then I mostly use the light/white color, not the beiges which are too dark), which is very shimmery and highlight-y.

Also, people who comment on how one looks tired are *rude*. I'm sorry people feel they should say things like that to you. :(
posted by lysimache at 7:07 PM on June 30, 2012

Not a makeup suggestion, but as an eyeglass-wearer from a family of eyeglasses-wearing women, I can attest to the amazing ability of a nice set of trendy frames to hide deep, dark under-eye circles. I almost never wear contacts because I look so much older and more tired without my glasses. Perhaps consider frames with clear lenses? It's certainly a great option for days when you don't want to spend 30 minutes making up.
posted by amusebuche at 7:40 PM on June 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Consider manual lymph drainage massage if you can find someone in your area with experience in this type of therapy. Any facial massage may make some difference, but MLD for face, head and neck can reduce puffiness which never looks good. And if your under eye circles are a result of broken/leaking capillaries as is often the case, it will also help clear the area.

Someone else mentioned the Garnier under eye roller. I just got the one with a little tint and I love it - I tried the other one and didn't notice a difference, but the tinted one is light weight, and blends nicely without looking heavy or emphasizing fine lines. I've also used the Benefit products mentioned, and liked those a lot too, but found the thickness of the product often caused it to settle in my lines.

Another thing I've tried, although I can't say if it's made a difference, is to increase the amount of green leafy veggies, especially Kale, which has a lot of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is supposed to increase the strength of capillaries and may reduce leakage in areas such as under eyes. There are also vitamin K topicals on the market, but none I've used have made a noticeable difference, in my opinion.
posted by pinkbungalow at 8:29 PM on June 30, 2012

For dark circles Ben Nye creme stage makeup (only under my eyes) was my staple in college. I wouldn't use it anywhere else on the face for street use but the stuff is formulated to handle stage lighting, it's going to work for dark circles in daylight oh yes. Also inexpensive, comparatively, and it lasts a while. Use a shade lighter than your skin tone and apply with sponge.
posted by newg at 9:55 PM on June 30, 2012

the artist dotted a slightly lighter concealer not just under my eyes, but all the way up the inside corners alongside my nose

This this this!

My under eye circles are epic

I am in the same boat; I am chronically exhausted and inherited a propensity for dark, dark circles under my eyes from my dad. I basically look like I've been punched more often than I don't. (My sister got bags from my mom instead; I actually think the circles are easier to deal with.) I highly recommend the Benefit Realness of Concealness kit, which has a lot of the products mentioned in this thread.

I also recommend dabbing Vaseline under your eyes every night. This will not avoid circles in any way, but it will keep the skin supple. Trust me when I tell you: your circles will not improve with age, and your cosmetic options will not improve with wrinkles. The less dry and less creased that eye area is, the smoother the cosmetic effect.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:30 PM on June 30, 2012

(PS: Debenhams has a Benefit counter. So does Selfridges, and so does Harrods but those women are terrifying.)
posted by DarlingBri at 11:32 PM on June 30, 2012

the artist dotted a slightly lighter concealer not just under my eyes, but all the way up the inside corners alongside my nose

yes! I also I dot all the way up to my brow bone. And I don't put any dark makeup in the corners of my eyes - a tiny touch of white or light cream will reflect light and keep that area from looking dark aka tired.
posted by sm1tten at 10:01 AM on July 1, 2012

(PS: Debenhams has a Benefit counter. So does Selfridges, and so does Harrods but those women are terrifying.)

Larger Boots stores do too, completely non-terrifying, although in the one where I live the counter girls have a tendency to wander round the store and upsell make up when you're looking at shampoo.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:36 AM on July 1, 2012

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Clarins Beauty Flash Balm yet, I don't know if it truly 'works' or if there is some kind of placebo effect going on (don't tell me!), but this tired-all-the-time SAHM swears by it.
posted by Catch at 2:09 PM on July 1, 2012

I wanted to pop back in and add two things:

1) Lightening your eyebrows can also help draw attention up and away from that dark section of your face

2) Eyelash extensions can help with the 'oops I rubbed my eye and now my mascara is making me look terrible again' look
posted by 200burritos at 8:34 PM on July 2, 2012

I'm late to this one. I suggest always curling your eyelashes.

Also, L'Oréal lash building mascara is good, I'm sure you know to separate your lashes with a comb.

Finally, an awakening trick is to line the centre of your inner lower eyelid with a pale shimmery pink. I think Barry M has some suitable pencils. You can also use it to outline the outside of your top and bottom inner eye corners.

I would consider forgoing undereye concealer, if you can, because concealer can curdle and make you look old.
posted by tel3path at 4:29 PM on July 4, 2012

YSL touche eclat highlighter and now there is a cheaper illuminizing version by L'Oreal, can't remember the exact name. Highlight cheekbones and above eyebrows.
posted by bkf at 7:23 PM on July 7, 2012

Response by poster: Quick update: yesterday I had an immensely pleasurable shopping trip for anti-fatigue beauty products, thanks to all the posts above.

I bought:
- Benefit Eye Brightener pencil
- Eyelash curler
- Eye shadow in brightening natural colours
- "Radiance" primer, very light foundation (with awesome colour coverage nevertheless), secret concealer and brightening powder from Laura Mercier. My skin looked so good and glowy with all this stuff on another woman bought all the products instantly saying she wanted her face to look like my face. This has never happened to me before, quite obviously, AND I had only had 5 hours sleep the eye before, and 2 nights this last week NO sleep at all.
- Clarins serum to add to my CTM routine for added radiance boosting

Also, all the responses above made me sort through all my beauty products, throwing out the old stuff (seriously, lipsticks 8 years old are not good to own) and dust off the Clarins Beauty Balm and YSL highlighter.

To all commenters, a massive thank you! Not just for all the recommendations, but for posting and showing that it's not just me who suffers from zombie face on occasion :)
I'm so excited to put on all my new stuff, I might not sleep. But that won't matter because now I can fake a dewy bright well-rested look in minutes :)
posted by thetarium at 4:01 PM on July 8, 2012

That is great! Congratulations on a fabulously fruitful shopping trip :)

I cannot believe I forgot to give you my #1 Best Tip Ever for this particular problem: eyelash dye. Seriously, get your eyelashes dyed at your local salon. This is a great thing because it means you can skip the brown and black mascara. (No matter how good mascara is, it eventually crumbles and cascades under your eyes, which is exactly where you do not need a dusting of dark.) You can still use clear mascara to define and separate lashes.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:25 PM on July 8, 2012

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