About 10 years ago, I attended a beauty event at which Cate Blanchett was the guest of honour. The evening was suitably glamorous, thanks largely to the organisers having trucked in a small orchard’s worth of cherry blossoms, which transformed one of Sydney’s top restaurants into a softly fragrant Japanese garden.
Cate was the perfect host, articulate and considered, and at one point the languorous small talk drifted on to the subject of the ultimate indulgence. I can barely remember what the other beauty editors described; perhaps one waxed lyrically about a Maldivian resort; another might have mentioned a weekly massage habit. But I’ve never forgotten Cate’s answer: “An uninterrupted night’s sleep.”
Twenty-three-year-old me – who had been expecting decadence and luxury (or at the very least an answer that involved a private jet) – was disappointed.
However, back then, 23-year-old me did not rate sleep particularly highly on the agenda. “Going out late,” “staying at my boyfriend’s house” and “attending beauty events” were all much more important than sleep at that stage in my life.
“Back then, 23-year-old me did not rate sleep particularly highly on the agenda”
Fast forward 10 years and with three children under five, I get it. Cate, I GET IT.
I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in years. What I once thought was tiring – work, events, training for a marathon and post-grad studies – has been completely redefined.
Now it’s my three- and five-year-old’s bedwetting or bad dreams and my one-year old’s molars or 4.45am wake-ups coupled with my endless to-do lists, mum guilt and unanswered emails that leaves me feeling exhausted. And while I’m very #grateful for my #mumlife, I could do without the lack of sleep and dark circles, dehydration and fine lines that come along with the privilege.
But if anyone knows how to conceal the outward effects of sleeplessness, it’s a beauty editor. So here are a few tips and tricks (aside from mainlining caffeine) that I’ve picked up over the years (and which are modelled by my sister-in-law, Klara):
When I started out as a beauty editor, I don’t think I’d ever (*cringe*) had a dark circle. Now, I find myself genuinely excited by the technological advances of today’s eye masks and the range of products available to help rejuvenate tired-looking eyes.
Eye masks are the modern-day equivalent of applying cold tea bags under your eyes to de-puff and hydrate, and they are much less fussy than a full-face mask. I use one every fortnight or so, right before an important event; my kids have grown used to the sight of me running their bath wearing an eye mask.
I love Mecca Cosmetica Bright Eyed Eye Mask (only $7 each) for an instant glow and pick-me-up. Another favourite is Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask ($105 for a pack of 8). Drenched in ARN’s signature super elixir, these eye masks calm, plump and treat at the same time.
Invest In Concealer
If you’re perpetually sleep-deprived you’ll want to be armed with a good concealer. For your eye area, look for a creamy, liquid formula that’s one to two shades lighter that your skin tone to camouflage the blue and greenish undertones you’re trying to cover.
When I’m feeling really tired, I also make a conscious effort to up my fluid intake (a lack of sleep means your skin hasn’t had time to repair overnight and can seem dehydrated), and dab a little extra highlighter on my cheekbones to look more dewy.
Looking for a great concealer? Try Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, a vegan, super creamy formula (and an international best-seller) that blends easily and smooths away fine lines. Another great concealer, if you’re looking for full coverage, is Benefit Boi-ing Brightening Concealer, which also illuminates.
If All Else Fails… Lipstick
Some people might argue that, when you’re tired, bright red lipstick only emphasises skin redness and fatigue. But I find that the psychological benefits of a pop of bright lippy far outweigh any negative effects. For me, a bold lip is an instant mood booster – and an effective distraction from tired eyes.
I love creamy, matt formulas paired back with lots of mascara and very minimal make-up. MAC Retro Matt Lipstick in Ruby Woo is an oldie but a goodie, and the classic colour goes with everything (especially navy and black!). L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Matt in Matt Mon Jules is another favourite – it’s a grown-up, yet playful pink that’s long-wearing, easy to apply and fuss-free to wear.