What Is A Glow-Up?

Picture this: you're back in your hometown for a few weeks and you've planned a coffee date to catch up with your childhood best friend. Maybe it's been ten years or just a few months, but you're excited to learn what she's up to these days. As you sit down with your iced mocha and start absentmindedly scrolling through Twitter, the door chime rings, and in walks the most beautiful woman you've ever seen. Her smile is captivating, her clothes fall perfectly over her shoulders, and the glow from her skin seems to fill the room. Suddenly you realize — she's your old friend! What happened to the dull and awkward girl who lived across the street? It could be a glow-up. 

The hashtag #glowup has now garnered more than 74.5 billion views on TikTok. Yes, billion. Considering there are only about eight billion people on the planet, that's a lot of traffic for just one internet trend (via United States Census Bureau). But what is a glow-up, and is it the same thing as a that girl? With so much internet lingo floating around these days, it can be easy to get confused. Here's what the term really means and how you can try it out for yourself. 

What it means to glow-up

A glow-up and the "that girl" aesthetic aren't the same things, but they follow a similar idea. According to Urban Dictionary, a glow-up happens when a person goes through a total transformation that makes them more attractive. Most likely, it originated from the concept of "growing up" but with a "glow," a strong beauty and happiness that radiates to others. Of course, to glow-up could also be a somewhat backhanded compliment, suggesting that someone wasn't reaching their full potential (or that they weren't very good-looking) before their transformation.

People of any age, size, gender, ethnicity, or social status can have a glow-up. It can be a slow, gradual process, like turning from an awkward pre-teen into a confident adult, or it can happen in the span of a week. People who want to transform in a short amount of time may put more effort into their skincare routine, hygiene, beauty products, workouts, and outfits. Some people might even choose to cut and dye their hair or get cosmetic procedures, but a true glow-up is about more than outward appearances. It's also about becoming a healthier, happier, and more uplifting person. Being kind and friendly is the best way to achieve a positive glow, and it can actually make you seem more beautiful too, according to research explored by Scientific American

How to glow-up from the inside out

Seeking a transformation for yourself? According to The Glow Up Project, there are six essential areas where you can upgrade your life: your appearance, your health, your mindset, your finances, your environment, and your goals. Here are some of the best ways you can transform each aspect for the better.

For your appearance, follow a skincare routine, wear SPF, learn makeup, practice good posture, and dress to flatter your shape and color season. For health, drink more water, sleep enough, exercise regularly, and eat more plants. By tracking your funds, creating a budget, improving your knowledge, saving, and investing, you can upgrade your finances. Do more for your personal environment by cleaning your home regularly, using an air purifier, avoiding clutter, and surrounding yourself with positive people. Set goals by making a vision board, and keeping a daily planner. And, for your mindset, meditate daily, limit social media, try therapy, and explore your spirituality.

If this seems like a lot to take on at once, don't panic! Try to pick one task or area to work on, and slowly add more once they become a habit. For example, good hydration, nutrition, and sleep play a massive role in having a healthy, glowing appearance, so health is a great place to start your transformation (via Unwritten). Of course, a glow-up is something that you get to define for yourself, so choose which aspects to work on based on what feels best to you.