I can hardly keep my eyes open after another night of fitful sleep due to scary nightmares, wet beds, the desperate cries for a bottle of milk and the possums with their nightly party on the roof. I’m tired.
And I’m certain I’m not the only one feeling like an extra in Michael Jackson’s Thriller after months – nay, years – of sleep deprivation.
We did a survey of 150 women with young children from around the world, and found that:
94% of women with children under 6 get less than the recommended 8 hours sleep per night
Surprised? As if.
I’m just surprised that anyone is getting more than 8 hours. And I want their life.
The women who completed the survey, also took the time to share their best tips and shortcuts to looking alive when you are dead on your feet.
Here are their top 12 tips for looking good when you are tired:
1. Make up
More than half of the respondents claimed that this was the key. One mother advised:
Keep it light, keep it fresh.
If you want to prioritise in order of importance for an awake look, here are the top 4 make up items you’ll need as suggested by mothers:
- 1. Lip gloss or lipstick. Adds instant polish, and distracts from tired eyes.
- 2. Concealer, to cover under eye circles. Yves Saint Laurent Radiant Touch $44.50 was recommended by the mothers in the survey and is also a makeup essential according to beauty editors for its amazing ability to deflect light from under-eye shadows. I can vouch for it too, and lovingly refer to it as my “magic stick”.
- 3. Mascara. It’ll help rid yourself of that bare-faced, somewhat shell-shocked look. I’m a huge fan of Maybelline Great Lash Mascara (check out this article on Budget Beauty Buys from the Supermarket for why). Curling your eyelashescan instantly open up your peepers too.
- 4. Bronzer or blush to take away the ‘ashen’ look. My all time favourite is a true wonder product called posie tint by benefit. Use it as a stain on your cheeks for a really natural glow that stays. As an added bonus you can use it as a lip stain too. At $28 a pop it won’t be the cheapest item in your makeup bag, but I’ll bet it lasts the longest. I’ve used mine daily for nearly 2 years. Or, try a cheek cream which will leave your skin with a fresh dewy finish.
For a useful tutorial on how to achieve bright eyes with your make up, click here.
2. Make more effort with your hair.
This is a great way to deflect attention from your tired face. And it doesn’t need to take too much time.
Some super fast shortcuts used by other mums include:
- Pull your hair back into a ponytail. It looks cleaner and more streamlined, and can give you an instant face-lift. Click here for 5 simple ways to dress up your ponytail.
- Run a hair straightener over your ponytail to smooth it out.
- Dry shampoo can keep your hair looking clean even when you don’t have the time, or energy to wash it.
- A low, messy chignon is fast, easy and tres chic. Click here for a quick 4 step how-to guide.
When your skin is hydrated, you’ll look less tired and withered.
The mothers in the survey recommended using products that do double duty with sunscreens and tinting. I started using You Rebel by Beneft $30 after the birth of my second child and have been amazed by its lovely dewy finish. Someone even commented on my skin which had certainly never happened before! BECCA Luminous Skin Colour Tinted Moisturiser SPF 25+ $41 is also great.
4. Super Sunnies
Why do you think celebrities are always photographed in sunglasses when disembarking from a long haul flight?
It’s not to look cool – although it certainly does help. Sunglasses are a fast way to hide those tired eyes and one of the easiest ways to add instant style to your outfit.
5. Treat your eyes
According to a mum in the survey:
Eyedrops will instantly clean and whiten – like a shower for your eyes.
To freshen the area, try the old-fashioned trick of popping slices of cucumber on your eyes while you lie down for a bit. The quick rest, and coolness of the cucumber will provide a natural pick-me-up.
If you don’t have these in your fridge, try cooling two tea spoons and resting these over your eyes.
In addition, a good eye cream will do wonders for tired eyes.
Look for roll-ons and gels that have cooling agents or include caffeine, such as the Garnier Caffeine Eye Roll-on $15.99. I have tried this for the last couple of weeks, and while I’m not sure it has made a difference to my dark circles, it has a lovely cooling effect which is an instant pick-me-up.
6. Water yourself
Plants wilt without water, and so will you. Try to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day to keep hydrated, and awake. Oh, and the continual trips to the bathroom will keep you moving too!
7. Wash it away
Many of the respondents in the survey swore by a long hot shower to kick them into gear.
My head is fuzzy till I have a shower. It really wakes me up.
Try a blast of cold water at the end, to get your circulation going.
8. A smile
Nothing will brighten a tired face faster. As one mother said:
I use concealer for the dark eye circles, but I still don’t really look good. I think a smile is the best way to look good.
9. Trick yourself
One woman, with two children under 3 shared this tip:
Don’t count the hours of sleep you’ve had. And if you start to think about it, put it out of your mind. I’ve been in denial about my lack of sleep for years.
A cup of coffee can do wonders as an instant pick me up.
But don’t be afraid to try an energy drink either when you are really tired.
They usually pack the equivalent caffeine of two cups of coffee, about the same sugar as a can of Coke, and some contain extra ingredients like Guarana, Taurine and B Vitamins that can give you pretty swift lift.
They are not to be consumed if you are pregnant or nursing though, and you shouldn’t have more than two per day. These days brands like V Energy Drink have extended into iced coffee and sports-type drinks so the perk isn’t just limited to the fizzy format.
11. Add some colour to your favourite outfit
Grab your favourite jeans, your most comfy shoes and top, and toss on something bright.
A happy fun colour will instantly lighten the vibe, and take attention away from tired eyes. And use your crazy-sleep brain to its advantage. experiment a little with bright scarves, coloured earrings, chunky rings, rainbow bangles or a statement bag.
12. And if all else fails…cancel your plans and rest.
Call in sick from work. Excuse yourself from that playdate or the swimming lessons or tuckshop duty – whatever it is you have planned – and put your pyjamas back on.
A working mother with two boys under four stated:
If you really think that the world’s gonna stop if you’re not participating for a day, you are kidding yourself.
Have a guilt, stress and hurry-free day at home with your child to recharge. Watch a movie, read a book and rest together. Your baby, your body, your mind, and your under-eye bags will love you for it.
What is your best tip for looking good when you are sleep deprived?