Sometimes it feels like we are investing too much time and effort into trying to be beautiful. After all, we live in a beauty-obsessed world and the beauty business is a multi-billion dollar industry.
But learning how to be pretty is about a lot more than simply finding the best eyeliner shade or bronzer. It’s about finding ways to feel beautiful, powerful and confident. And it doesn’t have to cost much money at all.
Learning how to be pretty — even when you don’t feel pretty at all — is about playing up your best features so you can feel good about how you look.
It’s about finding ways to be naturally beautiful that work for your life and feel authentic to you.
After all, if you don’t feel good about your appearance, would it even matter if others thought you were gorgeous?
So in your quest for how to be even more beautiful than you already are, make sure you’re following the best beauty tips — ones that elevate your overall attractiveness while still feeling 100% like your true, honest self. We’ve got 25 of them to get you started.
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How to Look Pretty: 25 Tips To Help You Look and Feel Prettier
1. Make eye contact.
Not only is making eye contact with someone respectful, it’s also a sign of confidence. When talking to people, look them in the eye and truly listen to what they have to say.
This type of active, engaged communication not only makes you seem more attractive, prettier and more confident to someone you may find attractive and want to date, it can help you at work and even in your relationships with family and friends.
You won’t believe how attractive people will find you when you start really paying attention. You will also learn a lot more about the people in your life!
2. Smile more.
Everyone hates it when men say to women, “You’d be so much prettier if you smiled” and guys should definitely stop saying that entirely. It’s rude, sexist, and patronizing.
That being said, when you are in the mood to smile, it really is the best answer to the question, “How can I look more attractive?” Smiling can also reduce the risk of getting the types of wrinkles that make you look grumpy, angry or depressed.
Smiling can also boost your mood from the outside-in, sort of a “fake it ’til you make it” technique for being instantly happier. Think of something that makes you laugh, a family member or pet that brings you joy, and let that smile come across your face.
The fact that smiling makes you prettier is just an added bonus.
3. Wear clothes that are comfortable and fit well.
You don’t have to have the latest styles or copy the hottest influencers to have a wardrobe that boosts your overall prettiness.
In fact, unless you absolutely love shopping and keeping up-to-date on trends, it’s best to stick with styles and brands that are a bit more timeless and make you feel great. Your wardrobe should have a few pairs of jeans that make you feel like a goddess when you wear them, keep their shape so they don’t become shapeless throughout the day, and are comfortable so you’re not always adjusting them or trying to hold in your belly.
Madewell is great for jeans and Levi’s is always a go-to for classics, but there are great picks almost anywhere you look.
When in doubt, go for a fit that is a bit tight in the dressing room but not at all uncomfortable. This helps them keep a nice shape once they loosen up a bit, which almost all denim will do after an hour or so of wear. Choose fabrics that have a small percentage of stretch to help them keep their shape.
A plain brown or black leather belt with a simple buckle can help maintain a great fit with pants and can help cinch the waist of a dress or long top, too.
Classic white and black tee shirts with a crew or modest v-neck are always in style. Keep the white ones bright by squirting some OxyClean stain spray into the armpits before every wash (antiperspirant turns white fabrics yellow!) and adding some whitening enzyme powder to your washes. Wash black or navy tees on cold to help keep them from fading.
Buy a few cute cardigan or pullover sweaters to the mix and you’ve got an everyday wardrobe that looks great for years and helps you feel naturally pretty and confident.
4. Take good care of your skin.
The skincare products you use need to be suited to your skin and your particular needs. There are cleansers and moisturizers out there for your all skin types, including skin prone to redness, dryness, oily skin, acne, T-zone troubles, blackheads and more.
While there are plenty of affordable drug store brands that will do a great job, most beauty stores (like Sephora or Beauty Collection) will make you little sample packets so you can try a few before you invest in them. You may also consider subscribing to a beauty sample box like Ipsy or Birchbox.
Either way, try a wide variety and give each a couple of days so you can really see if it’s helping. Remember that even if your gorgeous friend uses a particular cleanser with great results doesn’t mean it’ll do the same for you. Our skin needs are as unique as we are!
