Life isn’t always glamorous… or even kind, for that matter. We’d rather not talk about crying, but the fact remains that it happens. All of the time. And, yes, to some of us more than others. More often than not, it’s not so much the crying that’s the problem—hey, we all shed tears of frustration or even joy from time to time—but the aftermath of looking like you’ve cried. That’s where these indispensable beauty tips for how to hide it come in.
Assess the situation.
The best thing you can do to make post-cry clean-up easier is to plot before you cry. Can you feel a veritable tidal wave of tears brimming just to the side of your tear ducts? Get thyself to a bathroom or other relatively private location stat. Lock yourself in somewhere safe, do what you need to do, and don’t forget to breathe deeply. Whatever your reason for tearing up in the first place, don’t feel upset or embarrassed about crying. It happens to everyone, and if you feel bad about it, it’ll just make you cry more.
The two symptoms of crying are redness and swelling: Small, bloodshot eyes, flushed skin, and a red, swollen nose are the telltale signs. Fortunately, there’s one super-accessible thing that addresses both redness and swelling instantly, and that’s cold temperatures. Take your makeup off and splash your face with ice water as many times as you can stand, or place ice cubes in a plastic bag and hold them beneath your eyes. It isn’t the most pleasant feeling in the world, but dousing yourself in cold water won’t just make you look better, it’ll also refresh you and jolt you back to reality, so to speak.
Grab the Visine.
Bloodshot eyes are no match for lubricating eye drops, which are made to restore clarity and soothe itching. Tip your head back and place a couple drops of a redness formula like Visine Maximum Redness Relief ($6.49, drugstore.com) in each eye to, as they say on the packaging, “get the red out.” There’s also the bonus of the fact that using eye drops always kind of makes you look like you were crying, even when you weren’t, so if anyone asks, you did just put eye drops in.
Refresh your makeup.
If you’re sporting running mascara or cakey-looking concealer from your cry, get it off. Use a facial wipe if you’re on-the-go or a proper cleanser to remove the telltale traces of cried-off makeup, then get back on the case. Dab a tiny bit of concealer beneath your eyes and around your nose, where redness usually occurs, but be careful not to go overboard. You can’t cover up swollen eyes with makeup, so only use a touch of concealer where you’re seeing redness and dark areas. Curl your eyelashes and apply a few coats of a separating mascara for a more alert look. Use a waterproof formula, just in case. If you feel washed out and like you could benefit from some color in your face, dab a tiny bit of pink blush at the top of your cheekbones, or a sheer pink gloss or balm on your lips.
Fake it ’til you make it.
The fact of the matter is that people are usually paying way more attention to themselves than they are to anyone else, so don’t feel anxious about reentering the world after you’ve had a good cry. If you’re able to smile, laugh and carry on a conversation as you normally would (or as closely as possible), there’s a good chance people will just assume you have allergies, so carry on. Tousle your hair if it’s fallen limp, fake a couple coughs or a sneeze to throw people off your trail, but stop stressing. It’s not worth it, and the more you worry, the more likely you are to cry again… and who needs that when you’ve just put a new coat of mascara on?
Read more: 20 Makeup Tricks Every Girl Should Know