If you constantly burn the midnight oil and keeping struggle to keep up with an inbox that rivals Mount Kilimanjaro, you’re bound to lose your A-game when it comes to your appearance. Don’t reach for a paper bag to cover your head — we polled top pros for tricks to look fabulously refreshed when your usual get-up-and-go has gotten up and gone (letting you nix the naps and the Red Bull). Here you’ll find quick pick-me-ups for skin, hair and makeup. “Liking what you see in the mirror raises endorphin levels, so you feel happier,” says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a dermatologist and psychiatrist in New York City. Getting a more gorgeous look and a sunnier disposition? Now that’s a reason to jump for joy!
Power your shower
Break out the bubbly. A stimulating scalp-massaging shampoo preps strands for styling and washes away oil that makes hair limp, says Frédéric Fekkai, a hairstylist in NYC. “Be sure to fully saturate hair so suds flow from root to tip,” he says.
Shine on. Tossing and turning at night tangles strands and roughs up cuticles, leading to dullness, says Elie Noufal Gerdak, owner of the Elie Elie Salon in McLean, Virginia. Banish bed-head: Spritz damp hair with diluted lemon juice before blow-drying. “Citric acid smooths hair so it reflects light,” he says. Bonus: The scent is mood-lifting.
Add salt. Moving in slow-mo means your circulatory system is sluggish, too. The result? Less oxygen-rich blood reaches the skin’s surface, making you look less radiant, says Jeannette Graf, M.D., a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. Exfoliate your body with a salt scrub to kick-start blood flow, invigorate your skin and elevate energy.
Multitask with a mask. While brushing your teeth, let your face absorb rejuvenating ingredients. “Treatments packed with vitamins and antioxidants plump the skin’s surface to create a dewy complexion,” says Vermen M. Verallo-Rowell, M.D., creator of VMV Hypoallergenics skin care in Manila, Philippines.
Video: Dermatologist spills skin secrets Soothe irritation. “When you’re under pressure, the body begins releasing chemicals that cause inflammation,” says David E. Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. “Skin becomes easily aggravated.” Calm redness with products that contain calming chamomile and aloe. To fend off dry, itchy skin caused by dehydration, halve your weight and drink that many ounces of water per day, Dr. Graf says. (If you’re 130 pounds, that’s 65 ounces, or eight 8-ounce glasses.)
Treat your eyes. Apply a caffeine-laced eye cream first thing in the a.m. to perk up peepers as fast as a cup of joe sharpens attention. Caffeine is like a diuretic for skin, drawing out excess fluid to depuff undereye bags, Dr. Wechsler says.
Wake up your makeup
Be clear. Bloodshot eyes are a red alert that you’re running on empty. Fatigue causes blood vessels to expand and absorb more invigorating oxygen, Dr. Graf says. Shut down the bleary look by defining upper inner lash lines with a deep blue eyeliner. “Blue counteracts red, making the whites of the eyes brighter and veins less noticeable,” says Petra Strand, a makeup artist in London.
Brighten up. Opt for a light-reflecting foundation (rather than a matte formula) to impart an energized luminescence, Strand says. Apply with a sponge for even results and dab a pink-toned concealer under eyes to diffuse shadows.
Play with color. “Cream blushes effortlessly fade into skin for a just-back-from-a-run rosy flush,” Barose says. Smile broadly, then apply onto the apple of cheeks using a circular motion. Berry and pink shades are best for fair skin; corals work well for medium and darker complexions.
Give hair a lift
Boost body. Does stress have you up all night? Relax! Losing sleep can double your risk for hair loss. “Most of the time, 14 percent of our hair follicles are dormant,” says Steven B. Hopping, M.D., director of the Washington Hair Institute in Washington, D.C. “Lack of sleep can up that percentage to 30.” To fake fullness, blow-dry roots in several directions (flip sections side to side), suggests Robert Hallowell, a hairstylist in Los Angeles. This motion lifts roots up from scalp, while the heat locks their shape in place.
Don't miss these Health stories
More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?
Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.
- Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
- Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
- CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
- What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says
- More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?
Smooth things out. If your hair looks as frazzled as you feel, blame dehydration. Moisturize your mane with a cream styling product containing conditioning agents such as jojoba oil or panthenol. Rub a dime-sized amount between palms, then grab sections of the ends of dry, styled hair. This technique tames frizz, adds shine and softens strands, Gerdak says.
Instant energy kit
Out of steam? Refresh your look any time of day with these fast-acting, radiance-reviving essentials.
Protect your precious skin
Say ahhh. Clenching your jaw when you’re feeling tense can lead to loss of structural support (both collagen and fat) as well as sagging jowls, Dr. Bank says. Bite feeling tight? Open for five seconds, close; repeat three times.
Be a softie. Stress weakens skin’s protective barrier, which in turn increases water loss. A night cream with megamoisturizer hyaluronic acid restores hydration, Dr. Wechsler says.
Create ‘you look amazing’ hair
Take a stand. To rescue hair from its midday slump, separate into sections all over, then spritz a volumizer throughout the scalp. “Slight hold and texture keep roots standing straight,” Fekkai says.
Pull it up. Does your hair need a 3 p.m. break as much as you do? Brush it into a high ponytail, then pat down flyaways with a serum. “And the polished style makes eyes appear more lifted,” Gerdak says.
Give your makeup a makeover
Fix flakes. To keep your mascara fresh, dip a cotton swab in an oil-free makeup remover, then gently swipe eyelashes and brush away any debris with a lash comb.
Look alert. Squinting at the cursor all day got your eyes looking teeny tiny? Line the innermost corners with a beige pencil. “Adding a touch of light where shadows are most pronounced instantly opens up the eyes,” Barose explains.
Copyright © 2012 CondéNet. All rights reserved.