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Is It Just Me, or Does My Skin Look Better in the AM?

You wake up and go through your morning routine of cleansing, moisturizing, makeup-ing and perfecting. You do a final mirror check and confidently head out the door to unleash your flawless face on the world.

But, when you look in the mirror later in the day, it seems like there’s all kinds of blemishes and imperfections that weren’t there this morning. How is this possible?!


Sound familiar? You’re not crazy.

It can be super frustrating to go through all the time and effort to get made up in the morning only to discover your skin has betrayed you by revealing all kinds of surprise flaws.

Pimples and blemishes pop up, wrinkles and puffy eyes are revealed, your complexion is uneven. Your skin is more oily or more dry.

A recent survey by TODAY and AOL found some astonishing facts about our appearances.


If we’re spending so much time getting ready, what’s happening throughout the day that’s making us feel not-so-great about how we look?

Today, I’m going to uncover why this sneaky phenomenon happens and what you can do to avoid it so you can rock a near-flawless face until you clock out and settle in for the evening.

Reasons Imperfections Appear Throughout the Day

Why do I feel like my face has aged since this morning?

The idea of glowing “morning skin” may not be a myth.

The answer has to do with fluid distribution. When we’re lying flat while sleeping, the fluid in our body gets evenly distributed.

As dermatologist, Dr. Neil Shultz explains:

“Most people experience some facial swelling overnight from lying down. That extra fluid helps to fill out the fine lines, making them less visible.”

Photo courtesy of labmuffin


That’s why when you wake up, your skin may look more youthful and firm. However, as the day goes on, and gravity does its thing, fluids are drawn down away from the face taking some suppleness with it.

Another factor is that your skin repairs itself while you sleep, rebuilding collagen and elasticity and battling free radicals that can weaken skin.

So, in the morning, you’re seeing skin after it’s had a mini makeover sesh.

Now let’s take a look at some things that occur during the day that can add to the appearance of these mystery flaws.

Problem: You look fresh faced in the morning, but tired by sunset

Remember that fluid thing we were just talking about? That and gravity team up to wage an assault on your skin.

Together, they pull fluid away making wrinkles, eye circles and sagging more apparent (thanks, Earth!)



Other factors such, as a loss of collagen and elastin due to age and sun damage, can also contribute to us looking dragged down at day’s end.

Solution: Moisturize. Providing your skin with moisture and hydration will have a plumping effect which will smooth fine lines and make skin more firm and supple.

Look for moisturizing formulas that also help rebuild collagen and elasticity to firm and tone skin.And, make sure you’re staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This will help to flush out toxins and make skin look healthy and radiant.

You can also help skin by getting plenty of sleep. They don’t call it beauty rest for nothing!

Problem: Sleepy, puffy eyes and dark circles

When your eyes look tired, they can instantly add a layer of exhaustion to your face inviting those very unwelcome, “You look tired” comments. (Honestly, there’s never a good time to say that, am I right?)

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There are a few reasons you might have sleepy peepers.

  • Puffiness - Fluid retention from bloating, hormonal changes, dehydration or lack of sleep can cause the skin around eyes to get puffy. Other factors such as irritants and allergies, or eye fatigue (from doing things like staring at a computer screen for too long) can result in swelling.
  • Dark Circles - You may just be genetically predisposed to dark circles, and certain skin tones make them more apparent. They also show up more as we get older since the skin around our eyes gets thinner and reveals blood that has pooled beneath the skin’s surface. Hyperpigmentation can also cause dark spots. I personally struggled with melasma after the birth of my second baby that left dark patches around my eyes. Totally worth it, he’s such a cutie!
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles - Gravity, moisture loss and dehydration and repeated movements like squinting (there’s no shame in reading glasses) can all make wrinkles look deeper. Sun damage also accounts for a large percentage of aging since it breaks down collagen. Even little bits of sun exposure throughout the day can add up over time, so wear your daily SPF!

Solution: Besides the no duh answer of trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, you can also do wonders for your eyes by using an anti-aging eye cream or serum to lock in moisture, firm skin and smooth away fine lines.

For those mornings when you still wake up with tired eyes, try a gel eye pad to soothe and depuff before applying your moisturizer.

And, for dark circles, look for a under eye concealer that will brighten eyes and stay with you all day.

Problem: Mid-day oily skin

If you have an oily or combo skin type, you may feel like you start out matte in the morning, but you’re rocking shine by lunch time.

This could be happening for two reasons.


Glo Minerals

1. You’re predisposed to having oily skin which means your skin produces more sebum (your skin’s natural moisturizer) than average, and sebum production can be higher in the middle of the day.

2. You’re stripping skin of natural oils in the beginning of the day with harsh cleansers or wrong products. When you dry out your skin, it will retaliate by producing even more oil.

Solution: Use gentle cleansers and toners or astringents in the morning to maintain skin’s balance, and look for moisturizers formulated for oil control.

