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Skin Deep

Skin Deep: These makeup tips will help you disguise how really, truly tired you are

As the saying goes, fake it until you make it.

Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t tired. I have a toddler, which is obviously a significant factor, but I reckon most of us are tired pretty much all the time. As a result, we are all doing our very best to put on a decent performance of ‘healthy and energetic person’ every day. Some of us are better than others. I, for example, am doing badly. The good news is that makeup can help. Here are some solid tips for faking your way to wide awake and chipper via the medium of product.

It’s a good idea to start with a solid skincare routine, and if you have one, a brightening serum. The idea behind brightening skincare is that active ingredients will enliven a dull-looking complexion, often via mild acids. I like The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA serum, which is only €8.90, but very effective (Alpha Arbutin is a gentle but powerful skin brightener). If you have some money to spend, Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum revives and hydrates skin via collagen-boosted Vitamin C. You can find it in Space NK in Dublin or online here.

Once your actual skin is sorted, it’s time to make up. My favourite complexion products for days when I feel particularly grey and tired are illuminating. Anything matte feels like it’s sapping even more energy from my face, I find a glowy look mimics the health I wish I felt coursing through my veins.

Currently, my favourite product for this purpose is It Cosmetics’ Illuminating CC+ Cream (now available at Arnotts) which offers excellent coverage for a product which isn’t a foundation, as well as broad-spectrum factor 50 protection and skincare benefits. It leaves my skin looking healthy and glowing without any unnatural glitter, and I always get compliments and enquiries about it when I wear it. If you don’t own an illuminating foundation or CC cream, it might be worth investing in an illuminating primer to throw on under your usual product. Florimar’s Illuminating primer can give you an extra glow, and it’ll only set you back €9.99.

Once you’ve got your base sorted, give yourself a bit of blush. As I’ve said before, it kills me that so many people skip this step. Blush makes you look healthy and alive, and yes, awake. My favourites are Benefit’s range which almost all leave a glowy look, and Glossier’s Cloud Paints, which leave the most natural flush I’ve ever seen via cosmetics.


Next, it’s time to tackle any dark circles which may be wallowing like endless caverns under your eyes. They are the biggest giveaway when it comes to tiredness, and often the hardest to disguise. If you put too much product on them or apply it badly, it can simply draw attention to a problem area. I recommend using a thin layer of effective concealer in the shape of an upside down triangle under the eye. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye was created for this very purpose and is very bright and intense, but once it’s on it does not budge. I have found that it sometimes settles into fine lines, but this can be rectified by quickly setting the concealer with powder after application. My favourite for this purpose is Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder, which isn’t cheap but lasts an age.

When it comes to eye makeup, there are a few quick and easy tricks for making yourself look fresh and alive, and it starts with keeping the look light. Heavy eye makeup can drag the eyes down, so a few effective products are ideal here.

Start by adding a touch of light shimmer to the inner corner or your eyes. This will make them look bigger and brighter, as will lining your waterline with nude eyeliner. I remember watching my mother do this in the eighties, and thinking it looked mental, but back then the choice was limited to a bright white, whereas now there are lots of flesh tones you can choose from. Choosing a colour close to your skin tone is the best option here, as it shouldn’t be screaming ‘I’M WEARING EYELINER’, but instead, give an inconspicuous boost to your eyes. Finally, curl your lashes! You’d be surprised by how much it will open them up.

While I often favour a bold lip or eye, when it comes to looking bright, fresh and alive, there’s nothing like a relatively neutral lip. That doesn’t necessarily mean nude, but dark heavy lipsticks may be counteractive to proceedings. I like a rosy pink which mimics the natural colour those English Rose girls in films seem to always have. You know the ones, they’re always flushed because a man has just spoken to them or because they’re cross about something absolutely minor in the grand scheme of things.

New Product

This week’s new product is actually an old product that’s coming back for more! When I was nineteen Mac’s Hyper Real Foundation was my holy grail. It was full coverage but with a pearlescent finish which gave me the glowy skin of my dreams. Now, the Hyper Real range is back but updated for 2018 in a part-foundation, part-highlighter formula. See it in action above.

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