How can I look better on video calls with droopy eyelids?
October 16, 2020 4:34 PM   Subscribe

I’ve always had stripy eyelids, one side more than the other, which has become worse recently with age and disturbed sleep. I don’t really care, but I recently watched a few video call recordings of myself... and I guess I do care. Not just because it makes me look incredibly unattractive but also because I look sleepy and bored even though I wasn’t. I’m on video calls all the time. Are there any non surgical tricks that will help?
posted by redlines to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Ha, I have one droopy eyelid (and one normal "I am 52" eyelid) and in the age of ALLZOOM it's started to get on my nerves. My solution was GLASSES. Basically it gives another focus that aren't my eyes. And then I don't see my own eyes as much as I did. You can get nice frames with clear glass from Zenni or a number of other places. The other suggestion I've heard is just staying moisturized and hydrated, and maybe using eyelid cream. I was very surprised that I tried some of that under-eye "bag reducer" stuff--no idea what it's called, you could just as well use Preparation H I've heard (actually, I looked it up, don't)--but it did have short term useful effects. I am a no-makeup person but I bet people will also have good makeup hacks as well.
posted by jessamyn at 5:07 PM on October 16, 2020 [11 favorites]

This seems a little extreme, but I've seen ads for eyelid tape.
posted by pinochiette at 5:18 PM on October 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Cool packs and hydration definitely help with my Bad Eyelid. Also, in the before times, a daytime smoky eye makeup look (I have hooded lids as well, so it’s a bit of a niche look but there are a million videos). And mascara, including eyelash curling, to distract and also draw attention away. Does it all work? I honestly don’t even know. It’s probably less visible than I imagine, hopefully, but boy do I feel you.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:52 PM on October 16, 2020

I've always hated my own beady eyes. One trick I learned is to make sure you get a glint in your eye by having a somewhat bright light that reflects off your eye into the camera. These days they make those LEDs that clip to your desk or screen. That makes me look like I'm alive at least.
posted by at at 6:07 PM on October 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

If you haven't already, max out the "Touch-up appearance" option on Zoom, in the preferences panel.
posted by dum spiro spero at 6:16 PM on October 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don’t quite know what you mean by stripy eyelid but if you move your screen a little higher you’ll likely naturally have your eyes a little more open.
posted by raccoon409 at 7:06 PM on October 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

For the one that's worse, wearing glasses and concentrating your indirect light sources toward that side add up pretty well to "slightly less than optimal WFH configuration causing an interplay of shadows and glare" in my experience, instead of making me wonder if people are now unabashedly staring at me as they never would in-person.
posted by teremala at 7:29 PM on October 16, 2020

Yeah, if you're not boosting your computer camera level up to at least the angle of another human being looking at you, you're gonna look weird to yourself. Pop some thick books or boxes under your monitor or laptop, so you are looking directly into the camera. Make sure you have daylight-level lighting on your face, even if you have to move a couple lamps around you to cast that level of light on yourself. Smile. Practice "attentive"and "responsive" facial expressions on camera.

And let it go. I have had one droopier eyelid at least since my teen years. I've seen it in my HS graduation photo forward. It's not the end of the world; symmetrical people are not the average. When you look around in a Zoom meeting you can probably find someone who has only the top of their head in view, or who is badly lit, or otherwise unaware of their appearance on camera. it's OK to be that person, and it's also OK to be you, even if you want to optimize your on-screen image.
posted by Miko at 8:03 PM on October 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I popped the glass out of my old glasses and wear them on Zoom. Partly because I don’t need glasses for computers, and I hate the glare of empty glass. Also because I’ve worn glasses for 25 years and I look more like me in them. Thicker frames should work!
posted by Valancy Rachel at 8:09 PM on October 16, 2020

If you go the glasses route with non rx lenses, get that anti computer coating on them. I think Zenni calls it blue blokz or something. I have a really weak computer distance rx and some of my glasses have the coating and some do not. It actually does make for a better staring at a screen all day experience.
posted by phunniemee at 5:41 AM on October 17, 2020

I have very hooded eyelids and downturned eyes that are getting worse with age, so I feel you. Doing my eyebrows (making sure they are well shaped and I've tweezed any strays, plus filling them in with eyebrow gel) helps me look more awake.

I'm also going to throw this out there: on Zoom at least, you can turn off your "self view" so that your camera is still on for others but you're not staring at your own face all day. This is very helpful for your own mental well being and I highly recommend doing it.

If you are more worried about how others see you, then I guess keep your camera on and just try to make an engaged expression. I do this sometimes too, but I worry I may be trading droopy eyes for forehead wrinkles because I find myself raising my eyebrows just slightly to look more alert. Also the glasses thing is true, I wear glasses and definitely feel most comfortable with my more slightly cat-eye shaped ones than the rounder shaped ones or than when I am wearing my contacts.
posted by misskaz at 5:56 AM on October 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Good lighting fixes so many things by diffusing shadows. My video life has gotten infinitely better with a cheap, ring light that you can clip to your laptop, screen or phone. (I have one already, but am thinking of getting a second one so that I can experiment with two light sources). And I am sending it to all my friends as gifts, it is that awesome.
posted by nanook at 6:22 AM on October 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

You have two things conspiring against you here. One is that a laptop camera pointed up at you from table height is going to make you look appalling - between a relatively poor camera, probably poor lighting and the angle it is very challenging to look nice. So if any of that applies to you changing one or all of these things will make a difference. I had a very smart and always well turned out colleague ask me why my video was so much clearer than hers and I was like - I spent my own money and bought a good camera, a light and I have my home office set up so that I have two external monitors and the camera sits on top of them as does the light...oh...

The second thing is that yes to eye brow gel and mascara and/or eye liner to help define things a bit. Also a bit of eyeshadow placed so as to give depth where there may be none and to lift the corners of the eyes up.

There are a gazillion YT videos and articles on both set up/technology and video make up, some are better than others.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:06 AM on October 17, 2020

I would use a ring light and mount a webcam to get the angles right with it. So you could look at something like this.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:49 AM on October 17, 2020

Seconding nanook and oceanjesse that setting up a ring light is the single best thing you can do to improve your appearance on zoom. Second-best is checking the ‘touch up my appearance’ box on zoom.

I wouldn’t bother with makeup. It’s a lot of work, you’d have to do it every time, and it doesn’t make that much difference. YMMV but I don’t think changing your actual appearance is what you need here: I think you just need simple tech stuff to improve the image of you that other people are seeing.
posted by Susan PG at 8:51 AM on October 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

A cap with a brim will draw attention away from your eyes, and also make them harder to see. Sitting slightly further away from your camera will also help.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:19 PM on October 17, 2020

I find my eyes look droopier if I'm looking down at the screen where the people are and less if I'm looking up at the camera.
posted by willnot at 6:08 PM on October 17, 2020

there is a trick drag artists use with eyeliner/eyeshadow to counteract the droop at the outside corner of the eyes (as one gets older especially). there are a bunch of tutorials on this online! Not all are super extreme makeup looks, either.

i find doing eyeliner/eye makeup tedious, but supposedly a winged eyeliner stamp is a much quicker way to get to your outside-corner-lift goal (have not tried, but mean to do so!)
posted by spoh at 8:48 AM on October 19, 2020

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