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When our cosmetic medical practice reopened after the recent shutdown, we had a surge of returning patients with new concerns. Especially those that were new to video calls, many decided that they looked older and more tired than they’d previously thought when they saw their faces on-screen.

Webcam videos illustrate the impact bad lighting and/or camera angles have on how your face looks onscreen, but rest assured that you probably look much better in person than you looked during your first Zoom meeting.

Webcam videos done with only overhead lighting exaggerate shadows that are imperceptible in normal lighting. Slight depressions under your eyes become dark circles and bags, shadows under the corners of your mouth make you look grumpy, and lines or wrinkles in the skin appear exaggerated.

Lighting from below your face can give you a sinister look that might not be helpful during a business video call.

When the only lighting during the call comes from the computer screen, a shadowy blue Frankenstein look can result.


The angle of the camera lens can also change the way your face appears in video calls. Unless you raise the lens to be even with your face, your face will be tilted downwards towards the screen, which is almost never a flattering angle. It can make it look like you have jowls, a saggy neck or double chin, and your nostrils will look huge.

zoom double chin

By now most people using a webcam have learned that using lighting from the front, positioning the camera lens so that it’s at the same level as your eyes, or slightly above, and keeping the screen at least an arm’s length away from the camera will provide the most flattering view.

There are also makeup tips that will help you look your best on video calls, even if you were up late the night before bingeing a series.
Webcams tend to exaggerate dark circles under the eyes so if you have them, apply some peachy color corrector or even lip color (really) to neutralize the blue. For puffy eyes or “bags”, use a plastic bag with some ice on and off for a few minutes at a time before your call. Try putting highlighter in the inner corners of your eyes or use a brightening eye cream to help you look perkier than you probably feel. Blemishes or discoloration can be hidden with a concealer close to your normal skin tone.

Webcams can dull colors and make your face look flat so use a little tinted moisturizer, cream blush and/or contouring to give you a hint of healthy color and dimension. For oily skin, minimize the shine with mattifying primer or blotting papers just before your call.
Remember that almost everyone feels self-conscious about the way they look onscreen. The other Zoom participants are probably more interested in how their own faces look on camera than being critical of yours. Try these ideas and you’ll look as great as you do in person during video calls.