Thursday, February 01, 2007

Rise and Shine!

The last two and half years of college, I've successfully avoided taking any course that began before 10:30 AM. Sadly, that period of bliss came to an end last week, when I began my new semester with an 8:30 AM class on Mondays and Wednesdays, and a 9 AM class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At a small liberal arts college, you only get a limited selection of courses in each department, with no guarantee that they'll be offered any other semester, and these classes (one on contemporary American art, the other on the anthropology of contemporary Chinese art) were two that I simply couldn't pass up, ungodly hour and all.

I assume that those readers who are in the "real world" are scoffing at my complaints about having to wake up at *gasp* 8 AM, four days a week, and I understand where you're coming from. I've worked full time every summer since I was 17, and I've done the 9-6 thing (with commute), so I know it's really not the end of the world.

But when you're in school, it's like your body morphs into "college mode", unaccustomed to having to move and think during the morning, and the thought of having to be up before 10 AM seems simply inconceivable. With a real job, you know that you don't have the option to go to work that day or sleep in, so you don't even entertain the thought of skipping. But unlike bosses, professors assume that you won't be in class every single day, and let it go if you're missing the occasional class (and if you luck out with a lecture class, they're even more lenient). So that temptation to unplug the alarm clock persists, morning after morning, as you make the conscious choice to do the right thing and drag yourself (in a version of pajamas, no less) to class.

My body is still adjusting to this sleep schedule, and my face has been looking worse for wear as a result. I've got darker circles than usual under my eyes, and my skin is more dry and ashy than usual. To fix this, I've been relying on a few products to keep me looking as refreshed and (cough) radiant as usual.

First, a cup of green tea to get me going. Everyone says that drinking water keeps your skin supple and moisturized, so I try to get in a couple cups with breakfast in the form of green tea, which has lots of added health benefits and just enough caffeine to wake me up. Refreshing flavors like citrus and mint are my favorite.

Second, use products with energizing scents. When I shower in the morning, I like my shampoo, conditioner and body wash to have strong, uplifting scents like citrus, ginger, pomegranate, tea tree and mint (though obviously not all at once). Leave the lavender, vanilla and light florals for later in the day when you want to wind down or smell pretty. Also, using cold water when you wash your face and hair will definitely wake you up, with the added benefit of shinier hair and smaller pores.

Third, find a good concealer to hide undereye circles and stress-induced breakouts. I'm a big fan of cream concealers (as opposed to liquid) because they have better coverage and lasting power. I like MAC's Studio Finish Concealer. And remember, the key to good coverage is layering concealer with powder (my favorite oil-absorbing powder is MAC's Blot Powder) , and always remember to pat it on, never rubbing.

Finally, use a nice tinted moisturizer to add color, reflect light and make you look more alive. Laura Mercier makes a fantastic tinted moisturizer that's attained cult status, but I've also heard great things about DuWop's Revolution Face. If you've never tried tinted moisturizer, go to your local Sephora and give it a try, you'll look and feel like you don't have makeup on, just naturally even-toned, radiant skin.

What you do with your makeup after that depends on how low or high maintenance you are. I like to curl my lashes (it takes 10 seconds but my eyes instantly look larger and more awake), apply a little mascara and swipe on a light, shimmery blush (NARS orgasm is my favorite), but I'm not a huge makeup person.

These are just a few little tricks I've found to look and feel better in the morning, but if you have others, feel free to share in the comments section. I think I'm going to go nap now...

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