In addition, remember to use warm — not hot — water when you wash your face, neck and chest. This delicate skin can easily be damaged and stripped of healthy oils by very hot water.
Most importantly, if your skin feels dry or tight, your cleansing and moisturizing combo isn’t working. Not only does the tight feeling indicate that your skin isn’t getting enough moisture (which can lead to premature aging or flaking), but you will be uncomfortable, which does not help us feel very pretty!
Try a deeper moisturizer and carry some with you so that you can reapply should the sun, wind or heating system dry your skin out. Remember to gently cleanse your skin at night and apply a night cream. If you’re prone to breakouts, choose one that’s non-comedogenic, which means it’s designed to not clog pores. When you apply moisturizer, use the soft pads of your fingertips to gently pat into your skin rather than roughly pulling at your face to massage it in, which can damage skin’s elasticity.
Finally, adding moisture to the air in your home or office with a humidifier can help your skin maintain a healthier glow and keep you feeling more comfortable.
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5. Exfoliate the right way.
Another thing to consider is how you exfoliate. While it is recommended to do it regularly to get rid of dead cells and make the skin more vibrant, you should make sure to be gentle.
As much as we all love our rough loofahs and classic apricot scrubs, it’s usually best to leave those for your feet, elbows or other parts of your body where skin gets very rough and isn’t prone to redness.
If you are too aggressive during exfoliating or doing it too often, it may cause dryness, oil breakout, redness, or other problems and actually exacerbate the problem.
Instead of using a rough scrub, try something with very fine exfoliating particles and then apply gently. You can also try a chemical exfoliant.
Even a vitamin C serum applied before moisturizing (or a moisturizer with vitamin C included) is a wonderful gentle exfoliant that can make your skin look dewy and fresh.
6. Find a makeup routine that works for you.
Society puts a lot of pressure on women to be beautiful, with an emphasis on so-called “natural beauty”.
Men often say they like it when women wear little to no makeup, but this can be frustrating for women since the idea of “natural beauty” is a total paradox if our makeup-free features don’t already fit society’s narrow definition of beauty.
For instance, we want women to be beautiful, to have clear-looking skin, rosy cheeks, long eyelashes and eyes that “pop”, but we also tell women that too much makeup is bad, ugly, or looks “cheap”.
So how do we look beautiful while still appearing to be natural beauties when most of us were not born with perfectly clear skin, long lashes and full, pouty lips?
The trick is to spend some time designing a makeup aesthetic that feels right to you. Makeup should help you feel confident and beautiful, not awkward or overdone, and only you can define that for yourself. The process of trial and error is usually the best way to do this.
Just as we recommended with skincare, subscribing to a beauty box subscription can give you an opportunity to try lots of different looks, as can taking advantage of free makeovers at beauty supply stores and department store makeup counters.
No matter what, be sure that your foundation or base perfectly matches your skin tone (this may mean having two or three different shades depending upon the time of year and your sun exposure), that your skin is well moisturized before you apply it, and that your products aren’t contributing to skin problems like acne or dry, irritated skin.
Beyond that, do what makes you feel good and feel like your best self. If that’s a 20-step makeup routine, then great! If that’s a little mascara and some lip gloss, that’s wonderful, too.
Your natural beauty comes from inside of you — your smile, your personality, and the sparkle in your eye, and that is what you really want to enhance with your makeup.
7. Add a little shimmer to your glow.
There are many ways to highlight your natural beauty with makeup, but one of the easiest and most universal is to use a product that has a bit of shimmer or strobing effect on your cheekbones, under your eyebrows and along your jawline. You can even add a little to your collarbones.
Unless you are an expert at contouring, keep the effect minimal by blending a shimmer cream with your foundation, BB or CC cream, or moisturizer. A favorite that is well-balanced for a daytime look is MAC’s Strobe Cream. You can mix it with cream blush if you’re good with a makeup brush or just tap and blend it gently along the tops of your cheekbones with your finger tips.
Healthy skin glows naturally, and your shimmer should replicate that — not give the effect of glitter on your skin.
