By Mikaela Rose Alioto

The video quality on Zoom calls is a particular kind of unflattering: the kind that makes you wonder “has my jawline always been octagonal?” and “has my complexion always been that of Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter?” Personally, I’ve stopped looking at the small box at the corner of the screen, because I know that the misshaped swamp monster that closely resembles me will just distract me from my meeting.

Zoom Gloom” is a reality of the new digital workplace. It can be tiring to appear virtually animated without in-person nonverbal cues. But there are ways to liven up your day, whether it be stepping up your Slack emoji game or starting a virtual book club with your coworkers. It can also be empowering to feel polished and presentable during your video meetings. Without going over the top, there are subtle ways to add color to your face and cheer up the steely quality of your calls.

Some of my favorite hacks are multi-use products that can sit comfortably on your desk next to your pens and home office supplies. Another trick is to be especially diligent with your skin-care routine, using products with active ingredients that help restore your skin overnight. That way, if you wake up two minutes before you need to log in, as I am admittedly in the habit of doing, then you won’t look nearly as discombobulated! This list of products is sure to cheer up your routine and hopefully combat some of that Zoom fatigue:

The Live Tinted’s Huestick, 2020 Allure Best in Beauty Winner, is the perfect multi-use product. The shades work beautifully on the lips and cheeks, but the product is also designed to color correct or be used as a subtle shadow. Their newest shade, Copper Shimmer, looks amazing on darker skin tones and works seamlessly in “no makeup” makeup looks.

I’m not saying you need lip liner and eyeliner to look presentable during your work calls. What I AM saying is that this retractable makeup pen from Alleyoop sparks joy from its mere existence alone. Is a makeup pen that conjures ‘90s nostalgia a necessary office utensil… probably not, but it is a fun product to have at your desk.

Cover FX’s Perfector Face Palette is one of my favorite new discoveries. Not only does it have a blush, multiple highlighters/contours, and a finishing powder all-in-one, but the subtlety of the shades makes it an asset to both make up novices and experienced artists alike. I love a product that allows me to dip my brush in a little bit of everything and magically have the color restored to my visage–this one does the trick!

Another great way to look well-rested on your calls aside from having the often elusive good night’s rest? Restorative skin-care! This Kakadu Evening Beauty Elixir from RMS Beauty promises beauty sleep in a bottle with ingredients like kakadu super fruit, CoQ10, and a blend of adaptogenic herbs. The process of massaging oil into your skin is also a great way to wake up your face and combat any puffiness.

Sometimes adding a touch of mascara can make all the difference. Fans of Glossier’s Lash Slick will enjoy Thrive’s Vegan and Cruelty-free Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara for an equally natural look. In a time where thick lash extensions are no longer considered stage makeup, it is nice to have an everyday option that won’t draw too much attention during your video calls. This mascara lengthens without looking too heavy and comes in brown as well!

Brush up your brows! Sometimes, no matter how much brow hair you have, it just needs a quick pick-me-up. Beauty Counter’s Brilliant Brow Gel comes in five shades and provides an easy fix for messy or sparse brows.  

Of course, you can always play around with Zoom’s newly released filters, which, when used appropriately, can brighten up an otherwise draining call. In any case, there is no real need to augment one’s appearance, but the “Zoom Gloom” can take its toll in combination with the stressors of living through a record-breaking pandemic. Anything that cheers you and your virtual co-workers up may be worth trying.

Mikaela Rose Alioto is a recent Northeastern grad with an affinity for all things plant-based! A lifelong animal rights advocate, she was a vegetarian for 13 years before making the switch to veganism two years ago. In her spare time, she enjoys researching cruelty-free beauty products, spending time with her two rescue kitties, and working on her French proficiency. You can follow her and her “Unnecessary pairings” on Instagram at @m.rose.alioto


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