Best Advice To Look Good When You Don’t Feel Great

lady in red, wearing a hot pink flower wreath on her head, with flowering bushes in the background
This is how I want to look when I run into you.

Don’t you love running into people when you know you look great?  Especially if you haven’t seen them for a long time, or perhaps (being a bit petty here), you don’t even like them that much?  Conversely, you may want to avoid, hide, and pretend you don’t recognize them if you look frumpy.  Please say yes here.  I don’t want to be the only person who does this!  If this were not the case, you’d show up at your high school reunion looking like you’re heading to the self-service dog wash.  If you’d like to know how to look good when you don’t feel great, read on.

Most of us want to feel beautiful.

Not the “I just stepped off the cover of Glamour” kind of beautiful, but the type that makes us feel good about ourselves.  At times I look in the mirror and wonder who that screeching hag is looking back at me, and other times, I feel invincible.

old fashioned magazine with lady wearing a yellow dress on the coverIt is hard to look good when you don’t feel well.  If you are physically ill, there can be little motivation to doll up.  In a few days when you’re better, you can spruce up then.  When you don’t feel well mentally, the effort required to put your best face forward can be overwhelming.

Be happy.  It will make you pretty.

Stress and depression can physically change how you look.  Specifically, the facial symmetry we have becomes more asymmetrical during high levels of stress.  None of us are perfectly symmetrical, but emotional triggers cause asymmetry to increase.  A scientific pillar of beauty is facial symmetry.  When you don’t feel well emotionally, your physical appearance changes.  Fortunately, as the stress decreases, facial symmetry returns. close up of woman's face with right half normal, and the left half covered in white make up

Isn’t it ironic the most helpful actions can be the most difficult to do?  Who on earth ever feels like exercising when they’d rather curl up in a ball and hide?  Endorphins will make you feel better without question.  However finding the “oomph” to jog around the block can be like trying to find a parking spot at the mall on December 24th !  Maybe not impossible, but it’s hard.

It takes effort to look good when you’re not feeling your best, but it helps.

Like it or not, when we feel unattractive, it affects our emotional state. I’ve had emotional low points in my life where everyone who glanced at me had a semi-horrified look.  Had I put out a little effort, I could have blended into being “invisible”, and not felt reminded of how bad I already felt. mask of witch face with long twisted nose, crooked teeth and straggly hair

You don’t have to be stressed or depressed to let your appearance slide.  Plain old busy can knock “I want to be a diva” down to the bottom of your priority list.  So what do you do when you need a jolt of fabulous but are low on energy?  Here are six simple things you can do to perk yourself up.  Spoiler alert: None of them include exercise.  This post contains affiliate links.  Click here for more info.

Get rid of all your ugly clothes.

Wait until you are in a good emotional place to do this, lest you decide you hate your wardrobe and toss out everything. four cartoon style ugly Christmas sweaters Plenty of cute and comfortable things exist to wear around the house when you’re cleaning, resting or sick.  Get some adorable yoga pants or leggings with matching tops.  Make sure the grubbiest clothes you own are not grubby at all.  I got rid of all the clothes that made me feel ugly.  I keep one paint-stained outfit only for painting and pulling weeds.  If you don’t own anything that is ugly, you can’t wear anything that is ugly.

Renovate your hair.

Consider the countless options.  I cut my hair super short a year ago, and it didn’t remotely resemble the picture I showed my hairdresser. It has been growing out ever since.  I need it cut again, into a style that doesn’t look like I did it myself while I was sleepwalking.  Aside from trimming my bangs in the bathroom (while wide awake), I have done nothing to it. one white sheep with very overgrown hair in ringlets covering eyes, standing on grass I currently hate my hair.  When I see my reflection I think, “I can’t wait for it to grow enough to fix this mess.”

Pick up your spirit by getting a haircut, highlights, or a new style.  Wear a bun, braid or Shirley Temple curls.  Use a shampoo with a smell so fresh strangers ask what perfume you’re wearing.  Give it a deep conditioning to leave it soft as a bunny.  Do whatever it takes to love your locks.

Add some color to your face.

I admit I am not a huge make-up person.  I only wear foundation if I’m having a portrait taken, filming a scene in my acting class, or meeting the Queen.  Other than that, my skin is only covered in good skincare products.

