January 14, 2016

How to Look Awake and Refreshed When You're Tired and Short On Time

Now here's a topic that is near and dear to my lil black heart. I think as moms we can sometimes get caught up in taking care of everyone else and self-care can really take a backseat. I'm a big advocate of putting my family first, but ain't no shame in finding a few extra minutes in your morning to polish those edges and fake 8 hours of sleep! I didn't think "How to NOT Look Like a Piece of Gutter Trash" would do as well on Pinterest, so I went in a different direction title-wise. However, most days I be feelin' like a hot ass triple grande mess. But here's the rub: when I take 10 to 15 minutes above the neck region, it not only keeps me from scaring all the Target employees (apologies all around, my red and khaki clad brethren), but I feel like I get more accomplished. Is that weird? I really feel like when I'm "pulled together" it gives me a little extra burst of energy throughout the day as opposed to crawling around on the floor with my kids like a swamp monster (which, if I'm being honest, happens about 75% of the time....eh.....85%). Today I told my personal assistant (Siri) to set my stopwatch for 10 minutes and I went to work to see what I could come up with to look as young and energized as possible. Here's what I focused my attention on to get the most "bang for my buck" so to speak.

Splash some cold water on your face as if you're suffering from the world's worst hangover and you need to shock yourself back to reality. Moisturize with a GOOD moisturizer and take a few extra seconds to really massage it into your skin. Now let's get started...

1 | Even out your skintone: If you are one of those people with a perfect peaches-and-cream complexion, thank the skincare gods and move on. If you're like the rest of us blotchy skeezes, get your hands on a good BB or CC cream with buildable coverage that can be applied with your hands.
Department store top pick: It Cosmetics CC Cream
Drugstore top pick: NYX Cosmetics BB Cream (I love the "Nude" color. It is SO neutral with no pink or yellow undertones. It really does such a good job at cancelling out whacky discoloration.)

2 | Find a creamy concealer: On the days I really look tired, there's nothing better than a good, high-quality, densely pigmented but NOT cakey concealer. It really makes all the difference. I like to apply it with a wand applicator which is not only sanitary, but much easier to get it where it needs to go. Check out the handy photo I arted for you below to see where I apply it. If you're wondering, I fill in those under eye areas and forehead area with product. Then I gently press it in with a dampened BeautyBlender. You can gently press it in with your clean fingers though....totes fine!
Department store picks: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer or Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer
Drugstore picks: L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Concealer or Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
3 | Set everything with a radiant powder: This one was a game-changer for me. I was using a basic "flat" finish powder to set everything with in the past, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it wasn't until I switched over to Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten Baked Foundation Powder that I realized just how incredible my skin could look. I can't really describe this stuff in words...it's not shimmery, there's not glitter or sparkle...but it's not flat. It somehow just makes it look like you're glowing without being too over the top. I use the lightest shade "Porcelain" and it still doesn't look chalky! Worth every single penny. There is no dupe for this. You can also find this at Ulta and occasionally HauteLook has Laura Geller events so keep your eyes peeled.

4 | Glow baby GLOW: Say it with me now....highlighter. Unless you're living under a rock, you're familiar with it. And guess what, Ladies and Germs?? I made you another handy cheat sheet below with where I apply mine. It is certainly not a necessary step, but it really adds a dewy-without-being-greasy effect that adds such a beautiful, youthful dimension to the skin. Apply it with a fan brush (or if you don't have one, make sure it's bristles are loosely packed so you don't get chalky.)
Department store pick: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector (Pressed) I use "Moonstone" because I'm pale, but "Opal" is pretty universal if you're any darker than me. You can also find this at Sephora, Ulta, and BECCA's website.
Drugstore pick: e.l.f. Studio Golden Bronzer. This little diamond in the rough is THREE DOLLARS. I use the lightest shade (bottom left corner) and apply it exactly the same as my BECCA. This is a seriously impressive highlighter. Don't be fooled by its price or the fact that it's labeled as a "bronzer". I'm not kidding, grab this at Target next time you're there. 
5 | Line your waterline (that wet area between your lower lashes and your eyeball) with a creamy nude liner: ignore anyone who tells you to use a white liner unless you want it to look super obvious or harsh. You want a nude liner. This gives you that "wide eyed" doe look and cancels out redness like no one's business. Such a quick step that makes a huge difference. I just lined my lower water line here.
Department store pick: NARS 'Larger Than Life' Liner in Rue Bonaparte
Drugstore picks: Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Liner in "Nude" or NYX Wonder Pencil (I use 'Light')

6 | Lay off the heavy liner on the lower lash line: I have nothing against wearing liner on the lower lash line, but if you skip this step it not only saves time, but it makes your eyes look so much more "open" and awake. If you must put something down there, try using an angled brush and smudging a pretty bronze shade along your lower lashes. It'll give you definition but will look so much more modern and youthful. I like Maybelline Color Tattoo in "Bad to the Bronze".

7 | Brows on the fleekiest fleek: It's 2016. Let's resolve to get our brows in ship shape, shall we? If you do nothing else for your beauty routine, do this. It makes the heftiest difference. If you are clueless on where to even begin, I highly suggest visiting a pro. The gals at Anastasia Brow Studio at Nordstrom as well as any of the Benefit Brow Bars (Macy's and Ulta) can really help you shape and choose the correct products. Powders, pomades, pencils...if you don't know which is best for you (and you may need to try a few before you land on the one that's best) they will break it all down for you. I use a combination of Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade with a stiff angled brush and Brow Wiz from the same line.
Drugstore picks: NYX Micro Brow Pencil and NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder (this one is neat because you can experiment with the powder OR use the clear gel that's included and create your own pomade. This is a fabulous brow product for under ten bucks.)

8 | Find a moisturizing, flattering lip product: I love me a strong, matte lip. But when I'm in a hurry and need to look healthy and awake, I usually reach for something I don't need to use a liner with, and something that looks like MLBB (my lips but better).
Department store picks: YSL Rouge Volupte Tint In Oil and Stila Color Balm Lipstick (I like 'Isabelle' and 'Maya').
Drugstore picks: Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter and CoverGirl Oh Sugar! Lip Balms

9 | Cream or stick blush: I usually reach for a cream or stick blush when I look extra wiped out for a couple reasons. One, I'll take a dewy glow wherever I can get it, and two, it's faster (for me). If you're faster or more comfortable with a powder, just make sure you choose a punchy (but sheer) color to perk things up. Another nice thing about using a cream or gel is that it can double for a lip color!
Department store picks: NARS The Multiple Stick and Chantecaille Cheek Gelee
Drugstore picks: NYX Cream Blush and Colour Prevails Bashful Beauty Multi Stick 

10 | Don't forget your hair: I am a frequent offender of the top knot (or man bun as I like to call it) which can look super cute when done correctly, but it takes me the same amount of time to do a center part and twist the sides back securing with a cute clip or bobby pins, or today I did a few extremely fast braids, pulled them apart, and just secured with bobby pins at the nape of my neck. Way more polished. Pinterest is great for quick ideas for hair. My favorite lately is Twist Me Pretty though. If you don't follow her, you're missing out. She's incredible. My hair isn't as long as hers, but I can still get some great ideas from her and they're super easy to execute (most of them). Here are some of my favorite hair accessories right now!

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