8. Gently curl your eyelashes.
The human eye is naturally attracted to long lines, which is why long, dark eyelashes are so captivating. Yet very few of us are born with long, sooty lashes like we see in magazines and on models.
If you’d like to naturally draw attention to your eyes where your personality can really shine through, try curling your eyelashes!
Eylash curlers can be intimidating at first, since they look like a complicated contraption or a medieval torture device.
In reality, they’re pretty simple and as long as you are gentle, you can’t really screw it up.
For maximum effect, apply mascara after curling.
9. Invest in a professional eyebrow shaping.
Find a well-reviewed aesthetitian who is known for being great at brow shaping and schedule a visit. Sure, you can do it yourself with tweezers (don’t try to wax your own eyebrows, as wax is too imprecise and prone to big mistakes), but aesthetitians are taught to study your whole face and take in your bone structure before removing any hair.
A great brow shaping can make your eyes pop, make you look well-rested, and help add balance to your features.
After one good shaping, you can carefully maintain your brows by tweezing just a few hairs every day as they grow back.
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10. Use self-tanner sparingly and with great care.
In your efforts for how to look hot, you might think self-tanner is the way to go. But this is a tricky one since self-tanning products are difficult to use evenly. More often than not, you notice that you missed a spot or an area and there is an obvious difference from the rest of your body.
In order to get an even layer, you should always exfoliate and/or shave before putting self-tanner on and never apply it on your wet skin. This is a great time to bust out that course apricot scrub or heavy-duty loofah and get scrubbing.
Dermatologist Shari Marchbein told Allure Magazine that there’s a scientific explanation for why skin looks so bad when self-tanner is applied without having exfoliating first. She told that authors that “dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the sugar molecule that has a chemical reaction with amino acids in the outermost top layer of the skin to cause a temporary darkening, does not penetrate deeper into the skin.”
Dr. Marchbein goes on to explain that the skin should be dry, otherwise you’re facing a potential chemical interaction that can yield unattractive results due to oils that “could interfere with the binding of DHA to the stratum corneum.”
Of course, you should always wash your hands immediately after application or wear gloves to apply sunless tanner in order to avoid them becoming disproportionately tan compared to the rest of your body, too. That orange ring around your hands is definitely not pretty!
11. Wear sunscreen every day.
You might not be happy with how your skin looks; it seems pale and overall unattractive.
If you are looking for ways to brighten dull skin so you can look more attractive, going to a tanning bed or sunning yourself without any sunscreen might not be the right way to go.
Not only you do you risk getting burnt, but there are long-term effects that can be even more troubling, such as skin cancer, permanent discoloration, skin damage or premature aging.
Instead, find a daily sunscreen that makes your skin feel great. It can be included in your moisturizer or worn on top of your moisturizer (just make sure the moisturizer has absorbed before applying sunscreen).
Dr. Sonia Batra, a board-certified dermatologist and co-host of the show “The Doctors” told “Oprah Magazine” that she recommends physical blocks made from minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, over chemical ones like Oxybenzone “since these provide broad spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB portions of the spectrum.”
There are even lightly tinted mineral sunscreens that can help even your complexion while protecting your skin.
But whatever type you choose is great, as long as you use it and reapply regularly.
12. Take great care of your nails.
There are different styles and preferences when it comes to nails these days and that is something we should all accept. However, one thing has not changed: Whether you prefer long or short nails, bare or polished, they need to be even and clean.
This is a beauty tip anyone can take part in and it goes a long way! Moisturize your cuticles, try not to pick at them, and keep your nails clean and even. Easy!
Also, if your nail polish is seriously chipped or otherwise ruined, be sure to remove it.
13. Protect the skin on your neck.
Aging is natural, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to combat its visible signs as long as possible, but we often forget to do this for our necks.
There are many skin care products that claim to have anti-aging effects that will revitalize your skin and bring its youthfulness back. But did you know that most facial products can and should be applied to the neck area, too?
Check the label and choose the products that can be applied to both décolletage and neck, as those are also quite prone to aging signs.
Also be sure you apply (and reapply) sunscreen to your neck, too! You can even buy a UPF-rated scarf or neck gaiter that can protect that delicate skin from the aging effects of sun exposure, for extra care.
