I Tried All The Tired Mom Makeup Hacks
Here’s what I’m sticking with — and what was a total waste of time.
As a mom, I don’t ask for much: clean clothes that no one has used as a personal tissue; coffee that I can finish drinking before it gets cold; an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom. But my main goal in life is to sleep. And if I can’t do that, I’d at least like to look like I did.
Enter TikTok and its endless life hacks and tricks.
For many, TikTok has become the answer to whatever ails us. Are your homemade cookies every shape except round? Learn how to make cookies so round that even Mrs. Fields will be impressed! That box of leftover pizza that’s too big to fit in your fridge? Choose from one of many videos that will teach you how to make that box a third of its size in minutes! You have a challenge, TikTok has a hack for it.
Well, in my case, I’m not just a tired mom, I’m a tired mom who is also in her late 40s. I have a multi-step skincare routine that includes serums, oils, eye cream, and even snail mucin when my skin feels especially dry. It’s not a fruitless endeavor; my skin has never looked better. But there is only so much that a jar of product can do. I’m not afraid of injectables or a medical laser treatment to help rejuvenate my skin. My dark circles, however, just don’t want to go away. I’ve never been one to shy away from home remedies, and I knew TikTok would have ideas for me to try in spades.
First up was the Glasses Concealer Hack. As the name states, you draw a pair of glasses on your face with concealer. The videos show a heavy-handed swipe of concealer under the eye and under the brow, complete with a swipe over the nose connecting the two and “arms” drawn toward the ears. My first thought was wow, that’s a LOT of product! Not wanting to deplete my favorite concealer, I went for a more affordable option, my tube of Maybelline Fit Me, one of the many products I was convinced to try after seeing it on TikTok.
My hunch was right: It is a lot of concealer. I understand that the top of the glasses is intended to be a primer for the eyelids, but even my beloved Beauty Blender struggled with this product. It looked more like I experimented with a Kabuki-style look rather than a simple under eye hack.
As the concealer began to settle, all my fine lines were more present than ever. Obviously, I used too much product, but in my defense I followed the directions in the video… from a 25-year-old with flawless skin. Maybe I should have looked for this hack from someone of “advanced age”?
In the end, my dark circles were covered. But so were my eyelids and part of my eyebrows. I’m usually a sunscreen, concealer, mascara, lip gloss, and go kind of girl, but in order to work with all the extra products (“Now you don’t need primer!” one of the videos enthusiastically promised) I had to put on nearly a full face of makeup. Otherwise, I would have just been one blob of concealer.
Even then, I didn’t notice much of a difference. I think I’ll stick with my regular concealer routine.
I next investigated various facial massages, acupressure, and cold spoons. Everyone has an idea about how you can manipulate your face to look more awake, and they’re not all great. Some left me with red lines along my face where my fingers had been, while others did nothing. One that I did enjoy was a simple video on reducing eye fatigue with two quick face massages. It felt nice when I did it — always a plus — and my eyes actually did look more open and less like the zombie I was on the verge of becoming.
As for those chilled spoons, you do see an instant boost. It’s nothing that will last all day, but I appreciate that it not only reduces puffiness under my eyes, it also makes me feel a little more awake as well. Plus, it doesn’t require buying anything.
The final hack that lured me in was a DIY turmeric under-eye mask. Women are swearing by this hack, and how-to videos are racking up millions of views. Turmeric apparently has a slew of wonderful properties, as boasted in a wide variety of videos, including the ability to exfoliate, de-puff, lighten dark circles and spots, minimize UV damage, clear breakouts, and on and on. Sounds like a miracle cure to me — that is, if you believe everything you read on the internet.
There were no shortage of videos and recipes; some of the most popular include buttermilk. Personally, buttermilk is not a staple in my fridge. I buy it once a year to make my mom a birthday cake, and even then I never finish it. I decided to look for one that could be made with things I already had, and stumbled on one that was equal parts turmeric and honey. Hooray!
Learn from my mistake and mix your mask in a clear, glass bowl. The turmeric will stain anything. I mixed my potion and applied it with an old makeup brush, then waited 10-15 minutes to let it do its thing. I didn’t notice any sensitivity, as some claim, so I didn’t have to scrub it off mid-mask as I feared and made it through the entire 15 minutes. When I wiped it off, I was pleasantly surprised that my eyes did look a bit brighter.
This mask leaves me with so many questions. Will the turmeric eventually stain my skin? What is the long-term impact of putting this on my face? Will I see any benefits from doing this every so often, or do I have to follow the strict 3x-a-week routine the videos recommend? I’m going to ask my dermatologist, and if she’s on board, I’ll try it again.
Overall, there was no runaway winner when it came to these hacks. While fun to try, none of them were the holy grail that I’d hoped to find. But everyone responds differently, and honestly, you might as well try them out.
As for me, I’ll continue trying the facial massage (when I remember) and on especially rough mornings, I’ll use my $12 ice face roller that I bought on Amazon when I feel puffy. And as fun as it was to draw glasses on my face, that was a complete no for me.
If I ever feel the urge, I suppose I could pivot entirely and embrace another TikTok trend: sleepy eyes and under eye circles. That’s right, people are actually trying to look exhausted. Hey moms… did we start a trend for once? This is one I can easily get on board with. And I don’t even need makeup to do it!
Becky Vieira has been wearing mom jeans since 2016. She writes for a variety of parenting outlets, and can often be found oversharing intimate details of her life on Instagram. She's immensely proud of the time she thought to pee in one of her son's diapers while stuck in her car, as opposed to her pants.
Vieira’s debut book: Enough About the Baby: A Brutally Honest Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood is a guide book for women who recognize the necessity of self-care—even if sometimes the rest of the world does not. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, son, dog, three cats and a partridge in a pear tree.