How to use makeup to hide a hangover

At least you won’t look like you’re going to vom

We’ve all been there. You went out and had one hell of a night, and now you’re lying in bed in the foetal position feeling like you’re dying. Oh, and you have an important group presentation to give at uni, there’s no way you’re going to get away with being hungover there. There’s only one thing for it, you need to get out of bed and fake being a functioning adult.

You can drink your own bodyweight in coffee to wake yourself up and throw on a presentable outfit to wear, but how are you going to hide your dry and patchy skin, your bloodshot eyes, and your residual beer blush? How will you keep your eyes open? How can you hide any drunken injuries, and mask your chapped lips or pash rash from making out with that random person on the dancefloor?

Well this is where the cosmetics industry comes in, because those tiny, expensive pots and tubes of make-up are going to conceal the fact that you even know what alcohol is, let alone the fact you binged your way through an entire Park Bar’s worth of brews.

First things first, meet Zack and Sophie who volunteered to go out last night so we could demonstrate how to go from drab to fab with authentic hangovers:


Here’s our tips to help you hide that hangover and paint your face to success:

Cleanse and moisturise

The most important thing that you can do is clean off all the leftover make-up from last night, using a gentle a cleanser to avoid any further irritation. We love Micellar Water (a fashion week favorite), as it’s gentle, easy to use, and so cheap. And no it’s not actually just water, its name comes from micelles, which are tiny round balls of cleansing molecules that float in the water.

If you didn’t wash off your make-up and went to bed with a full face of makeup you’ll probably need a more heavy duty cleanser that’ll really reach those pores. In future though, keep some make-up remover wipes by your bed so when you stumble in drunk you can wipe off your makeup, as you don’t want to age your skin and look 40 by the time you’re 30. After you’ve cleansed, slather on a thick layer of moisturiser and leave to sink in for as long as you can to try and really help rejuvenate your skin. If you’ve got the time to wait, night cream is better than day cream as it’s far more intensive.


Now to even out your skin tone and cover up any minor blemishes.

If you don’t usually wear foundation, why not consider a tinted moisturiser or BB cream, as both are lightweight and provide fantastic coverage that will bring you back to your usual fabulous level.

If you decide to go for a foundation then aim for heavier coverage to cover those post night out blemishes, combine this with concealer under those eyes to hide the bags. As you’re hungover the chances are your face is red and blotchy, so using some colour correction products will also help you immensely.


Sophie with last night’s makeup removed and a fresh coat of BB cream and concealer


Use a gentle lip scrub (or even just some sugar) to exfoliate away any dead skin. Then use some face-cream, rather than a lip balm on them, leaving it to sink in whilst you do the rest of your makeup. Sounds odd but it works and you’re lips will feel super hydrated and soft.

If you aren’t really a makeup wearer then you could alternatively use a tinted lip balm. The lip balm will help continue to heal and plump your lips, whilst the tint will add colour and rectify any dryness. Balance Me and Soap and Glory both do great tinted lip balms that contain menthol, which causes a slight tingling effect that helps lips to appear fuller.


Here’s Zack wearing Balance Me’s tinted menthol lipbalm in ‘Sheer Red’ – very natural looking

If on the other hand, however, you’d usually wear makeup then this is a great day to wear a bright glossy lip. Ideally, use a lip primer before applying the lipstick so the product lasts longer and this will also reduce the risk of smudges. Go for a glossy look over matte, as a matte lip will have a drying effect and that’s the opposite of what we’re aiming for. If you want you can use a lipstick over gloss as you’ll get fuller coverage and it’s less maintenance to deal with throughout the day.

When it comes to good colours, blood red and darker colours are best if you’ve got split or chapped lips as they’ll provide the best disguise.



You’d never know she had a split lip


This is probably the most important area to work on. There’s a lot going on here that you need to hide or correct. Starting with the basics, which will work for anyone regardless of whether you usually wear makeup or not, you’ll need a nude pencil eyeliner, an eyelash curler and a hair dryer.

Line your waterline with the nude pencil as this will cancel out the fact that your eyes are bloodshot, making them instantly look more awake and alert.

Next, heat up your eyelash curler with your hair dryer, so that it’s warm but not hot, because if it’s too hot it’ll hurt. Test it on the back of your hand before you put it on your face. Heating it will help you get a better and longer lasting curl. Brush some mascara on after you’ve used the eyelash curlers to maximise this effect, it’ll also make your eyes look bigger and brighter.


Zack did not enjoy his experience with the eyelash curler

If you usually wear eye liner or eye shadow (or both), you may want to apply these before following the previous two steps. With shadow and liner, there’s two ways you could go from here, depending largely on how well you took off your makeup this morning/last night. Today is a great day to do a smoky eye if you’ve still got eye makeup and mascara on from last night and are either too lazy or in too much of a rush to remove.

If you are starting with a totally clean and fresh eye, firstly, well done you. Secondly, crisp, neat lines are your friends here, because nothing says competent and together (and therefore, totally not hungover) like a perfect cat-eye flick.

bright eyes

Sophie with a soft-smoked tiny cat-eye, and Zack finally looking awake

Blush and brows

If you wouldn’t usually do any more than simply skip this step because you’re already done. However, for those who like to add some final touches, do your usual thing, pop on some blusher and fix those brows.


Their smiles hide their pain almost as well as the makeup does

Remember that neater and cleaner is better as it juxtaposes the fact that you’re actually in a hungover state. Today is not the day for heavy punk blush or a messy, “undone” look. Avoid glitter like the plague, because it smacks of party, also, the more work you put into your makeup, the more you can get away with going simple with your hair and outfit.