Six Women On How Constant Video Calls Have Changed The Way They See Their Face

'Anyone who says they don’t end up just staring at themselves on Zoom is lying.'

Woman on webcam

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

‘One second, let me get adjusted,’ I tell my mum on my gazillionth Zoom call of the day. It’s 8pm on a Sunday night and I’m heading back to my desk where I can balance my phone against my computer in order to create the perfect Zoom angle.

I’ve done the lying down in bed, noting how incredibly long all my features seem. I’ve done the sitting on the couch, where the phone falls to your lap and all you can see are chins. I’ve done the standing in the garden, trying to get the perfect golden hour light from above.

Now, I’m balancing my phone so it’s parallel to my face and while it’s my favourite angle, I’m still sitting there watching my face move, picking apart all its flaws. It seems, as we come to the end of a month in lockdown, I’ve been staring at my own reflection for far too long.

We spoke to women who have noticed changes in their self-esteem, for better or worse, to find out what exactly quarantine has done to all our feelings about our faces…

Emily, 28, Manchester: ‘I’ve finally given my face a break from makeup and love it.’

I’m quite embarrassed to admit this, but I haven’t left the house without make-up on for probably 10 years. Maybe once or twice but even then I always put a bit of concealer on before nipping anywhere. I’ve always wanted to see what my skin was like with a proper break and now I’ve been doing that it has made me feel so different about how I look.

At first I didn’t feel myself at all, I looked like a completely different person. But now I’ve got used to it and I actually feel weird seeing myself with a full face on. I didn’t realise I could like the way I looked without foundation at least, but my skin has improved loads since I stopped wearing it every day. Plus, I always thought I loved the routine of putting makeup on in the morning – now I think I was just used to it because it’s actually such a drag. I can’t believe I used to spend 10 minutes just doing my eyebrows! It’s given me so much time back.

Evelyn, 25, Liverpool: ‘You can tell on my face how stressed I am.’

Before I used to wear some makeup every day for work, and obviously in quarantine I’ve been going without so I thought my skin would improve – especially since I’m eating less takeaways and I’m out of London’s big smog. I don’t know if it’s stress or the fact I’m not sleeping well but it’s actually worse than ever. You can just tell by my face how stressed I am all the time. I tried to do my hair and put make-up on one weekend to see if it would help boost my self-esteem a bit but I just felt even more ridiculous as soon as I left the house.

Nicki, 43, Essex: ‘I know I can live without Botox now.’

I am so used to not having wrinkles on my face and having lip and cheek filler so it did initially feel very strange seeing my face slightly change. However now I’m not wearing make-up it’s made me feel natural again. My partner Ray says he thinks I don’t look my age and in his opinion I don’t need it. I know when this is over I would have cheek filler and a tiny bit in my lip again but Botox now I know I can live without.

Jade, 32, Birmingham: ‘I’ve found flaws I never knew I had.’

I’m not usually a vain person, and wear minimal make-up unless it’s a special occasion. But being on video all the time has really made me hate my face to be honest! Anyone who says they don’t end up just staring at themselves most of the time is lying. When else would you look at yourself for more than a glancing look a few times a day?

All I can see is my wrinkles and the way they are enhanced when I move my face. I thought I knew where I had wrinkles, but turns out – from having to see my face about four hours a day – I’ve got loads more and particularly the bit between my eyebrows. It’s definitely made me think about Botox, which wouldn’t have been the case before. I wonder if that’s also because all I’m seeing is TV and Instagram, so I’m not getting to see normal people with normal flaws too, so it feels more overwhelming.

Tasmin, 27, London: ‘I didn’t realise how unnatural my face looked before.’

I get filler regularly in my lips and cheeks and have been for about three years now. I was actually due a top up right before my salon closed so it’s been about two months since I’ve had anything. I did think it would stress me out but actually looking at my face now compared to what it was I’ve noticed I was going a bit OTT. It went way beyond natural, my lips were absolutely ginormous. I used to like that look but I’m getting so many compliments now on how I look with the filler dissolving. I’ll still be getting it after this ends, but I don’t think as regularly.

Lorna, 27, London: ‘I wish people would stop telling me I look better without filler.’

I love all my filler, I literally get it all over my face: in my lips, nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. I got it topped up right before lockdown but it has started to dissolve slightly in the last couple of weeks, especially in my lips. The thing annoying me though is everyone telling me how great I look now. It’s all the people that tell me I should be more natural and I’ve ruined my face – it’s just so patronizing. I don’t care if you think I look better with less filler, I get it because it makes me feel better and I’ll continue to when this is over.

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