Ever thrown on a bright T-shirt and felt instantly invigorated? What about applying a bold lip color to cheer you up? If so, it's not just coincidence that these things can improve your mood. These 11 fashion and beauty tricks for days when you feel your worst prove that getting dressed and beautifying can be used to make yourself feel better. Believe it or not, factors as small as an ill-fitting blouse or a boring makeup routine can directly affect your mood, and it's these tips straight from industry pros that can get you out of any funk when you're just not feeling 100 percent.
Don't let anyone fool you; we all have those days when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed (or just don't want to get out of bed at all) and don't feel completely like ourselves. Feeling cranky, for whatever reason, can be a real downer when you've got a packed schedule, a lot to get done, or are trying to focus on something else. While there are many natural, at-home ways to improve mood, it may come as a surprise that fashion and beauty can, in fact, be used as a tool as well.
"Any form of self-care tells your mind and body that you matter, which increases self-esteem and boosts mood," says Michele Barton PhD, Director of Clinical Health at Psychology Life-Well, in an email interview to Bustle. "There are many things about our appearance that we can not control...you can control how you present yourself." While it's not a guaranteed fix, knowing you look amazing can help boost your mood.
It's unexpected, but theoretically, something as small as a sheet mask may just be able to get you feeling good. And that's just one of 11 pro-recommended fashion and beauty tips for those days when you're feeling your worst.
1. In The Case Of A Skincare Issue, Get Treatment
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Dermatological Acne Treatment System, 7.5 Fl. Oz., $29.99, Amazon
If you've been avoiding seeing a professional about acne or another skin condition, don't. "It's important to get appropriate treatment," says Sejal Shah, Dermatologic Surgeon and RealSelf Contributor, over email when discussing different ways skincare can can be used to improve mood. "As the skin's appearance improves," Shah says, "people tend to feel better about themselves and happier." A 2005 study for Arch Dermatol backs this up, explaining that Accutane, a doctor-prescribed acne medication, can show improvements to both anxiety and depression. In other words, don't be afraid to reach out for advice or help when it comes to a personal matter you've been dealing with, because as they make you feel better your mood can improve.
2. Try A Mini Facial Or Sheet Mask
[TONYMOLY] I'm Real Mask Sheet Pack of 11, $10.17, Amazon
If you're unable to get to a professional in time and need a quick mood booster, Shah also recommends an easy, at-home solution. "If you're at home, I suggest a mini-facial or even a simple mask — I really like using sheet masks since you are pretty much forced to sit back and relax while you have it on and once you are finished your skin tends to look immediately more refreshed," she says. With options at beauty stores and lot's of DIY face mask recipes online, sheet masks and at-home facials are foolproof ways to relax and focus on yourself.
3. Wear Bright Colors
ASOS Ruffle Back Midi Dress, $89, ASOS
The clothes you choose to wear can say a lot about you and your mood, especially if you've been rotating the same dark, baggy ensemble in your wardrobe for a while. "Studies show that women are more likely to wear dark colored baggy clothing when depressed," Barton says. The alternative is, you guessed it, bright clothes that fit you well. "Wearing bright colors is known to increase mood." she adds. Look for clothes in either green or yellow tones, as a study from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam proves that adults feel happier when they're around those two colors.
4. Avoid Comfort Clothes
River Island Plus Fleck Peg Trousers, $56.43, asos.com
While you're at it, you might want to restrict comfort clothes like sweatpants and pajamas to the comfort of your own home. "Avoid the comfort clothes," Barton says, "especially in public." In their study for Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Adam Hajo and Adam D. Galinsky, professors at Northwestern University, found that when wearing doctor's lab coats, they received much more sustained attention than they did in painter's coats, or not coats at all. This doesn't exactly apply to non-doctors, but think about it: Dressing the part (whether it be a lab coat or a fierce midi skirt) could improve your mood.