If you hate make-up, but concede to do one thing, I’d suggest lipstick.  Having a nice color on the lips brightens up the entire face.  Since I can’t be bothered with reapplying it all day long,close up of pretty blonde woman wearing dark red lipstick I use Revlon Colorstay Ultimate.  It lasts for 24 hours.  I put it on once in the morning, and freshen it up in the evening if I am going somewhere.  That is it.  It is a quick, simple and inexpensive way to look good with minimal effort.

The second make-up item that makes a big difference is blush.  Dust a little color on the cheeks, and magic happens.  Lipstick and blush will cover a multitude of “meh”.  Applying both items should take no more than one to two minutes.

Groom those brows!

Eyebrows can make or break your eyes.  A classic brow will always be in style.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, get professional help.  As an Electrologist, I shape people’s eyebrows permanently.  Even so, some of the hair can grow long, so trimming the brows can be necessary.  If your brows are blonde, you can have them tinted, or use an eyebrow pencil.  If they have gotten out of control with strays, clean them up. You can get brow shaping stencil kits if you need help.  You can also read How to Shape the Perfect Brows for additional guidelines.  Groomed brows makes a remarkable difference, and you don’t have to do this daily. close up of woman's green eyes with perfectly shaped eyebrows

Eyelash extensions are super popular, expensive and damaging.  I don’t use them because they can cause the real lashes to fall out.  Instead, I use an eyelash conditioning product.  My lashes look longer, so when I put on mascara I can see them. I use Hawrych MD Lash.  A moment with an eyelash curler and a few strokes of mascara will enhance your eyes.  I love this eyelash curler because it is designed to not pinch your skin when using it, and it is much more compact than the traditional kind.

These few simple steps can be done even if you have limited time or energy.  None of these are difficult to do.  You will see an immediate difference, which in turn should give your self-confidence a boost.

Here is a quick recap: cartoon clipboard with squiggly lines on the page and yellow diamond shapes on each side

  • When you wear comfortable clothing, make sure it is attractive
  • Have a hairstyle you love
  • Put on some lipstick
  • Apply a little blush
  • Groom your eyebrows
  • Add a bit of mascara

While this is not an exhaustive list,

it will give you a quick “win”.  Scores of things can be added if you are going for the “Cover of Cosmo” look, but that is beyond today’s inspirational advice.  When you look better you feel better.  And when you feel better you actually will look better.  It is a positive cycle.  Adding exercise and healthy eating goes without saying, and gives you a big payoff for your effort.

Sounds nice, but I’m a dude.

back side of a tan colored statue of a naked man showing his rear endNot to worry.  I have advice for men as well.  In asking men what they do for themselves as a “pick-me-up”, the main answer I got centered around hair removal. Not electrolysis hair removal, but grooming the wild strays.  The two top items were nose and ear hairs.  Let’s face it, no one wants to see that!  Brow trimming, back of neck and back shaving were also mentioned for boosting confidence and self esteem.  If you have a beard and/or mustache, keep it trimmed and groomed.   Wearing nicer clothes is also a quick way to look and feel better.  One last quick fix – stand tall.  No matter what your height is, if you have good posture, you will be perceived as more confident and attractive.

This sounds too simple.

While this advice may seem overly simplistic, sometimes the most obvious solutions are the most overlooked.

The advice above is for you to look and feel beautiful for yourself.

This is not for the approval and acceptance of others.  While that may be a natural consequence, it is not the intent.  Feeling fabulous about yourself is your super power. cartoon of a woman superhero wearing black with a blue stripe flying through the air Use it to get yourself out of a slump, or to conquer the world!  You can do it!  Bonus points if you bump into an old acquaintance when you look and feel great.

I’d love to hear your “go-to” advice on what you do to make yourself feel smashing.  Drop me a note on my FB page at Elaine’s Lane.

For additional inspiration and suggestions to help you roll out of bed feeling all kinds of gorgeous, sign up for my newsletter below.  Subscribing gives you full access to my resource library, where you’ll find additional useful tips.  I’m a privacy freak, so I promise never to spam or annoy you, or share your info with anyone.  If you have found this info useful, please share me with all your friends!

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