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Quick tips for how to look your best on video conference calls – whether it’s for work or socializing

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all had to adapt to working, schooling and socialising from our homes. Webcam meetings have rapidly become the new norm thanks to platforms like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype. But with this new scenario comes a whole host of issues to consider. Should you adapt your normal make-up to a more ‘screen-friendly’ version? Should you consider a different look for work and socialising? What about lighting and backgrounds?

Hydration and preparation

“It’s essential your skin gets enough hydration if you want your make-up to look flawless and as natural as possible,” says Sarah Zimmer, founder of NAYA (www.nayaglow.com). “Anyone with dry skin will know that the foundation in particular emphasises any flakiness. It is best to apply skincare around 10 minutes before your make-up, to give it time to soak into the skin. If the skin isn’t hydrated enough and lacks hyaluron and fatty acids, your make-up will dry up and peel.

“Research has shown that pollution can accelerate ageing in skin which results in hyperpigmentation and an increase in fine lines. This is why it is so important to bathe your skin in antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, when you are at home or walking in the park. There are a few types of ingredients which can counteract pollution damage in skin; choose a formula with vitamin C and/or niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. A recent study found that wearing an antioxidant serum with these particular ingredients could protect the skin against air contaminants; improving skin barrier function, lessening dark spots, and lowering oxidative stress.”

The natural glow

When it comes to make-up, “less is more is my top tip,” says make-up artist Joyce Connor (www.joyceconnormakeup.co.uk). “Webcams can change the appearance of make-up from your perspective on the screen.

”Wear a tinted moisturiser as opposed to a full foundation; it gives your skin a natural glow with less effort. Add a dusting of powder to prevent shine coming through on your skin. Give your eyes that wide-awake look by applying eyeliner to the upper lash line only and softly blend onto your eyelid, then apply a couple of coats of mascara.

“Fill eyebrows with a pencil shade similar to your natural hair colour; any darker than your brow colour and just your eyebrows will stand out on screen. Add a light pop of colour on your cheeks by using a bronzer or blush; avoid too much colour in this area. Pick up your lips with something neutral or vibrant and not too glossy. Choose lip shades that won’t transfer to your teeth easily.”

Shine on

“It’s a good idea to be in good lighting for any virtual meeting as it can be the difference between looking alive and glowy or dull and shadowy,” says Denise Rabor, founder of www.wowbeauty.co.

“Cameras are annoyingly good at highlighting shine, so be careful if you like using highlighters as the camera can distort the effect. If your T-zone is prone to shine, try using some powder or some blotting paper. If in doubt, just do your regular routine; this is not really the time to make big changes: aim for a healthy glow not shine, focus on the basics like your skin, brows and lashes. Take a screenshot of yourself so that you can see how your make-up translates on screen.”

Day to night

While a conservative approach is perhaps best for work meetings, socialising with friends online is when you can relax and have some fun. “Start by adding some drama to your eyes by simply adding more mascara,” says Denise.

“If you want to, you can create a quick smokey eye using a cream eyeshadow or an eye pencil in whatever shade you choose; just draw a line around your eyes and smudge. Another option is to create a winged eye using eyeliner or pencil. Then just add a slick of lipgloss or lipstick.”

To make the evening more fun, Joyce Connor suggests having a make-up theme with your friends, where everyone wears red lipstick or a shimmery eyeshadow. Remember to look for natural and organic products that are free from synthetic chemicals. And why not consider mineral make-up?

Lights, camera, action!

For a work meeting, positioning your webcam near to a window should give you all the natural light you need and will help to reduce shine. However, if you want to try using lighting, or are having an evening meet-up, you might want to consider using a ringlight. “A ringlight is a light you plug into your computer with a USB lead,” says Louise Brogan, a LinkedIn Consultant and host of the Linking in with Louise Podcast (socialbeeni.com). “The light shines around your face and highlights you. It is literally a ring of light!”

In terms of camera angles, Louise recommends positioning your camera either directly at your eye level or just above. “No one is flattered by the camera recording you from below,” she says. “Taking the video slightly above your eye level is the most flattering for pretty much everyone. If you look directly into the lens of your camera, the person on the other side of the screen thinks you are looking at them. If you look at the person you are talking to on your computer screen, from the other person’s point of view, you look as though you are looking at your knees!”

So, with these make-up, lighting and presentation tips, you can approach your webcam meetings like a true professional!

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