How to look like you’ve had 6 hours of sleep…when you’ve only had 3

I was feeling somewhat sorry for myself this morning. Probably had something to do with the fact that when the clock struck 3am, I still hadn’t gotten any z’s. ‘I don’t know anyone else who sleeps as little as we do,’ I wailed to the professor when we were standing in the kitchen inhaling our coffee. He made some comment about how people with seriously ill children probably sleep less than we do. True. But.

‘Do my eyes look as small and puffy as they feel?’ he worried as I drove him to the bus stop. I didn’t bother saying ‘no, they look totally fine.’ We’ve been married nearly fifteen years – I said ‘yep’.

When I got home, I looked in the mirror. The dark circles under my eyes…had dark circles. And all I could think was ‘I need to have more coffee’ and then it hit me. Major lightbulb. A ‘let’s turn these lemons into nothing remotely resembling lemonade’ moment.

I’m something of an ‘expert’ in subsisting on little sleep. Perhaps I could fabricate some tips for other people in my ‘situation’ on how to look well-rested…even when they’re not. It may be indicative of my current mental state that I actually thought this was a great idea.

The life-altering tips are:

1. Drink one cup of coffee (self-explanatory)
2. Makeup

This is an area fraught with pitfalls. You need makeup to hide your dark circles’ circles and to give your face a faux glow. But a light hand is of the essence here. Because, frankly, nothing says ‘I got no sleep at all last night’ like a face caked with makeup.

Two products are your friend in your quest to look well-rested: Pur Minerals pressed powder and Smashbox Photo Op eye brightener. And a miraculous mascara that will somehow make your cowering-from-light eyes look as big as possible. Today is not the day to line your eyes. A small eye, lined, looks even….smaller. And thus, more tired. I could use a certain celebrity as an example but that wouldn’t be very jenerous of me. (Hints: Carrie, Alexander McQueen, last year’s Academy Awards.)

And, to finish, a light lipstick or gloss with a complexion-friendly hint of pink. Do not bust out the bright red or the dark brown today.

3. Manicure

A great way to detract attention from your tired face, is to paint your nails. People are so busy looking at your nails ‘hey, you painted your nails!’ that they don’t even notice the 2mm wide slants that were once your eyes. If, however, your hands look slightly leprosy-like on account of scrubbing the oven using toxic cleaners…and no gloves, a very pale color would be much better than, say ‘Carnevale Grape’. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

4. Drink a second cup of coffee (self-explanatory)

5. Wear a skin enhancing shirt.

As in, a shirt that makes your skin look good. (Not one that maximizes certain assets, though come to think of it, that might be a brilliant face-deflection strategy if, um, you have assets.) What I mean is, today is the day to wear blue, purple, red, pink, or green. It is not the day to wear black or gray. But, whatever you wear, make sure it doesn’t have a huge snot stain on it – hypothetically speaking, again. Come to think of it, a snot stain does help to detract attention away from a tired face. So, it’s a toss-up, really: would you rather people think you’re a slob or you look incredibly tired? Your call.

6. Accessories

Little known fact: while you will look bad the day after a night of little sleep, you will look even worse the next day (i.e. if you sleep poorly on Monday night, you will look a little off on Tuesday, but you will look really terrible on Wednesday. No matter how much you slept on Tuesday night.) I’ve no idea why, but it’s true.

All that to say, save your accessories for that second day. When makeup and a bright shirt alone aren’t going to cut it. That’s the day to wear a necklace or a scarf. And earrings. And possibly a hairdo. (Maybe a a sequined burkha. Bhurka?)

And if you’re thinking, ‘um Nicola, you look like crap most days, your tips aren’t actually working’….well today was my first day of trying out said tips and I have to say when I looked in the mirror at 7.52pm, I wasn’t afraid of my reflection. Also, the professor said ‘hey, you look good today’ or something like that. And I said ‘I know, I’m wearing makeup!’ And a snot-stained shirt. And a bad manicure.

Now, I just need to find a necklace for tomorrow. And a scarf. And maybe some fingerless gloves to cover up the leprosy.

(Alternatively, wear peacock-blue fingerless gloves and don’t even bother with the makeup, because no one will be looking at your face.)

10 thoughts on “How to look like you’ve had 6 hours of sleep…when you’ve only had 3

  1. I feel like I could easily author the counterpoint “How to look like you got 3 hours of sleep… when you’ve really had 6” if only I could get six hours of sleep.

  2. I would say that all your tricks of the trade worked today (I noticed the nails but now feel like maybe I slighted you by not mentioning them.

  3. Ah, professor that was nearly worthy of an LOL. Adrienne, I’m adding you to my list of ‘people who sleep less than I do’, along with Vicky. Might I suggest that the name you gave your baby girl is the culprit here. In addition to ‘victorious over the people’ it also means ‘poor sleeper’ or ‘prone to insomnia’. Kim, you didn’t say ‘hey, you look really tired today’, so, mission accomplished!


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