As someone who regularly stumbles yawning and bleary-eyed into the office at 9AM, I've become adept at concealing my tiredness. It's not like I don't still want to pass out on my coworkers' shoulders—although the fact that they allow me anywhere near their clavicles suggests they have no idea how much I want to nap on them. It's more that I give the impression I'm not secretly eyeing them and thinking, “Ahhh, potential human mattress.” Because really, what separates the professionally exhausted from what's commonly known as a 'hot mess' is nothing more than preparedness and a little sleight of hand (plus coffee; did you know a coffee with two shots of espresso is called a “black eye'? Now you do.). So if you'd like to assemble your own Pillow Fort of Lies, here are a few tricks:
Don't let your eyes betray you
Your stupid eyelids and under-eyes are just waiting to be all weak and let people know you watched eight episodes of Friday Night Lights instead of getting eight hours of Friday Night Sleeps. Eff that noise. Here's how you fix the situation: Visine, cream concealer, and yellow-green eyeliner.
First, the drops. I like to use twice the recommended dose. Is that medically sound advice? Probably not! But this is literally tiny dribbles of eye water we're talking about. If there were going to be a drug in which you could over-indulge safely, it would be Visine.
Now get your eyeliner. “But Lacey.” you may be saying, “why are we using makeup the color of Gak.” Well darlings, it's out of necessity—and an awareness of the color wheel. You see, what you want to do is try and offset whatever bruise-like discoloration you currently have rimming your eyes. And guess what's directly opposite the lovely shade of red-purple making your bloodshot gaze look so intense? That's right: green-yellow. Just line wherever you see redness and blend it out until you don't think you're capable of blending any longer. Or embrace the Gak liner look and tell everyone at work it's a trend you saw on Into The Gloss—I'll vouch for you!
Waterlines look suspiciously vibrant and healthy now? Good; time for concealer. Normally, you might prefer a powder or liquid concealer, but when you're tired the texture of the skin under your eyes gets all crepe-y, so you're going to want something hydrating and opaque—hence the cream. I use a combination of Eve Lom Concealer and RMS Un Coverup, but that is because I am a semi-vampire (a Daywalker, if you will) whose skin is the color of actual paper and who requires Un Coverup's intensely hydrating oil base just to continue looking Un Dead. If you have some liquid or cream luminizer, go ahead and slap that on top, too—can't hurt.
Feign good health
If your eyes don't give you away, your skin definitely will. Your circulation's probably sluggish, so you're sallow, maybe broken out, and at least a little dry. This is why blush and a good CC cream are your best friends. I like MAC's CC cream because it has nice orange-y tones that make me look more like I've been on a jog than just dragged myself onto two different subways and eaten three doughnuts. You're going to want a hydrating formula no matter which brand you choose, though, because again—tired, dehydrated skin needs all the help it can get in the moisture department.
Once you put that on, it's time to layer blush on top. If, like myself and approximately three other people on Earth, you have cool undertones (very pale and very deep skin tones are often cool), baby pink blush will do the trick. I love Nars Sex Fantasy because it's magic; put as much on top of your cheekbones as you possibly can without looking like a clown. If you have warm undertones, which I can say with 95% certainty you do, try peach blush for the same effect.
Make your mouth appealing
If you've been downing espresso (and you should be, because god knows how else you're awake right now), you're going to want some whitening strips and a few mints to cut down on the gross-ification of your teeth. I love coffee, but its results are immediate and unpleasant when it comes to the dentifrices. After that, lip gloss or lipstick in a shade with a hint of pink so you're not all chapped, and voila! You're a passable human. Now get out there and make some sleep-deprived decisions.
Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.