I’m So Tired of Video Calls, But These Products Help Me Look More Awake

Pre-2020, the only time I’d ever been known to “zoom” was when I was rushing from my desk to a happy hour after work. Fast forward a year, however, and Zoom is now very much a part of my daily vocabulary—however reluctantly. A typical day might see me dialling into a Zoom event for a new product launch before joining a Google Hangout with the rest of the Who What Wear editors to brainstorm new content ideas, followed by a video call to interview a celebrity hairdresser for a feature before ending the day with a Zoom catch-up with friends. Yes, it looks as if video calls are here to stay for the foreseeable future, but with no half-price cocktails in sight, I am, quite frankly, over them already.

However, there’s nothing worse than joining a Zoom call only to see my weary face staring back at me, so over the last few weeks, I’ve been testing and trialling a whole array of products to help disguise just how tired of video calls I am—and I think I’ve found the perfect formula.

If you’re also suffering from Zoom fatigue, then keep scrolling to discover the five-product combination that I swear by to help me look more awake on video calls and to shop my favourites.

One of the biggest skincare trends for 2021 is eyecare, and it’s really no surprise when we’re all spending more time than ever sat in front of a screen. My eyes are definitely feeling the strain, and it’s showing in the form of puffiness and dark shadows. While I can rarely be bothered to apply a full face of foundation these days, concealer is an absolute essential for me and makes the biggest difference in how awake I look on-screen. In fact, if I could only pick one product to wear on Zoom video calls, it would be concealer.

I genuinely don’t think I look awake until I’ve put this concealer on. It’s probably the most brightening concealer formula that I own, and I wear it every single day—it’s that good. The only thing to note is that it’s incredibly moisturising and almost slippy in texture, so if you’re prone to oiliness, then you might want to apply a little powder on top to set it in place.

This new launch from BareMinerals is seriously good. It manages to leave skin looking dewy and fresh while providing pretty heavy-duty coverage for under-eye bags, which is no mean feat. It also doubles as a great concealer for blemishes, so I’m really impressed.

This is one of the best affordable concealers that I’ve ever tried. It’s glowy—no surprises there—but it also does a brilliant job of camouflaging darkness and redness in the skin. I also love that it doesn’t collect in any of the creases or fine lines that are starting to pop up around my eye area.

I am devastated to admit that a professional hasn’t been near my brows since 2019, and they are now in dire need of some expert help. However, no matter how unruly they are right now, I never feel truly put-together if I haven’t done my brows. It might sound like a bit of a faff, but trust me. My face always looks so much more lifted and awake on a video call when I’ve spent a minute or so filling in sparse patches and brushing up brow hairs. Plus, there are some brilliant tinted brow gels on the market right now that are a cinch to use.

Big, fluffy brows are really in right now, and I’m a bit obsessed with how they look. I’ve been taking advantage of my overgrown brows and really brushing them up and out with this tinted gel from MAC. It’s brilliantly volumising and disguises sparse areas with ease.

This brow gel boasts a teeny wand that means you can really coat every single hair with product for a precise, polished effect. In fact, it’s the closest I can get to looking like I’ve had a professional shape them while I’m at home.

I’ve tried plenty of brow gels over the years that leave hairs feeling crunchy, sticky, and stiff. This is the opposite of that—it feels incredibly nourishing yet manages to keep brows in place. Best of all, it magically makes your brows look thicker, so it’s ideal if you want to mimic the effect of a bushy brow look.

On my first video call back at work after maternity leave, I made the mistake of not applying any highlighter at all. In fact, with a busy day of Zoom meetings ahead of me, I opted for a full face of powder products in the hope that my oily skin would be kept in check for the entire day. What an error. My skin looked dull, flat, and tired on every call that day, and ever since, I have liberally applied highlighter to my face each morning. Opt for cream or liquid formulations if you really want the radiance to translate on camera.

I absolutely adore this product, and it’s another daily essential for me. When I have video calls, however, I really go to town on its application. I use it as a kind of radiance-boosting primer, applied all over my face beneath tinted moisturiser and concealer, and I also pop it onto my cheekbones as a final step in my makeup routine for some extra glow.

This is less dewy in finish than my Charlotte Tilbury favourite but definitely delivers on sheen. The creamy stick formulation means that you can apply it really precisely—I like slicking it onto my eyelids and beneath my brow bones to really awaken my eye area, but it looks equally lovely on cheekbones.

I don’t normally opt for makeup products with shimmer in them, but I truly love this versatile highlighter from L’Oréal. You can apply it directly onto your face using your fingertips for an intensely luminous look, but I actually like mixing in a few drops with my tinted moisturiser to leave my skin looking bright and well rested.

I am categorically not a bronzer girl, but video calls have the ability to totally wash out my already pasty complexion and leave me looking totally shattered. A generous dusting of bronzer over my cheeks helps my complexion to look a little more lively on Zoom, even if I’m feeling exhausted.

Most mornings, I take a big, fluffy makeup brush and dust this liberally all over my face in place of a setting powder. It takes two seconds and no makeup artistry skill at all, but I always immediately look 10 times more awake than I feel.

This cream bronzer was all over Instagram this summer and for good reason. Fenty claims that it fakes the effects of “sun, sleep, and plenty of water,” so I was sold before I even tried it. Thankfully, it delivers with a creamy texture that glides over the skin for a natural-looking glow.

This is a kind of skincare-makeup hybrid packed with shea butter and nourishing plant oils—a great choice if you find your skin looking dry or flaky by the end of the day. It’s a creamy, shimmery balm that delivers a subtle wash of colour to paler skin tones and acts as a sheeny highlight on deeper complexions. I also love it for creating a quick eyeshadow look using my fingers.

Finally, our lips are often the last thing we think of when it comes to faking a wide-awake look, but dry, chapped lips are one of the telltale signs that I’m feeling shattered. I miss wearing a proper lipstick day-to-day, but it feels a little too high-maintenance for me when I’m just sat at home. However, I now swear by tinted lip balms. They provide just enough colour to look like you’ve made an effort but look wonderfully sheeny on camera. Plus, they’re actually looking after your lips.

I mainly love this for the cooling infusion of sage and peppermint that feels tingly and refreshing when applied. However, it also boasts a decent amount of pigment, so you can almost kid yourself that you’ve got a proper lipstick on.

I keep Honest Beauty’s original balm on my bedside table, as it’s seriously good at nourishing lips overnight. This stick version has the same magic moisturising abilities but with the addition of a cheery pop of colour. I love how glossy it looks on video calls.

For a more natural, sheeny lip, I always reach for Lanolips. It has a really rich, hydrating texture, so you genuinely don’t have to reapply it, and I love this nude shade for a natural, barely-there finish. Up next, These Low-Maintenance Hair Trends Are Going to Dominate in 2021