Wakeup Makeup

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

When a TV or movie character wakes up in the morning, he or she is always impeccably groomed. You never see bed-head, stubbly beards, or crusty eyes unless it's a story point, and even then it's usually just to emphasize either a late night drinking with the boys, or a new baby that's making a lot of demands. In the very worst cases, women arise from eight hours' sleep with perfect makeup, sans the least little smudge.

Often, this trope extends to characters emerging from a shower, swimming pool or the sea... or even to women who have no access to cosmetics whatsoever.

In recent years this has begun to become a Discredited Trope, but it's still played straight in far too many works. In animation this is usually due to a Lazy Artist's Limited Wardrobe extending to hair and makeup. Compare Morning Routine, where adding makeup/beautifying oneself will be shown.

Examples of Wakeup Makeup include:


  • A UK advertisement for Nescafe involves several young adults waking up in a trashed flat after a night of wild partying, acting confused and awkward, including an implied drunken sexual encounter between two of the characters. And yet despite all this, they all look as fresh-faced and tidy as if they had just arrived, rather than waking up the morning after. Not a hair out of place or a smudge of makeup in sight.
  • Lampshaded in an advertisement for Superdrug, in which the typically messy-looking couple each get out of bed and brush their teeth, do their hair and makeup etc. then returning back to bed when the other is not looking.

Anime and Manga

  • Kanon does this inconsistently (which is odd for a Kyoto Animation work); on occasion, when getting up in the middle of the night to prank Yuuichi, Makoto will have her hair ribbons on. Akiko always seems to have her hair braided, as well, regardless of the late hour.
    • Having your hair in braids when you go to bed actually make sense; your hair gets harder to comb if you leave it out.


  • Averted in the film version of Charlie's Angels when we first see Dylan whose messed up hair and makeup are very obviously the result of a wild (and, possibly, not entirely enjoyable) night with The Chad.
  • Also averted in Shakes the Clown, where the very first shot is of a hooker (played by Florence Henderson) waking up with her eyeshadow and lipstick grotesquely smudged (after having just slept with the title character).
  • Invoked in the Disney movie Enchanted, where Giselle wakes up from a night spent on a couch with perfect hair and makeup, looking even better than when she went to bed. "She's a real princess!"
  • In The Birds, Tippi Hedrin's hair and makeup is still flawless even after she's been attacked by a flock of birds. The only sign of her ordeal is the tiniest bit of blood on her face.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's: Holly Golightly apparently has the power to spend the entire night partying and wake up the next morning with a fresh, flawless makeup job (mascara and all), with nary a smudge to be seen.
  • Parodied in OSS 117 Cairo Nest of Spies, where the hero gives his bed-head a Hair Reboot simply by passing a hand through it, making it perfectly combed and styled.
  • There's an interesting moment in Wishmaster 2 when Morgana makes a snide comment to a male character during a morning scene, "What the matter, never seen a woman without any makeup before?" even though she is clearly wearing makeup.
  • In My Cousin Vinny, Lisa spends the night in the car and wakes up with perfect eye makeup and lip gloss. Her hair is messy, but that's how she wears it normally.
  • Bond girls are famous for this. Not only do they wake up the morning after an active night in bed with James with flawless make-up but their hair is unmussed and they are wearing all their jewelry.
  • Lampshaded in the opening scene of Bridesmaids when Annie sneaks into the bathroom to put on some makeup before her bedmate wakes up.
  • What's Your Number? opens with a woman putting on makeup before the man wakes up.
  • Spectacularly averted in Frozen, when Anna wakes up drooling, with a truly epic case of bedhead.

