The No. 1 way to avoid looking tired is to avoid being tired. Sleep is the cure-all for exhaustion, attention-span problems, lack of energy, nuclear warfare — pretty much everything that plagues our lives. But the whole point of Dance Marathon is that you’re not going to be sleeping. Thirty hours will not do wonders for your skin or those bags probably already thriving under your eyes. (Gotta love midterms.)
But there’s no reason that DM should leave you looking like a semi-conscious zombie, even if you feel like one. Throw a few quick fixes in your bag to help your face make it through. If you at least look awake, you can pretend that you aren’t tired. Your body might just be confused enough to fall for it.
Fix #1: Water. This is the easiest and best way to fight off those shadows. You’ll drink tons of water while dancing anyway, but H2O has benefits other than replacing the liquid you’re sweating out. Water keeps skin hydrated and looking healthier, so your face won’t get that drained, pale look that takes over on late study nights. Combined with the aerobic exercise from dancing, water will keep blood flowing to your face and prevent your skin from appearing dull or faded. On a practical note, if you drink enough you’ll be able to sneak off to the bathroom a few more times. It’s worth that extra quart for the chance to sit down for just a little longer.
Fix #2: Plants. DM will serve three meals and ten snacks, but you can stay ahead by packing your own as well. (Your parents would be proud.) Granola bars are delicious, but it’s important to bring some fruits and vegetables too. The natural sugars in fruits and veggies will give you more energy, and they won’t sit in your stomach like heavier snacks would. You’ll start feeling better faster, too; according to the USDA (they’re the all-powerful folks who control the food pyramid), your body can break down and access the sugars and nutrients in fruit and vegetables in less than 30 minutes. Think of it this way: Eat a big bunch of grapes, and before ten songs are over you’ll be feeling much better. If you really don’t want to deal with bruised apples rolling around your bag, guilting your non-dancing friends into bringing you Jamba Juice is another great way to get your fruit fix. Forcing them to fetch you smoothies will also help you forget you’ve been in the Louis Room for longer than you’d like to admit.
Fix #3: Tea. Tea isn’t just for drinking. One of the most well-known home remedies for eye puffiness involves simply putting a wet tea bag over each eye. The tea gurus over at Bigelow Tea even use this as a selling point for their products. Plan to stash a few tea bags in a Ziploc before you head over to registration, but don’t stress too much if all you have are those cheap Lipton bags you stole from Elder dining hall. Although some people might tell you that chamomile tea works best while others swear by the magic of green tea, there’s no real consensus that one type of tea works better than another. As long as it’s tea (note: don’t accept ‘tea’ bags from strangers), you’ll be set. If you’re not planning on changing costumes during your breaks, it might be worth it to take those ten minutes to be the weirdo lying in the corner with tea bags over his or her eyes.
Fix #4: Go naked. For your face, that is. Even if you’re one of those girls who can’t leave her room without mascara, let it go. You know how your face looks when you come back from a frat party: smudged eyeliner, eyeshadow only left above one eye, concealer sweated off? Multiply that look by about ten: That’s how your makeup is going to look by the last block. DM is about philanthropy and helping other people. This is one weekend where you can leave your vanity (and your M.A.C. products) at home.
Fix #5: Cheat. You shouldn’t wear any makeup, but if you bring one item with you, make it eye brightener. Most makeup makes your eyes look darker and more tired, but brighteners are designed so your eyes look wider and more awake. There are tons of brightener pencils and creams at Sephora, and Benefit Cosmetics sells a few products too. If you’ve got to carry makeup, skip the heavy concealers and go for something more low-impact, like the ooh la lift balm. Remember that less is more when it comes to DM-worthy cosmetics. Better to be one of hundreds of people with tired eyes than the one girl with concealer caked under her lower lids. Sometimes conformity isn’t such a bad thing.
Whether it’s what you eat, drink or put on your face, natural is the way to make it through DM without looking like you’re about to die (or already did). When you look at your pictures after your 20-hour sleep recovery, the circles under your eyes shouldn’t stand out: The big smile underneath should.