I just found a story on bitchface, an unfortunate affliction that affects so many of us. When people ask you why you look so angry/upset/bitter—while you're feeling anything but those things—that's bitchface.
Without using the term, the article talks about how your face could be sending the wrong message—in effect, projecting an unhappy persona even if you're completely content. This has happened to me before; people have asked me why I'm so "serious," but I suspect that's only because I'm not walking around with a huge grin on my face. And then, of course, are the strangers who'll say, "Can't I get a smile? Let me see a smile!" (I usually give them a simpering grimace.) In reading the story and thinking about bitchface in general, it makes me wonder: Are men told to smile more as well? Do they worry about having "jerkface"? Somehow, I think the answer is no.
If you are prone to bitchface—and are uncomfortable with that—the story has a few suggestions. One doctor echoes the advice I once received from a dermatologist: If you don't want wrinkles, don't make any facial expressions. (Um, okay.) Otherwise, there are a few simple, non-surgical bits of advice. To find out what they are,
- Get relaxed. Any activity that promotes relaxation, such as yoga, tai chi, guided imagery, hypnosis or breathing, “leads to a net response of decreased muscle tension, which can make meaningful differences” to a face that looks stressed, worried, angry or tired, says clinical psychologist and dermatologist Dr. Richard Fried.
- Arch your brows. Damone Roberts, who's opening a brow-centric salon in Manhattan, says a full, gently rounded arch gives the softest, friendliest look. Be sure to pluck stray hairs, and use brow gel to keep hairs from hanging into your eyes.
- Brighten your eyes. Roberts recommends using a concealer a shade lighter than the skin under the eyes, then applying mascara and eyeliner applied to the top lashes and lids only.
- Magnify lips. To make thin lips seem plumper, Roberts says, place lip liner similar to the lips’ natural color just outside their natural lines; top with matching lipstick. (Personally, I don't like liner that goes outside the lip line, but your mileage may vary.)