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Wake up sleepy eyes

Cover-up is your most important tool for looking naturally bright-eyed. © iStockphoto.com/Djura Topalov Cover-up is your most important tool for looking naturally bright-eyed. © iStockphoto.com/Djura Topalov

By Lisa Cohen Lee

Your eyes may be the window to your soul, but they can also give people a glimpse into how sleep-deprived you are sometimes. Dark circles and puffy eyes don't make you feel your beautiful best. 

Of course the best remedy is to get more sleep, but until you can work that into your schedule, grab a cup of coffee and take these steps to looking wide-awake -- even when you're not.  

1. Deflate puffy eyes.

If you already drink coffee or tea in the morning, keep it up. Did you know that caffeinated drinks can help wake up the eyes too, says Dr. Bruce Katz, a dermatologist and director of Juva Skin and Laser Center in New York City, and a clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Caffeine revs up your circulation and that helps keep fluid moving away from the eyes where it can build up. 

Also, anything cold will bring down swelling quickly. Store a jar of eye gel in the fridge. After making your coffee, gently tap it under eyes and on lids for a no-fuss fix. Eye gel that contains caffeine may also temporarily tighten skin, says Katz.

2. Choose a light and natural concealer.

Cover-up is your most important tool for looking naturally bright-eyed. Go for a cream or liquid formula that comes in a tube (instead of a thicker formula in a compact), says Heather Cummings, a celebrity makeup artist in Los Angeles. It will blend better into delicate eye-area skin and look most like your own skin. (Heavier concealers are more prone to caking or creasing.)

Pick the shade closest to your skin tone that also has a slight peach or yellow undertone. The tints help cancel out purple, blue and reddish tones common in under-eye circles.

3. Blend away dark circles.

Here's how to apply concealer around the eyes:

  • Place a small dot on the skin at the inner corners of your eyes.
  • Add one or two more dots under the eyes, covering any discoloration.
  • With your ring finger, lightly tap to blend, keeping the makeup on the hollow above your cheekbone. (Don't blend it down over cheeks.) Continue until the makeup disappears into skin.
  • Finally, dab a little bit of concealer on your lids to even out skin tone.

4. Curl your lashes.

You may think curling is a skip-able step, but it instantly makes eyes look more awake, even if you don't wear mascara. "Curled lashes emphasize the upper part of your eye so you look more alert," says Cummings. Curling also keeps the hairs from partially covering eyes or casting a shadow. Here's how to curl right:

  • Place the curler as close to lash roots as you can.
  • Look straight ahead and tighten the curler, holding it in place for five seconds.
  • Release your grip and repeat once more.

5. Apply a thin coat of mascara.

A dark brown or black mascara helps lengthen lashes and draws attention to the upper part of your eyes. Here's how to apply a little bit of mascara for a natural look:

  • Pick a waterproof formula, since smudges can make the lower lids look dark.
  • Before you apply, wipe the brush with a tissue. This removes excess mascara that might otherwise cause clumps and thickness.
  • Brush through lashes once or twice to give yourself an ultralight application that helps lashes look naturally long. This also helps make eyes look pretty and open.

6. Highlight eyes.

When you use a highlighting cream, it's like flipping on a light switch, says Cummings. The products contain light-reflecting particles, such as mica, that brighten the area and draw attention away from the shadows that make you look tired.

Cummings suggests blending a small amount of the cream just under your eyebrows, at the arch (on the center of your brow bone). Also touch a bit on the skin at the inner corners of your eyes.

If you have an extra 30 seconds, apply a slightly shimmery champagne-colored cream eye shadow on your lid, says Cummings. "Place the shadow at the inner corner and blend it out onto your eyelid with a shadow brush or your finger," she says. "Your eyes will instantly start to sparkle."

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