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14. Use lip balm to heal chapped lips.
It might be that it gets windy outside or you have a biting habit, but whatever the reason, you are bound to have problems with dry or flaky lips occasionally.
In those cases, you should avoid putting lipstick on as it will look uneven and may even exacerbate the dryness or flakiness to your lips.
Instead, try to get rid of dead skin cells with a toothbrush (be gentle) and utilize a moisturizing balm. Once you get rid of dryness, regularly use a medicated lip balm like Carmex to heal and restore the natural balance of your lips.
Carmex, as well as simple lubricating products like Vaseline and Aquaphor, also have the added benefit of being glossy, serving as a lip gloss that will help brighten your face and offer a healthier, more put-together look.
After your lips are healed, you can return to making your lips beautiful with lipstick.
15. Keep perfume light.
Everyone loves attractive woman with a fresh and attractive scent, but you need to know where the limit is when applying perfume. There is no need to leave behind your scent minutes after you leave the room.
Too much perfume may not only have the counter-effect to what you want to achieve but can even induce headaches to other people.
When in doubt, use moderation. Spray a cloud of fragrance and step into it, or apply a few dabs to the insides of your ankles instead of your neck, where your fragrance will be closer to other people’s noses.
Remember, you want people to say, “She smells good” — not, “she smells like perfume!”
16. Change your hairstyle regularly.
Some women love wearing a ponytail, bun, or braid and that’s their favorite hairstyle for all occasions.
While there is nothing wrong with that, you should make sure not to always tie it in the exact same position. These types of styles lead to plenty of hair tension and if you’re wearing it every day, you can weaken the quality and health of your follicles. You may even notices some hair loss in the areas where your hair is pulling.
In addition, mixing it up frames your face differently and gives you a fresh look.
17. Keep your teeth white.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on bleaching to have a brighter smile. Whitening strips work well, and can give you whiter teeth that still look natural.
In addition, try to avoid regularly consuming the foods that stain the worst: red wine, coffee, and black tea. If you can’t live without those, avoid letting them come into contact with your front teeth by using a straw for iced tea or iced coffee instaed of sipping those drinks hot.
At the very least, cover your front teeth as you sip!
Add whitening toothpaste, regular flossing and visits to the dentist and you’ll have a naturally pretty smile.
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18. Set yourself up for a night of true beauty sleep.
Everyone needs a good night of sleep. After all, that’s when the cells in our bodies regenerate and heal!According to the CDC, adults need at least seven hours each night.
There are many factors contributing to lack of sleep, but getting an inadequate amount of sleep greatly affects our beauty. Not only will you feel tired, you will look tired.
From dark circles under our eyes to premature aging, getting 7 or more hours of uninterrupted sleep is key to being naturally attractive.
A few tips to help you get more sleep:
- Eliminate caffeine after 4pm and reduce stimulating media like scary or suspenseful television after 8pm to help settle your mind and emotions.
- Set your phone to go into ‘night mode’, which reduces the amount of blue light you consume after sunset.
- Keep your devices far away from your bed so you won’t be tempted to look at them when you should be sleeping.
- Settle into bed with a book or magazine to help you calm down instead of a TV, tablet or computer screen.
- Try a bedtime meditation from an app like Calm or Mindspace, or even a free meditation track on YouTube.
19. Use a satin pillowcase and satin-lined sleep cap.
Sleeping on a satin or otherwise very smooth fabric pillowcase can help reduce irritation on your face. If you’re experiencing redness, splotchiness or rough skin, a satin pillowcase can really help.
For the hair, a satin pillowcase or a satin-lined sleep cap can reduce a lot of stress upon your hair and even help preserve your hairstyle so that you can do less washing, drying and heat styling, leading to more natural bounce and energy.
20. Start your day with a big glass of water and then sip all day.
Hydration not only helps every organ in your body work better, it also prevent headaches, can help reduce anxiety symptoms from dehydration, and can help your skin look plumped and fresh!
According to the Mayo Clinic, women need about 11.5 cups of fluids every day. While that number does include any fluids at all, highly caffeinated beverages and alcohol can exacerbate dehydration. That’s why it’s best to drink water for at least half of this minimum, which has no sugar, chemicals, additives or calories.
