Like it or not, video meetings have become a permanent fixture in our lives and while it's always tempting to opt for the 'camera off' setting, sometimes its nicer (or necessary) to show up in person, if it's a job interview for example. No one likes looking at themselves on Zoom, it washes us out, lends an eerie glow, emphasises shadows and gives us hours to scrutinise everything we don't like about ourselves.
It's not surprising that the 'touch up my appearance' setting has become so popular as news presenter Emily Mailtis recently Tweeted
Filters aside, there are tech-free ways to brighten up your appearance by being clever with colour in what we wear and our makeup. Some colours just make us look bright and alert, as these colour experts reveal.
Rule 1: Pale pink or a big white collar if you're feeling pasty
"We need to bounce in as much light as possible onto our faces while we're on screen, so embrace pale colours," says fashion stylist Peta Hunt . "Light shades act as an instant reflector to brighten the complexion." A warm baby pink, for example, casts a youthful glow. (Fun fact: the Savoy Hotel deliberately deployed that colour for their tablecloths in the 19th century so women would want to dine there because of the way it illuminated their complexions.)
"If you can’t face baby pink first thing in the morning, a great way to look engaging on Zoom is a large fake collar, " says Peta "All the hipsters are channelling Princess Diana [thank you The Crown Series Four]. The frilled collar can be worn over black to look chic and less dreary.
"A white collar looks good over a hot orange top if you’re trying to give yourself a warm glow too; I even saw 'queen of the screen' Holly Willoughby wearing a big collar over a floral print dress and if anyone knows what looks good on screen, it's her."
Rule 2: Neon pink to make dark skin tones (and everyone) pop
Speaking of Ms Willoughby, you might have seen beauty journalist and GTG contributor Ateh Jewel appear on screen beside Holly on ITV's This Morning wearing bright pink – another shade that will make you look bright and awake. Her bright pink Sadie cashmere jumper from Hush , £135, paired with a pink silk headband became her signature look in lockdown and pops against her dark skin. But it took the gloom of Zoom for her to really go all out.
"I've always loved colours including neon brights but as a child, I was told 'black girls don't wear pink'," she reflects. "As a beauty journalist, I always wore greys, white and black because I felt I had to turn the volume down on who I was but pink makes me feel positive and powerful.
"When lockdown happened I figured it was the apocalypse and I was going to go down swinging with red lips and bright eyeshadows to make me feel happy and shiny. I just didn't care anymore. I now wear loads of pink from watermelon, to raspberry to deep cerise which looks great on my skin. It pops and brings out the rich tones."
Ateh is also known for her bright red and pink headbands - so much so that she's about to launch her own in partnership with accessories designer Rose Ings. The Kamala, £50, available to preorder , is named after US vice-president-in-waiting Kamala Harris, with beads and inspired by Ateh's love of Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth 1: no shrinking violets here.
What else does Ateh find works with darker skin?
"Aside from pink, I also love forest green which looks chic and is a less boring version of black. Mustard is also incredible on darker skin tones and I love burgundy because it looks expensive. Teal also is a very overlooked colour. I have teal trousers from Thought Clothing which just make me happy. Also, my pink cashmere jumper brings me pure joy."
Rule 3: embrace red
"My top colour tip to create the ultimate impact on zoom is red, ideally paired with pink, which actually is a shade of red," says stylist, fashion lecturer and TV presenter Charlotte Broadbent .
"Red has the longest wavelength so is the most stimulating colour for you and your Zoom companions. Absorbing this wavelength triggers the release of adrenalin, raises your blood pressure, increases circulation and has flurries of immediate energy. Red is a standout, memorable colour; dynamic and powerful, while pink is slightly softer, more charming and tender, but still elicits excitement and catches the eye of your callers. In a sea of blacks, greys and whites, red will always help you assert your influence."
"There is a flattering shade of red for everyone whether you have a warm skin tone (which suits poppy reds or earthy reds) or a cool skin tone (which harmonizes with magenta or light rose pinks). Wearing your most favourable red brings luminescence to your skin, a colour to your cheeks and can even take up to 10 years off your 'screen age'. What's not to love?"
Rule 4: Don't be shy of yellow
If you watched any of Prince William and Kate Middleton's online interviews in the year, you might remember Kate wearing yellow a fair few times: no accident as it looked strong and optimistic but not limelight-hogging bright against her chestnut hair. "Yellow and mustard shades are associated with happiness, mental concentration and optimism, which we could all do with right now!" says stylist Kay Wyer, who has worked on The Voice and campaigns for Dune and ASOS. "These feelings will also radiate from you and be experienced by those you are sharing the room (screen) with and give everyone that much-needed boost."
Rule 5: amp up your makeup with warm jewel tones
Ateh Jewel has been diving into reds and purples for Zoom calls. "Makeup wise I've been wearing Charlotte Tilbury's Red Carpet Red , £25, on my lips which was recommended by Ruby Hammer, while on my nails I like OPI's Big Apple Red , £12.50, and on my eyes I adore Pat McGrath's Celestial Divinity eyeshadow palette , £74; the neon foil purple shade brings me utter joy."
Jewel-toned lipsticks will brighten the face and bring out your eyes, agrees makeup artist Paige Louise, founder of TikTok's favourite makeup brand P.Louise recommends "I'd suggest pinks, reds, oranges and purples," she says. "A bold lip colour draws attention to the face and therefore encourages people to listen to what you’re saying, which is what we want in the workplace. Remember, when you’re on Zoom, shadows are a lot more prominent so try not to wear any dark makeup or lipstick because these won’t translate so well on camera."
For an extra pop of colour to banish pasty-face blues, a warm blush is your best friend, says makeup artist Lisa Caldognetto. "Avoid cooler blue tones such as mauve, plum and rosy pinks as these can translate as being dull and look darker on camera than they are in real life. The camera tends to pick up a lot of red tones which alters how colours look.
"Stick to what's considered to be traditionally summer colours; coral and peach, anything with a golden undertone. These work beautifully on all skin tones and make your complexion look healthy and fresh. My top picks are Stila Convertible Colour in Gerbera , £13.60, MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul , £23.50, Nude Stix Nudies Bloom in Sweet Peach Peony , £28, Glossier Cloud Paint in Dawn , £15, and Nars' Orgasm , £25."
Which colours work for you? Let us know in the comments below
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