Most women live like actresses—in such a way that we like to take in new characters through makeup and clothes. Every time a woman does her makeup, she looks in the mirror and asks, “Who do I want to be today?” The answer determines how much blush she applies or how thick her eyeliner is drawn.
Getting dolled up improves your confidence, “a kind of placebo effect,” as Harvard psychologist Nancy Etcoff calls it. Likewise, this confidence projects upon others and improves your likeability. A study found that makeup can earn the trust and affection of your boss and colleagues. So does a stylish, well-put attire.
Yet, with no one to get dolled up for, changing your look can still lift your mood. During quarantine, a quick smokey makeup and a nicely fitted suit can instantly make you feel ready to take on today’s tasks in the comfort of your room.
The Science of Makeovers: #OOTDs
For many women, changing their looks is a way to relieve stress. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change. In fact, every day, women try on a new look with each #OOTD.
Short for Outfit of the Day, OOTDs have driven curated content on platforms like Instagram for influencers and regular users alike. As of March 2021, there are over 351 million posts under the hashtag #OOTD.
The effect of clothes on our mental well-being has always intrigued psychologists. Scientists Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky called it “enclothed cognition.” They believe there is a “systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes.”
Clothes have symbolic meaning. When we wear clothes associated with glamour and status, such as suits, we take these impressions.
Simple Ways to Reinvent Your Look
Aside from OOTDs, there are other simple ways to have a glow-up. Here are a few ways to take in a new character today.
1. Dyeing Your Hair
At the peak of the pandemic, social media was filled with at-home quarantine makeovers, usually involving DIY hair bleach sets impulsively bought after watching Brad Mondo on YouTube. People have been saying that changing hairstyles are common during monumental life transitions, and psychologists agree.
2. Parting Your Hair Differently
A different hair partition can change the way your hair frames your face. Additionally, it can be good for your scalp in the long run. When you have the same part for years, it can wear the hair down in that area. Over time, this could cause hair loss.
3. Investing in Oral Care
Like hair, teeth are an important asset on your head. Your teeth largely affect the way you look. A simple lipstick stain can even ruin your outfit, no matter how glamorous.
A common teeth issue is discolouration. Even with good hygiene, an average person’s teeth eventually get a yellow tint due to a daily coffee habit. If you don’t drink coffee, other beverages and food cause discolouration, such as tea, cola, potatoes, and apples.
Fortunately, the solution is just a teeth bleaching session away. You can have your teeth bleached in two ways: one is a professional procedure done at the dentist’s office, another involves prescribed whitening solutions you can apply at home. Ask your dentist which would work best for you.
4. Creating a Signature Attire and Makeup Based on Your Skin Undertone
The same red dress can look very differently on two persons. That is because our dermal undertones determine which colours work best on our skin. The right colours work seamlessly and produce a natural look.
There are three skin undertones.
Warm. For people with warm undertones, autumn palettes work best: golden, peachy, orange-yellow colours.
Cool. Pink, red, and blue colours create a natural look for cool skin undertones.
Neutral. A mix of warm and cool colours works best for neutral undertones.
Skin undertones are different from skin tones, which are easily distinguishable. Examples of skin tones are fair, tan, and deep-toned. People with different skin tones may have the same undertone. For example, Tilda Swinton and Mindy Kaling have different complexions, but they both have warm skin undertones. And while Asian women have mostly yellow-toned skin, it doesn’t mean they have warm skin undertones.
The Vein Test is a quick way to know your skin undertone. Just check the visible veins on your wrist. What hues are they in? If they look purple or blue, then you’re cool-toned. Green veins indicate a warm skin undertone. Meanwhile, blue-green veins reflect neutrality.
Another test is to check how your skin reacts to the sun. If your skin burns easily, you may be cool-toned. If it tans, you may be warm-toned. If it burns, then tans after a while, you may be neutral-toned.
As you explore new OOTDs and makeup looks, try to improve them using the colours recommended for you.
Presenting a New You
Transformations, dramatic or otherwise, can trigger empowering emotions. It can impact how you feel and how you want others to feel about you.
For some men, a beard can even express rebellion, such as when David Letterman refused to shave his beard despite disapproving remarks. For some women, new hair colour can signify moving on from a recent break-up. Through simple ways we reinvent our looks, we feel empowered and in control.