4. Shop Within Your Means
Faux Leather Convertible Tote, $22.90, forever21.com
In order to truly make fashion and beauty therapeutic, Barton stresses that it must be done realistically. "Going to a very expensive store where you cannot buy any of the beautiful things you desire could be pretty depressing," she says. "If you shop within your means, and have the correct perception of your use of budget and fashion, it can be extraordinarily uplifting for mood." While it might feel good to go shopping and buy items that get you excited and happy, do keep your financial limits in mind so you don't end up overspending.
5. Go On A Window Shopping Spree
Herschel Supply Co. Roy Wallet, $24.98, amazon.com
And if you're on a tight budget, you don't necessarily need to buy anything to feel more positive. A study entitled “The Benefits Of Retail Therapy: Making Purchase Decisions Reduces Residual Sadness” from 2014 in the Journal of Consumer Psychology explained that while people who window shopped didn't show as much improvements in sadness as those who actually bought items, their moods did, in fact, improve. Barton recommends taking a stroll around the mall or storefronts to see what you like — again, no purchase is necessary. "The items that elicit a positive emotion can be put on the list to consider purchasing," Barton explains, "And to use as inspiration in revitalize things you might already have at home."
6. Get A New Makeup Routine
Ultra Glossy Lip in Finder's Keepers, $6, colourpop.com
Another free option? Going to the makeup counter and asking for a new look or a new makeup routine. "Another special treat is visiting a makeup counter and asking a consultant to assist you with a new look, you might even get a fabulous free makeover out of it," Barton says. Just as Shah explains, spending time on you can make you feel better about yourself. Oh, and "don't forget to ask for samples" Barton adds.
7. Experiment With New Styles
ASOS FOR YOU Jelly Gladiator Sandals, $11.50, asos.com
If you're feeling uninspired by your clothes, it might be time to experiment with new styles within both fashion and beauty. "Experiment with everything," says Bree Kish, plus size model, over email. "Hair styles, makeup looks, fashion trends; It's fun and you'll figure out what really makes you feel your best." If you've always wanted to try a bright eye shadow look, or finally want to take the plunge on some jelly shoes, now is the time to do it!
8. Stay Creative
Lancôme AUDA[CITY] in PARIS, $69, sephora.com
Alex Sanchez, Lancôme National Makeup Artist, agrees with Kish also saying that it's important to experiment and stay creative when you're feeling down. "Makeup is magic. Color is magic. There are no limitations and there are no consequences," Sanchez says over email. To stay focused on yourself, opt for makeup items or looks that you wouldn't have thought of before, staying creative and allowing makeup to "bright your spirit," as Sanchez put it.
9. Accentuate Your Favorite Features
Plus Size Bardot Ribbed Midi Dress Black, $25.50, missguided.com
"My experiences as a plus size model have taught me to use ways to flatter myself and accentuate my favorite features," Kish says, explaining that doing this can be used as a way to feel better when you don't feel 100 percent. "Fashion and beauty are for everyone and there are no limits just because you have a certain body type," she added. So, find your favorite features and dress them up, whether it's your boobs with a sexy bralette or your legs with an awesome pair of platform heels.
10. Pamper Yourself Often
Dr Teal's Foaming Bath with Rosemary & Mint, $13, amazon.com
"When you pamper your skin," Shah says, "it forces you to take a little time out of your day and focus on your skin and yourself.""Just having this 'break' from life and time to reflect can boost your mood." Relaxing bubble bath, anyone?
11. Invest In Yourself
As Barton, Shah, and Sanchez made clear, self-care is a positive and simple way to focus you and only you. If you're ever feeling your worst, don't be afraid to set aside some self-care time to focus on you and only you with these fashion and beauty tips.
Wearing bright colors and doing a mini facial might seem like small fixes, but they do have the ability to be used in a positive way to improve mood, as the pros explained. If your symptoms seem more serious, reach out to a doctor or professional for advice. If you think fashion and beauty could be the answer, focus on feeling your best and everything will fall into place.
Images: Melodi Erdogan, Courtesy Brands