If you exercise and work up a big sweat, you will need to add in more fluids to this minimum, including electrolytes.
21. Exercise regularly.
There are so many benefits to getting regular exercise that we can’t even list them all here! The first thing to know is that — despite what the beauty and fitness industries may try to sell you — being beautiful has nothing to do with the size or shape of your body.
With that in mind, remember that exercise is proven to boost “happy hormones” in your brain — and there’s nothing more naturally pretty than your smile.
In addition, as Maddy Zollo Rusbosin writes for Women’s Health Magazine, exercise also improves circulation (which can give you a healthier glow and a better skin tone overall), sweating helps clear pores (just shower or wash your face afterward!), and lowers cortisol levels which reduce stress, which helps slow the physical signs of aging.
That’s a win … times three!
You don’t need to go all jazzercize (unless you want to) in order to reap the benefits. Even a 20-30 minute walk is shown to help you be happier, healthier, and maybe even prettier.
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22. Schedule regular haircuts or trims.
Hairstyling can take a lot of the life out of your hair, especially if you’re using heat like blowdryers, curling irons or flat irons. But healthy, bouncy hair is just one snip away. Schedule regular (every six to eight weeks) haircuts or simple trims to keep your ends free of breakage and keep the shape of your cut fresh.
If full haircuts are too pricy to indulge in that often, ask your stylist if there’s a “quick trim” deal you can strike that’s cheaper and just keeps your bangs or bob sharp.
You won’t believe how much prettier you’ll look with healthier hair.
23. Deep condition your hair regularly.
Frizzy and fly-away hairs will always undermine your efforts to look pretty. To keep your hair under control, use a leave-in conditioner that is appropriate for your hair type and do a deep conditioner in the shower once a week.
Healthy hair always adds to our overall beauty.
24. Feed your body healthy foods.
There are many foods you can eat that will help you be naturally pretty because they promote good health overall. But some specific foods can help boost your natural beauty by nourishing your skin and hair, too. Unsurprisingly, fresh fruits and veggies top this list — but that’s not all.
According to Healthline, foods like avocados, salmon, and walnuts contain healthy fats that can help your hair look healthier and give your skin more elasticity (which reduces fine lines and wrinkles).
They also recommend eating foods that are high in vitamin C like bell peppers and many fruits, sharing that “this vitamin is necessary for creating the protein collagen, which keeps skin firm and strong.” This information is based upon a large study involving women, and it turned out that “eating plenty of vitamin C to a reduced risk of wrinkled and dry skin with age.”
Many beauty experts recommend drinking two glasses of milk a day, which is a great idea (as long as you’re not allergic!). Milk can help you be more beautiful not just by building strong bones with calcium and vitamin D, but also by helping you build and maintain muscle tone with its high protein content.
According to physician Heather Beall, who spoke to Oprah Magazine about the benefits of milk, “The protein found in dairy products can help promote skin elasticity as we age.” The article also notes that milk contains retinol, which can help fight the signs of aging.
Finally, eating foods that are high in beta carotein, lutein and lycopene can help reduce the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. That means carrots, tomatoes, dark leafy green veggies, and sweet potatoes.
25. Eat dark chocolate.
If you’re looking for a little indulgence, head straight to one of our favorite foods: dark chocolate. Despite the warnings from your mother that chocolate causes acne (it doesn’t!), dark chocolate (which has very little dairy compared to milk chocolate) can actually help your skin look better.
Not only is chocolate considered a superfood, which makes it great for your immune system, it can also make you prettier. According to British Cosmo, “Rich in vitamins A, B1, C, D and E, plus iron and calcium, chocolate nourishes your skin from the inside out to replace lost moisture. Plus, it prevents aging; defending damage by protecting from harmful UV rays thanks to its antioxidant flavonoids.
Also, when you eat something you love you can experience a boost of happy hormones in your brain and body, helping you feel relaxed. And when you feel good, you look good!
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Aneeca Younus is an expert editor, mentor, analyst and researcher. She has worked across the globe with highly-qualified health and beauty experts.