What Beauty Looks Make You Feel Most Confident?

“What are you putting lipstick on for?”

It was a valid question for my friend to ask. She had just walked in on me sitting in my dorm room at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Thursday, slicking on the vampiest red lip I could find. “A math test,” I replied. She looked at me like I was crazy. “A math test? Who puts on lipstick for a math test?”

Ever since I started wearing makeup, I always had one go-to product to make me feel more confident. In middle school, it was a shimmery peach blush that I liked to swirl over my entire face. Later, it was a thick layer of orangey foundation. By the end of high school, I had discovered the powers of lipstick, particularly in shades of red. My reliance on the magic of lipstick was well known—whenever my brightest red lip was on (typically either Nars Cruella or Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Standout), my friends knew I was feeling insecure about something.

Nowadays, my go-to confidence boosting beauty look is a full coverage foundation, a sharp contour, lots of lashes, a bright highlight, and of course a red lip. Again, the red lip is key—everything else is just a standard part of my day-to-day look. I’ve swiped on red lipstick before job interviews, important meetings, dates, and yes, lots of math tests. I can’t say that the red lipstick made any of these anxiety-inducing events go any smoother than they would have had I simply worn a tinted lip balm, but I can say that it allowed me to go into the event with my head held high.

I’m not the only person to try to up my self-esteem through beauty products. Whether it’s getting a good blowout, mastering a cat-eye, spritzing on your fave perfume, or brushing on an ultra-reflective highlighter, everybody has their beauty tricks to boost the feel-good. Below, I gathered some of my friends’ favorite tips and rituals.

One of my friends, Lessly, also swears by lipstick when she’s feeling down. “A strong dark lip makes me feel empowered, because people tend to be intimidated by dark colors.”


Élsa uses lotion on her face before applying makeup to avoid flaky skin. “I like to use powder to brighten under my eyes and other dark areas on my face so I look more like an angel than a zombie,” she says. “I also love to use a highlighter because it makes me feel like I’ve made my 2D makeup 3D.”


Brittany loves a good highlight, too. She and Élsa both prefer to use a shimmery eyeshadow over a standard highlighter for an extra gorgeous glow. “[I] highlight dem cheekbones because they’re my fleekbones…[and] line my waterline with dark eyeliner because it brings more attention to my eyeballs,” Brittany says.


Bethany and Victoria both appreciate a strong brow. Bethany likes to pair her bold brows with big lashes because “it gives me a nice, open ‘approachable’ look and I love that.” Maddy is also a fan of lashes. She says, “False eyelashes make me feel like I can rule the world because I feel flirty and cute and I can make eye contact because I know my eyes look pretty.”

Do you have any confidence-boosting beauty tricks? Let us know in the comments below!


by Ariel Wodarcyk

One Reply to “What Beauty Looks Make You Feel Most Confident?”

  1. SuzAnne Regalia says:

    Ari, I love that you can take a topic many people would consider fluff and make it into something socially relevant! I immediately contemplated picking up a new all-day red. Suggestions?

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