You can also use mattifying primers and makeup, and do quick touchups with powder throughout the day to reduce shine. And, make best friends with blotting papers for a quick skin refresh.

Problem: Your makeup performs a disappearing act

It can be annoying to look in the mirror and see that the makeup you applied in the morning has slipped off, smudged or disappeared altogether.

This can only add to the flaws you were attempting to diffuse in the first place.



Lost concealer can reveal blemishes and dark circles. Smudged eye makeup can make it look like you have dark circles. And powders and liquids can settle into wrinkles and creases, or become non-existent.

Solution: Start with clean and moisturized skin to make sure it’s your perfect canvas for makeup. A primer and setting powder can give everything more staying power.

Look for long-lasting, waterproof, or smudgeproof formulas.

And, check out my in-depth tutorial on how to make sure makeup stays put.

Problem: Complexion gets more dull, uneven or blemished as the day goes on

Besides your makeup leaving town, your skin may seem like it loses the morning’s even tone to become more blotchy or dull by the day’s end.

If you have issues such as redness, acne or rosacea, they can become irritated or inflamed by things you encounter throughout the day such as heat, weather, stress, sweat, or even food allergies or products that might be causing irritation to your skin.



Our complexions can also become dull from accumulated dirt, pollutants, impurities, dead skin cells and sun damage, all of which can cause our skin to take on an uneven tone.

This combined with things like touching your face can also cause blemishes to pop up.

Solution: If redness or inflammation is your concern, make sure you’re using products formulated for sensitive skin that aim to calm flare ups so you’re not upsetting skin at the very start of your day.

To avoid dullness, regularly exfoliate skin (2-3 times per week unless otherwise directed) to buff away buildup and keep skin fresh and even.

And, wear your SPF! This is the best way to protect skin from all those factors that can age and dull your complexion.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t look AM fresh even at the end of the day! Beat the second-half slump with some of my favorite formulas.

My Top Picks for Looking Flawless All Day


iSClinical Youth Eye Complex

Look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the whole day through with this formula that smooths and plumps skin and increases collagen and elastin to firm it up and reduce wrinkles. It also soothes puffy eyes and diminishes redness and dark circles so your eyes look youthful and lively no matter what the day brings you.


Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Mask

Got a case of tired eyes? Make bags and puffiness disappear before you even head out for the day with this eye mask. These magic little pads provide collagen, antioxidants and vitamins to skin to hydrate, reduce baggage and make eyes look bright and youthful.

Alana Mitchell Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum

Vanquish the mid-day drag down by giving skin a dose of powerful moisture. I formulated my serum with hyaluronic acid to deliver hydration deep into skin’s layers. It boosts skin’s moisture by 10x so fine lines and wrinkles are reduced and skin is left supple and youthful!


GloTherapeutics Oil Control Emulsion

If you’re tired of battling afternoon shine, start your day with this amazing emulsion. This oil-free formula absorbs quickly and includes hyaluronic acid to give skin lightweight moisture. Plus, antioxidants and antibacterial agents mattify skin and keep oil in check!


Glo Minerals Blotting Papers 100 Sheets

Speaking of keeping oil under control, these blotting papers are the perfect way to do quick touchups while you’re out and about. They instantly absorb excess oil to mattify and eliminate shine so you’re refreshed and good to go!


Mineral Air Cordless Airbrush in White

If your makeup clocks out before you do, you should check out this mineral makeup airbrush system. I tried it and loved it so much I added it to my store! It’s super easy to use, and provides you with super lightweight, but also great, buildable coverage. It comes with three shades of liquid mineral foundation so you can mix your perfect color match. Plus, the makeup is really like four products in one - a primer, concealer, foundation and hydrator - so it really cuts down on your get ready time. Most importantly, it won’t ditch you midday. One application lasts 10 hours!


Eminence Organics Bright Skin Masque

Uneven or dull skin? Treat yourself to this powerful masque which utilizes organic ingredients to brighten and even out your complexion by decreasing melanin production by 51% and dark spots by 29%. You’ll be amazed at how it reduces hyperpigmentation, blotchiness and dullness to reveal uniform, radiant skin!


Dermalogica Extra Firming Booster

What do we say to sagging skin? “Not today!” This firming booster includes powerful ingredients that noticeably firm skin and reduce fine lines almost immediately upon application. It also helps to fight free radical damage and works to restore collagen, as well as infusing skin with vitamins and nutrients.

Final Thoughts

It can be a challenge to maintain our skin’s morning daisy freshness throughout the day, but the best thing you can do is practice good, regular skincare every morning and night.

This way, you’re setting skin up to look its best throughout the day and helping it do its optimal repair and healing at night so you wake up ready to go!

Do you notice skin imperfections popping up throughout the day? We’re happy to help! Share your questions and thoughts with us in the comments section!

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