Eleven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are still working remotely. And with a remote job often comes Zoom meetings (or Google Hangouts or Skypes). While we’re certainly more used to the ‘only seeing our coworkers through a computer screen’ thing, the whole situation can still feel a little awkward. Does my face look totally washed out? Do I look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame hunching over this MacBook Pro? From the best lipstick to wear to make your face light up to an elevated computer stand that will make you look and feel better, here are five simple tips for feeling more confident on your next Zoom call.

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5 Ways to Feel More Confident During Your Next Zoom Meeting
MoMo Productions/getty images

1. Prep Your Background

Sure, you can use a fake Zoom background, but we’ve really enjoyed upping our own home office décor game. (And by home office, we mean the one free corner of our bedroom.) To maximize your video call setup, try to find a quiet and clutter-free place in your home with minimal distractions. Keep in mind that, because you might not be used to showing off your interior design style to your colleagues, you’re going to want to make sure you’re cool with what they’re seeing. As Myka Meier, author of Business Etiquette Made Easy, tells us, “Ask yourself, ‘What are the titles of the books behind you on the bookshelf?’ ‘What is the small print on the poster hanging on your wall?’ You may be used to your background and forget there may be less than appropriate material in your shot,” says Meier. Want more tips? Check out how one PureWow staffer built the most productive WFH office for less than $140.

2. Invest in an Elevated Computer Stand

This one is twofold: First, an elevated computer stand makes for a more flattering view of your face on Zoom calls (we’re a little vein sometimes, OK?). Second, hunching over your computer—in addition to making you look like Quasimodo—is awful for your back and posture. Dr. Kellen Scantlebury of Fit Club Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center notes it’s important to keep your eyes focused directly in front of you to avoid bending your neck and scrunching your shoulders too much throughout the day—it can cause long-term back pain and posture problems. If you’re constantly hunching over your laptop, it’s time to invest in an elevated laptop stand, like this one from Soundance.

3. Wear a Bright Lip Color

Not one but two celebrity makeup artists gave us this tip. Says Millie Morales, “A small trick that will help you look pulled together in seconds before those video calls is to apply a red lipstick. The trick is to go for a more coral-toned red, which will brighten up your teeth, make your skin glow and fill out your features without having to put on a full face of makeup.” Adds Jenna Kristina, “The easiest way to look like you spent time doing your makeup for a Zoom call (even if you didn’t) is by putting on a bright and cheerful lipstick like Maybelline New York Color Sensational Made for All Lipstick in “Red for Me” or “Fuchsia for Me.” Both shades look flattering on every skin tone, I swear. Once you’ve applied your lip color, quickly swipe on a few coats of mascara and you’re good to go

4. Buy a Mini Ring Light

Ever wonder why celebrities and YouTubers looks so fab in their videos (most of the time, anyway)? It often comes down to lighting. And while you might not want to invest in a heavy duty ring light, this mini version from a brand called Meifigno is a gamechanger. Technically made for phone cameras, it's a really small ring light that clamps over your computer's (or phone's) camera. It has a little silicone tab, so it won't scratch your screen. Basically, it just blasts your face with light, so you look way more alive on video calls—even if you aren't wearing makeup and you'd rather quit your job than turn your camera on. At just $13, it's sure to become one of your most successful Amazon purchase during these very weird COVID times.

5. Wear What You’d Wear in the Office (On Top, At Least)

Business on top, party pajamas on the bottom. Even if you’re wearing your comfiest leggings and warmest slippers, stick to tops that you would’ve worn to the office. Not only does it look professional, but changing out of your decades-old sorority recruitment T-shirts will make you feel more confident. (Dress for the job you want, ya know?). Just be absolutely sure only your upper half is on camera so you can avoid an embarrassing Zoom faux pas. In terms of colors, we like this advice from Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster.com: “Aim for solid colors rather than prints because stripes and other patterns could look distracting on camera.”

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