Beauty & Psychology (Instagram Tips)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so the saying goes. 

However, if you take psychology into account, there is much more to how we perceive beauty than the superficial stuff that our eyes can see.

While we have our life experiences, our individual viewpoints about life, and our cultures, our brains are biologically hard-wired from a young age to perceive certain physical characteristics as beautiful. No matter what we say about beauty being about the beholder, we still rely heavily on what we visually see. That is why having an eye-catching Instagram is a large part of building your following. It’s especially true if your account is focused on beauty, makeup, lifestyle or fashion.

Let’s take a look at some psychological studies on how humans perceive beauty, and analyze that information to find out how you can improve your Instagram profile and take selfies with perfection (without all those filters).

FACT 1: The Human Brain is Attracted to Symmetry

According to a psychological study, it doesn’t matter what upbringing or culture we come from, our brains are automatically and naturally attracted to symmetry. Science and researchers are still debating why. The majority believes it’s because symmetrical faces are supposed to be indicatations of intelligence, balance, and optimal health.

Instagram Tips

I know I wasn’t born with a perfectly symmetrical face! Yours probably isn’t either. But, the good news is: if you can make your face appear to be symmetrical, then you can still achieve that attraction.

Use these two tricks to help your face appear to be symmetrical:

  • Make-Up – We know this trick well, don’t we? Spread on some foundation to even out our skin tone, concealer will quickly hide any leftover imperfections (and we have green, purple, orange, yellow, etc. to counteract our issues). Eyeliner will help to create more symmetrical eye shapes, contouring will shade the areas we want to slim down or accentuate the apples of your cheeks more, and highlighting will make the parts that we want to be more prominent stand out.
  • Take Pics From the Left Side – It might come as a surprise to you, but we humans tend to perceive that left side of our face is more attractive than the right. I always lean toward taking pictures of the right side of my face, however, so if you’re like me, you might be thinking, “Thats not true!” But, because this actually the majority opinion, you may want to consider starting to take more pics that are focused on the left side of your face, because it’s not our opinion that you’re worried about, but rather the majority of people who will be looking at your picture. By taking pics from the side, as opposed to face-forward, you can effectively hide any nonsymmetrical issues within your features, and at the same time, create an optical illusion of symmetry.

FACT 2: Appear Healthy

This probably sounds ridiculously obvious, but out brains are also hardwired to be attracted to a healthy-looking appearance. This absolutely does not mean that you have to have a six-pack, boast an olypic level fitness routine, or eat and drink a constant diet of greens and kale smoothies. For example, a brief skim of this study enlightens us: individuals who appear to be sleep deprived are viewed as less attractive than those who appear well-rested. (I can imagine this isn’t helping me much.)

Instagram Tips

The bottom line: if you haven’t been sleeping well or taking the best care of yourself, it’s going to reflect in your selfies. 

Some quick ways to improve your selfies?

  • Get that crucial 6-8 hours sleep – Those dark undereyes will start to disappear, and you will look more lively and alert in your pics. 
  • Makeup – If you can’t get that sleep, fake it! There are so many concealers and undereye puffing products on the market, there’s no reason you should ever have baggy undereyes or dark circles!
  • HygieneThe Psychology of Hygiene Persuasion will enlighten you regarding how important your hygiene is to other people, in case you didn’t know. If you know that you are going to be the subject of some photos, take the time to at least brush your hair and teeth and wash your face. And maybe even throw on some makeup. 
  • Step Away From Overhead Lighting – Hey, we all have those nights when we just can’t sleep. (I know I do!) Your worst enemy is going to be overhead lighting in this case, because it casts shadows in a downward manner on your face. It also makes your skin look paler, which can make you look even more sleep deprived. There are two magical light hours of the day – dawn and dusk. Utilize these crucial hours of the day! Softer, natural light will result in less – or even no – shadows, and often make the best shots.

FACT 3: Smile!!!!!

I tend to take pics with my full #rbf face, and I’ve noticed many of you with your duckface looks, which I have yet to understand. Lol But, studies like this one show us that people are attracted to smiles, laughter, and general happiness. People’s perception of beauty can be dramatically altered with even the slightest bit of a smile. So, say “Cheese!!!”

Instagram Tips

Some of us were just born with a killer smile, but if you don’t think that’s the case for yourself, I’ve got you covered. Try these tips:

  • Hide Your Tongue – When you smile, tuck your tongue behind your teeth. Try it right now! Go over to your mirror – or pull out your compact – and smile. Now, press the end of your tongue against the back of your front, lower teeth. Not only will this help make your smile even out, it will also keep your pics from looking like you have a goofy toothy grin and maintain some of that symmetry I was talking about earlier.
  • Squinty Eyes – When you smile, do you notice how the smile muscles in your cheeks make the corners of your eyes wrinkle? Instead of trying to open your eyes wider to counteract this and looking like a deer that is stuck in headlights, try squinting your eyes as you smile. This one takes some practice, so go do it in front of the mirror until it becomes more natural. 

Fact #4: You Are Your Own Worst Judge

You will always be more critical of your selfies than anyone else will. We all know this! It’s called the Spotlight Effect. This occurs with our beliefs, our appearances, and our actions. The truth of the matter is, a great majority of the time, the things that we are cognizant of in ourselves aren’t even noticed by others. 

Instagram Tips

  • Study your pics/selfies – You have pictures of yourself that you love and pics that you hate. Take some time to really pick them apart. Does the lighting do you justice/injustice? Which angles of your face do you like the most? Look closely to figure out what it is that makes you like or dislike the pictures that you have taken. When you start understanding these tiny details, it can help to improve your self-confidence, as well as help you snap perfect shots for your Instagram profile every time.
  • Stop being so hard on yourself – The vast majority of people will probably scroll right past even your worst of pics. Hey, your followers might even like what you perceive as a terrible pic. Sure, you want to do your best to look absolutely and perfectly fabulous in every single photo you post, but keep in mind that the majority of people won’t be as critical of your appearance as you are. And those who are critical are probably jealous.

Hopefully, these tips help you out as you build your Instagram profile. Above all, even though Instagram is based on images, the messages – your written words – on your Instagram, as well as maintaining your self-esteem, beliefs, and morals, are far more important than any picture that you post. Let your true you shine through. 😚😚

What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you have any tips to share? You know what to do⏬

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