With the increased use of online platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype, many of us have been shocked to see how bad we look on the computer camera. Besides wishing the proverbial Zoom meetings would end, solutions aimed at ease of makeup application, color choice, and camera positioning can all come in handy to better flatter us and make us feel human again rather than zombies. To this end, I give you my top four points on Beauty and the Computer.
Nice to See Your Nostrils-NOT
Unless you are a doctor, there is nothing more unappealing than looking up someone’s nostrils. The lower the screen, the more others get a bird’s-eye view of your nose hairs. Depending on your location and need for online note taking, this can be a huge challenge. Whatever you do to manage this, it not only eliminates the nose-hair problem, it also makes your neck look better, your under-eye area brighter, and your body appear narrower. Along these same lines, use a direct light source, natural if possible. For example, if you have overhead lighting you automatically cast a predominantly blue light down on your face, which accentuates dark circles, skin discoloration, and a double chin. Yikes. Given that computer screens cast a blue light, you have a modern day take on the walking dead. My suggestion is to either invest in a ring light with color controls, or station yourself in front of a window to receive daylight. Using a yellow toned light bulb can also wash you out, albeit with a sallower hue. Whatever you manage, doing your makeup in such a way to counteract the blue or yellow hue is crucial.
White Under, Around, and Over
One of the great and simple tricks of lighting is to use white. I’m not talking about wardrobe; I will address that in my next point. Do you have a white board (found at any craft store)? White towel? Cloth? If not, head to your local store and buy a couple large white towels and place them all around you including under your face, over the back of your chair, and on top of anything to the right or left that cannot be seen by the viewer. White reflects light, and dark absorbs light. For this reason, placing white around you will direct the light to brighten the area and enhance your face. If you could see my studio where I film all my YouTube videos, you would see a veritable sea of white including my coffee mug!
How to Dress Like a Zombie
Before Covid-19 hit the world, my friend and public speaker Debra asked me to take her wardrobe shopping. As is so often the case, she made a bee-line for the beige, black, white, and grey tops, ignoring anything with the stand-out effect of color. It took some persuading to get her to try on brighter tops, but once she did, the result was undeniable. Debra is like so many of us; nervous of color and unsure how to wear it. Break free, is my constant advice. Break free of bland shades, and hop on the multi-colorful band wagon and see how amazing it makes you look and feel! What colors suit you best? Personally speaking, I have a section of tops I use for videos, meetings, and on-camera needs. My advice is to chose solids, or tops with minimal designs, and as much color saturation as you can brave. If you have noticeable under eye circles, avoid wearing any color that matches it, or makes it stand out, i.e., grey, pink, or blue/purple. Avoid anything too glittery or iridescent, it will stand out more on screen.
Conceal, Highlight, Pop
With the blue light of the computer, your focus needs to be to conceal anything blue, (under-eye, skin marks, pimples, etc.), highlight your good features, (cheekbones, brow bones, lips, etc.), and use colors that pop your face. What do I mean by this? Looking like a zombie means a general lack of color, or an unflattering color. The best solution is to reach for a bright blush, lipstick, and even eyeshadow. Again, many of you wince at adding color to your clothing and makeup, yet it is by far the best way to look alive and happy. Besides avoiding red lipstick (blue computer light makes the blues and reds stronger), try warm peaches, rosy pinks, or deeper plums on cheeks and lips, and then pop a bit on your brow bone to open up your eye. You need not apply gobs of makeup, it’s more to apply the right makeup on the rights bits.
If you take heed and try these tips, you will begin to resemble a goddess or god of days of old. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you will definitely look more alive, prepared, happy, and connected, which is what we all need right now.