Live Action TV

  • Something of an Averted Trope in Dexter, at least in the opening credits which show the titular character engaging in a morning routine that includes shaving off the stubble and flossing his teeth.
  • When LazyTown character Stephanie is seen in the morning in a few episodes, she's not only got perfect hair, she slept in her headband (presumably because the headband is actually part of the wig), and she's wearing pink dance tights under her nightdress. An interesting, gender-swapped version is that villain Robbie Rotten wears obvious eye make-up, yet it is consistently perfect when he is seen waking. Hero Sportacus's clearly waxed pencil moustache is also always perfect upon waking.
  • In Brothers & Sisters, Kitty is once shown having just woken up. Her hair and make-up is not only perfect- she's wearing earrings.
  • Highlander the Series: In the episode "Pharaoh's Daughter", when Duncan wakes up Nefertiti from her 2000-year slumber as a mummy, she still has perfect hair and makeup.
  • Samantha on Bewitched often emerged from bed with perfect hair and make-up, including false eyelashes. It could be magic.
  • In CSI: Miami, Calleigh ends up having her car go into a swamp. When she emerges, her make-up is perfect.
  • Doctor Who
    • The vat-grown soldier Jenny emerges from the creation machine with styled hair and noticeable eye makeup. Rule of Sexy and all that, with bonus points for being played by David Tennant's wife. You can be sure that she was going to look her best on camera.
    • The Tenth Doctor regenerates with gelled hair.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer always has its female characters in makeup, no matter what their previous activities.
  • Many characters on Lost have impeccably styled hair, despite being stranded on a (presumably humid) tropical island without any obvious access to hair care products.
  • The Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Devil Doll features a Damsel in Distress character who goes to bed with full mod '60's style makeup, complete with false eyelashes so long they could be used as diving boards. Later on in the story, she is stricken with a fever and the only alteration to her looks is a light mist that's been sprayed onto her forehead.
  • Gilmore Girls:
    • Lorelai Gilmore is often seen waking up in bed with hair and makeup in perfect place. In one episode, Luke is grumbling about her being at the diner so early in the morning, and Lorelai responds that she doesn't understand how he can be so mean "when I only managed to line one of my eyes." She says this with both of her eyes lined.
    • Lampshaded/Subverted in an episode where a Girl Posse takes Rory and Paris from their houses in the middle of the night, with Paris remarking that Rory looked too good for someone that had just woken up. The subversion being that Rory knew they were coming so she prepped beforehand.
  • Agent Cooper's hair on Twin Peaks was a particularly humorous aversion given his standard hair helmet. He wakes up with some truly amazing bedhead.
  • In Hannah Montana, Miley and Lilly always seem to get out of bed with eye makeup, mascara, foundation and lip gloss perfectly in place. They also wear jewelry while sleeping. Averted with Robbie—although never shown, he has a strict routine of grooming to always keep his hair looking nice.
  • Subverted for a small gag in The King of Queens. The B-plot of one episode revolves around Arthur trying to find someone he can pose with, for his photo Christmas greeting card. In the end he tricks Doug and Carrie into waking up and rising from their bed, just at the moment the camera shoots. The resulting photo shows a smiling Arthur, and Doug and Carrie with messy hair and groggy facial expressions.
  • Lampshaded on Will and Grace: Karen emerges from the bathroom with her hair in a towel, but when she removes the towel, her hair is dry, blown-out, and shiny. When Grace asks how she did that, she simply shrugs, "Money."

Video Games

  • Yuna in Final Fantasy X awakens once with bed head (though it's quite hard to tell the difference from the CG model) and the entire cast laughs at her.
  • Soul Calibur. In the 16th century, no less.
  • The Sims, of course.


Western Animation

  • Playing with the idea: On Daria, in one episode the title character filmed a documentary about her sister Quinn, a shallow, appearance-obsessed fashionista. She tried to ambush Quinn in the morning before she had time for makeup; Quinn, stumbling from her room with frizzy hair and frumpy clothes, spots Daria coming up the stairs. She dashes back in her room, and by the time Daria throws open the door and frames the shot, Quinn is dressed in a wrinkle-free pink nightgown, has perfect straight hair and makeup, and is laid out like Sleeping Beauty as she pantomimes waking and greeting the day with grace and poise.
  • On The Jetsons, Jane doesn't answer the video phone in the morning without her Latex Perfection "morning mask" that hides her sleepy features and hair curlers. She answers a call from her neighbor, who has the bad luck of having her own mask slip off a minute into the conversation. Jane remarks how embarrassing that must be for her.
  • Spoofed on an episode of The Simpsons. When Ned's Vegas wife wakes up in the morning, she leaves a perfect picture of her face in the pillow.
  • Averted on several occasions in Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In one episode, we see the main characters all getting ready in the morning: Aang shaves his head, Sokka shaves his stubble, Katara pins up her hair, and Toph...does nothing at all (okay - she earthbends off some dirt and spits into the trash can).
    • On at least two occasions, Azula, the normally flawlessly made-up dragon queen, is shown without any makeup at all: once as she's trying to sleep, and again when she's having her hair done.
  • Invoked in Moral Orel: Bloberta wakes up before her husband every morning to do her hair and makeup, then "goes back to bed" and waits for him to wake up. When he gets up, he looks groggy and disheveled while she looks perfect. She seems to do this just to spite him.
  • At the start of the episode, "The Mane Event," Bubbles and Buttercup avert this Trope with their Messy Hair. Blossom's Rapunzel Hair, on the other hand, plays the Trope so straight, the locks sparkle!


  • Rebecca Black at the beginning of the Friday video.
  • The exact words ("When I wake up/In my make up") appear in the lyrics of Hole's "Celebrity Skin". In the music video, Courtney Love does wear professional make up. It's not made clear if she slept before the song begings, but she is lying on a coffin-like bed of some sort and she opens her eyes at the beginning.