Up­grade your smile

The phrase is an emo­tional light­ning rod, but there’s real power in a killer grin. By Kate San­doval Box.

Shape (Malaysia) - - Contents - BY KATE SAN­DOVAL BOX

Be­ing told to smile is supremely an­noy­ing.

It’s con­de­scend­ing, for one. “And it tends to make us an­gry be­cause we know it can take away our cred­i­bil­ity,” says Patti Wood, the author of Snap: Mak­ing the Most of First Im­pres­sions, Body Lan­guage, and Charisma. If we do ac­qui­esce, we’re prob­a­bly fak­ing it. “I never ask a model to smile. It wouldn’t look real,” pho­tog­ra­pher Kourosh So­toodeh says. “I cap­ture a smile when the model is talk­ing and mov­ing, and it comes nat­u­rally.” Yet mount­ing ev­i­dence shows we’ve become a na­tion of grin­ners. Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley who stud­ied year­book pho­tos from the 1900s to the 2010s found that we used to pose sto­ically but now are likely to break into big toothy smiles. “When I started work­ing on beauty im­ages for mag­a­zines [in the 1990s], mod­els and celebri­ties didn’t want to smile be­cause, they said, it made their eyes squinty and their cheeks puff out,” says Linda Wells, the chief cre­ative of­fi­cer of Revlon. Now the brand’s Live Boldly cam­paign fea­tures spokesmod­els in full grin mode. Con­sid­er­ing that smil­ing re­leases mood-boost­ing hor­mones and neu­ropep­tides that tell the body you’re in a pos­i­tive state of mind, are we all walk­ing around feel­ing hap­pier than ever? Only if what’s show­ing on the out­side re­flects what you’re feel­ing in­side. “When you smile for a selfie and then im­me­di­ately drop it, you may only get a short high,” Wood says. “Our brains need feed­back from another per­son to keep the chem­i­cals flow­ing.” You also have to form what’s called a Duchenne, or true, smile. “That hap­pens when you pull the cor­ners of your mouth up and en­gage the eye mus­cles so lit­tle crow’s-feet ap­pear,” Wood says. Surely one of the best ways to ac­ti­vate this true smile is with some killer lips. For grin­spi­ra­tion: Read on for the lat­est treat­ments and smile-shift­ing tech­niques.

The en­hancers

Way beyond your ba­sic clear balm, new lip treat­ments of­fer deeply hy­drat­ing in­gre­di­ents and subtle hues to make your lips smoother and more ra­di­ant. Wear one on its own—Clar­ins Hy­dra-Quench Mois­ture Re­plen­ish­ing Lip Balm ( RM88, clar­ins.com.my) has the per­fect pink tone to cre­ate a nat­u­ral-look­ing glow—or use it to prep your lips for bold colour. “The mois­ture helps lip­stick glide on evenly,” makeup artist Lottie Stan­nard says. Ap­ply a thin layer (Sephora Co­conut Lip Balm, RM26, from Sephora) then blot, or the colour you put on top will even­tu­ally mi­grate, she says.

Ex­pres­sion hacks

If you want to make your smile look more sym­met­ri­cal, grab a lip liner. “Fill in the thin­ner side with a pen­cil that is the same shade as your lip­stick,” Stan­nard says. “You can also re­lax the mus­cle that’s pulling on your smile un­evenly with an in­jec­tion of Bo­tox,” says plas­tic sur­geon Dr. Sachin Shrid­ha­rani. ( From RM30 per unit, As­tute Clinic). To con­ceal gums, con­sider a lip filler like Ju­vé­derm Vol­bella XC, “which vo­lu­mizes in a re­ally nat­u­ral way,” Dr. Shrid­ha­rani says. ( Price: RM2,200, As­tute Clinic) “It can also bol­ster down­turned cor­ners.” Strategic lip colour helps too: Ap­ply it only to the cen­ter of your lips, Stan­nard says. Then press together to blend.

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