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How to make a good impression in a video conference

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Half of the globe has been caught up in the coronavirus pandemic, and working from home is becoming the new normal.

Three beauty experts – founder and editor of The Joye, Paula Joye; DJ, presenter and beauty expert Lillian Ahenkan; and make-up artist and author of Making It Up, Nicole Thompson – all share their grooming tips in The Guardian regarding how to look decent and professional in a video conference. We have selected a few:

Setting the scene

1. Put your computer near a window

“Natural light is your friend,” Joye said.

Think about the instagram aesthetic #goldenhour (the first and last hours of sunlight in the day) – which claims to make anyone and everyone look like a supermodel; natural lightning definitely beholds the power to make one look better in pictures or videos.

2. Position the computer camera at or just above eye level, and move yourself slightly further away from it

While putting your computer on your lap is the most convenient way, it is also the quickest way to make yourself look much worse than usual.

“It amuses me no end when you see people beam in like the moon in The Faraway Tree,” she said. “You don’t have to put your face on the screen like a dinner plate.”


1. Avoid spots, stripes or any patterned tops

Any person who has been in the career field for a while should know that loungewear, pyjamas and casual wear are inappropriate. Especially for a meeting with clients. It is best to dress as though you are meeting them in person.

Spots, stripes and patterned tops do not show up well on camera. Neutral colours are a safe choice. Crazy patterns are a no-no. When in doubt, think what a news anchor would wear.

2. Shift the focus to your hair and face

The beauty experts have no objections towards wearing sweatpants or pyjama bottoms. However, Ahenkan advises transitioning the energy you put towards your typical get-ready-for-work routine towards your face and hair.

“And by doing your hair I mean put it in a ponytail and call it a day,” she said.

3. Do your make-up, especially your brows and cheeks

The two quick focal points would be cheeks and brows. Make sure your brows – an indicator for people to read and understand your emotions – are clearly defined.

“Maybe for a serious meeting make your brows darker,” Thompson said.

For your cheeks, highlight can give dimension to your face. Both Joye and Thompson agree that blush is also a fast way to give your face definition.

Since cameras tend to wash people out, the three women advised wearing a bit more foundation than usual. Make sure to double check if you blend well in areas such as your jawline.

Get rid of smokey eyes and go for curled eyelashes and lots of mascara, which will open up your face.

When it comes to lipsticks – which are a quick way to make yourself look more put together – really bright colours can look wrong on a screen. If you decide to go for a dark shade, make sure you use a lip liner, and perhaps overdraw it slightly or soften the edges, because things that are dark can look smaller on video.

Easy cheat

1. Filters

Joye recommends trying out different filters for iPhone users, such as the black and white one. While she avoids filters such as dog ears, Ahenkan believes filters that don’t look lifelike can bring joy to a casual catch-up. Her top ones are elf or fairy filters. For zoom users, there is a face softening filter.

Human Resources magazine and the HR Bulletin daily email newsletter:
Asia's only regional HR print and digital media brand.
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