As the COVID-19 pandemic raged, virtual meetings replaced in-person meetings and get-togethers, and we all were introduced to a new cause of anxiety: zoom face.
According to a recent survey, nearly 75 percent of respondents said they faced zoom anxiety this past year, including concerns about their appearance in front of the camera.
A recent Harris Poll also revealed that only 55 percent of women were likely to “always” or “sometimes” enable video during videoconferencing meetings, compared to 65 percent of men. Thirty-nine percent of women said they disabled the video feature because they didn’t like the way they looked, compared to 25 percent of men.
In the U.K., a survey of about 800 accredited cosmetic practitioners found that “lockdown face” had become a thing, with the surge in videoconferencing driving an accompanying increase in requests for cosmetic surgery.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to undergo surgery to feel better about how you look on Zoom or any other videoconferencing tool. In this post, we’ll give you some easy tips to get your best, radiant video appearance, so you can feel confident about turning that camera on.
What is Zoom Face Fatigue?
The term “Zoom face” came to life during the COVID-19 pandemic as more workplaces, groups, and families turned to videoconferencing. Since we couldn’t meet in person, we used technology to fill that gap, and the Zoom platform just happened to be one of the most popular for that purpose. (Others include Microsoft Teams, Skype, Facebook Messenger, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts Meet, and Cisco Webex Meetings.)
Suddenly we all started seeing in grim detail that we had more fine lines and wrinkles than we thought, our skin was looking dull, our lips were chapped and dry, and more. Those of us on Zoom most every day were faced with these flaws over and over again, to the detriment of our self-confidence and esteem.
“Zoom fatigue” is another new term that came to life amidst all of this It describes the video-chat burnout that people experience after going through several Zoom calls.
Blind, an anonymous network for professionals, recently conducted a poll to understand video chat burnout.
More than three-quarters of respondents said that Zoom meetings were tiring them out—and we all know that when we’re tired, our skin looks worse. (Read more: “Why Your Poor Night’s Sleep Could Make You Look Older.”)
Why We Struggle with Zoom Fatigue
According to a recent study out of Stanford University, we can trace the problem to several factors:
- Excessive eye contact: While on a Zoom call, most users feel that the requirement for eye contact is extensive and highly intense. There is little chance for a break.
- Seeing yourself is tiring: Most video platforms show a square of what you look like on camera during a chat—an unnatural situation, as most of us don’t use mirrors while talking to someone. Seeing that reflection makes you more critical of yourself, and it’s taxing.
- We can’t move much: Video chats limit our usual mobility. We can’t get up and move around. The small camera area presses us to stay in the same spot, which creates tightness and fatigue.
- The cognitive load is higher: During a video chat, we have to work harder to understand one another because the usual nonverbal communication is virtually absent. We have to exaggerate our gestures while making sure that our heads are within the center of the video, adding cognitive load and making these chats more exhausting overall.
You can use the “hide self-view” button to give yourself a break from your own face. You can also turn the video off periodically (if allowed) and go audio-only.
These things don’t help you feel more confident about your appearance, though, so let’s tackle that next.
How to Banish Zoom Face During Video Calls
The good news is that you can take several steps to help yourself look better on Zoom. As is always the case, you must start with healthy skin!
Look on the bright side: your video chats may have revealed that your skincare routine was not as healthy as you thought. If you noticed dry, dull, or flaky skin on the screen that you didn’t notice before, suddenly you know that you need more hydration, and perhaps more exfoliation.
Dryness and dullness both appear when the skin barrier is damaged somehow. It could be that you have too many dead skin cells accumulated on the surface and need to step up your exfoliation to reveal newer, younger-looking skin underneath.
Your outer barrier may also be damaged and no longer able to hold onto moisture as well. That could mean you need to step up your moisturization, or that your current moisturizer isn’t working as well as you thought.
Steps to Improve Your Appearance on Video
Whatever you may have seen, try these steps to improve it:
Start with a facial.
You want a fresh slate, so to speak, so get a regular facial at your favorite spa or personal care shop, or do it yourself at home. Some beauty brands are now offering DIY facial kits, but these can be expensive. You can do the same by gently exfoliating (with fruit acids is best—no harsh scrubs), then applying a moisturizing mask for 15-30 minutes. If you’re excessively oily, try a charcoal-based mask instead to reset your skin.
Exfoliate your lips.
Dry, chapped lips are even more noticeable on screen. If your lips are chapped, start exfoliating them with a gentle sugar scrub at least a couple of times a week. Then step up your moisturization. We recommend our Restorative Skin Balm, as it heals while moisturizing deeply.
Check your moisturizer.
If your skin looks dry, it could be that you have the wrong moisturizer. We recommend our Calming Moisture. Its hydrating, anti-inflammatory ingredients can help reduce puffiness and soothe the look of fine lines and wrinkles while adding a natural-looking radiance to the skin. It can also tame redness and inflammation and repair that outer barrier, giving you healthier skin moving forward.
Treat skin overnight.
Nighttime is when your skin is busiest repairing itself. Use that time to help promote healthier skin. You can apply your favorite anti-aging serum, then add some of our Calming Moisture on top to help seal in the beneficial ingredients. You’ll wake up with softer, smoother, and more radiant skin.
2. Let Makeup Help You
If you’re talking to family and friends, you probably don’t need to worry about applying makeup before your Zoom call. But if you’re attending a business meeting or are a guest on a video chat, you can use makeup to help yourself look your best.
Luminate your foundation.
Let’s face it—many foundations just aren’t illuminating. They look flat on your face, particularly on camera. You can light it up by adding some of our Calming Moisture to your foundation before applying it. Your camera will pick up the light of your glowing skin, boosting your appearance immediately.
Carefully apply concealer.
Computer cameras and webcams are excellent at picking up shadows and dark spots. Fool them by being more strategic with your concealer. Use it to cover any dark spots and undereye circles, and don’t worry if you’re using a little more than usual—on camera, it’s likely to look good. (Test it by checking your look before your meeting.) It may also help to go a shade lighter than normal so your skin looks brighter.
Add some highlighter.
There are many highlighters out there now that you can use to highlight your cheekbones. If you’re oily, use powder at the same time to tame down your T-zone.
Sculpt your brows.
Brows are always important, but they’re super noticeable when you’re on camera. Groom them carefully and fill in any sparse areas with a pencil.
Be generous with mascara.
Mascara is your best Zoom eye makeup tool because it accentuates the perimeter of your eye and makes it appear larger. If you’re used to using one coat, use one or two more.
Use a brighter blush.
Cool tones of blush can look dark on camera. Try a brighter shade with golden undertones, like coral or peach.
Brighten your lips too.
A bright lip can help you appear more awake and vibrant on-screen. Skip the soft and subtle tones, and then use a clear gloss after—the shine will make lips appear bigger.
How do you battle Zoom face?
Are you staring at yourself on Zoom? New survey asks the WFH question of our times. (2021, March 9). TechRepublic. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/are-you-staring-at-yourself-on-zoom-new-survey-asks-the-wfh-question-of-our-times/
Meyer, Z. (2020, June 23). Do you show your face in Zoom meetings? Your gender may play a role. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/90514033/do-you-show-your-face-in-zoom-meetings-your-gender-may-play-a-role
Ramasubramanian, S. (2020, December 8). Over 70% suffered from ‘Zoom anxiety’ this year, survey finds. The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/zoom-anxiety-in-2020/article33277870.ece
Stanford University. (2021, February 23). Four causes for ‘Zoom fatigue’ and their solutions. Stanford News. https://news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/