Perfect Your Selfie Smile With Some Simple Tips

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to smiling. Our smiles make us more approachable to people, which can be valuable when it comes to our work and social lives. A bright smile on your dating profile pic could land you a date. The joyful smile on your face at work could sell more products and services, make your boss smile more, and possibly earn you a raise. 


And while some of us absolutely hate being told to smile more, there are some healthy internal benefits to smiling as well. According to Smile Institute, that cheeky grin could help reduce stress in your life. Apparently, smiling releases the feel-good hormone dopamine. Your happy face is sure to make other people smile right back at you, even if they're only seeing it in selfie form on social media. 

Selfie smiles show people that we're enjoying our lives — whether you're on vacation with your sweetie or hanging at the bar with your bestie. Now that you know smiles can bring good things to your life, let's look at how to perfect your selfie smile before you start taking pics of that new hair color, outfit, or with your new love interest.


Consider brightening those pearly whites

There are a few common reasons some people prefer not to smile, and one of those reasons is because their teeth are stained. Many things can stain teeth, including cigarette smoking, drinking coffee and tea, and some berries (including wine). Of course, there are things you can do to keep your teeth from staining, like brushing after eating something that commonly sticks to teeth or chewing gum. But, if your teeth are already stained, then you'll want to take more significant measures to brighten your pearly whites. 


There's more than one way to whiten teeth, and you can do a few of them from the comfort of your own home. Some teeth whitening tips have a quick turn-around, while others, like whitening toothpaste, may have a slower process to free the teeth from stains. Whitening strips and whitening trays are some of the speedier ways to get your teeth whiter, and you can do these at home or visit your dentist. The dentist is likely to have products that are a bit more powerful than what you can buy at the store. Also, be cautious of viral online hacks, like using a Magic Eraser for teeth whitening, because you could damage your teeth or gums.

Go to the dentist

While you're thinking about heading to the dentist for a professional teeth whitening session, consider the other benefits of regular dental care when it comes to having a perfect selfie smile. Whether it's about cleaning, replacing, or straightening the teeth, dental visits are essential and help with a confident smile. Anyone who has ever lost a tooth knows that smiling with that empty space isn't always easy to do — anxiety about being judged for your missing molars is real.


Your regular six-month visit to the dentist not only enhances your smile but can also catch all sorts of dental problems ahead of time to help prevent things like tooth loss, cavities, and even oral cancer. If you already have some missing teeth, your dentist can discuss your options regarding dental implants. Your dentist may suggest a trip to the orthodontist if you have crooked teeth that keep you from smiling with an open mouth. These days, there are invisible options for braces, so you'll be smiling while they're still on your teeth!

Battle fine lines around your mouth

With age comes wrinkles; you're never too old to take a selfie! If your smile comes with lines you're not a fan of — like ones that show up when you put lipstick on, the smile lines that appear when you grin, and marionette lines that stretch up your cheeks, making you look like a puppet — there are things you can do to battle them and make your lips look young again. For starters, you can make a few lifestyle changes, like limiting smoking, being safer when it comes to time in the sun, and keeping yourself healthily hydrated, as those things can cause mouth wrinkles.


To treat the lines, you can implement some slight changes to your skincare routine, like using a moisturizer regularly and being sure to stay hydrated. More invasive procedures like microneedling, chemical peels, and Botox can also help. Which path you choose is up to you. For some, plastic surgery may seem like the right route, while others may embrace their smile lines. If you don't have any of these lines yet, now is a good time to develop a facial care regimen and look into which foods help your skin's health from the inside out.

Pick the perfect lipstick

That's right: There are lipstick colors that will make your teeth look whiter. In fact, the right lipstick can make or break your perfect photo finish when it comes to selfies. Of course, picking the right lipstick involves more thought than just your color preferences.


You want to consider which color is suitable for your skin tone, which one goes well with today's outfit, the desired finish, and even the color of your teeth! That seems like a lot of decisions to make. For the most part, people with freshly-whitened teeth can pick the color that looks best on them, while those with some yellow to their teeth may want to avoid any warm shades of red or brown.

For your skin tone, those with fair skin can go from nudes to bold, dusty reds with no trouble, and medium skin tones look great in cool-toned berry colors. Those with a darker complexion can pull off stunning deep purples. If you have a glowing tan, bright cool-tone pinks (think nearly neon) make a great choice. But you also want to be sure your lipstick isn't clashing with your outfit. You may want to skip purple lips if you're wearing red, or you may look like a member of the Red Hat Society. 


Consider lip liner

While lip liner isn't a must every time you put on lipstick, it can do wonders at enhancing your appearance, especially if you want to overline your lips for a plumper look. Of course, there are also ways using lip liner can ruin your perfect selfie smile, so you'll want to be sure you're using it the right way. Pick a liner with a creamy texture that goes on smoothly, so you don't have to worry about rough lines.


What is the right way to apply lip liner? Well, that depends on your preferences (kind of). You can use lip liner to make your lips look thicker or thinner, but there are some solid rules that will help you ensure your selfie isn't scrutinized by makeup artists everywhere.

First, you don't have to use a lip liner that matches the color of your lipstick — have fun with it! But keeping them in the same color family may be a good idea. While you don't want to put your liner on too thick, you can blend it into your lipstick, so don't worry too much if you go a little heavy-handed. Also, don't get too particular about perfectly tracing the natural outline of your lips because that won't make or break the look. 


Learn to smile with your eyes

There's one great way to tell if someone is smiling for real or if that grin is fake: by looking at their eyes. After all, the eyes are said to be the window to the soul. When you are truly happy, your eyes smile. Those smiling eyes absolutely enhance the look of any selfie smile, and all you have to do is tap into your inner joy.


While you can smile with your eyes without even thinking about it, if you want to perfect this ocular grin, it helps to think happy thoughts, relax your lips, and squint your eyes a little bit. The cool thing is, with some practice, you can smile with your eyes without smiling with your mouth. We learn to read body language as we interact with others, and smiling eyes are a sign of someone who is happy, but also wants to come across as a warm and open person — whether they're smiling with their mouth too or not.

Play up your eye makeup

If you're going to be smiling with your eyes, you definitely want a makeup look for that part of your face that is ready for a photo session. You can go bold if you'd like or opt for something simple if that's what you prefer. No matter what, you want to enhance these beauties in a way that plays with your natural eye color, and makes your eyes stand out in the image.


Start by giving your eyes extra definition with eyeliner. Black has a classic look, but you can have fun with neon color choices or even bold white eyeliner. Your eyeshadow can be simple as one shade, or you can opt for two (or more!). Consider a shade that enhances your eye color, like a smoky look for brown eyes, a combo of brown and green for hazel eyes, or something bold and blue for blue eyes.

Mascara will make even the faintest lashes stand out, but you may also want to consider false eyelashes. And, of course, don't forget your brows. Unless you're fresh from getting them shaped and waxed, grab your brow kit and be sure they look as fresh as the rest of your eye makeup.

Exercise your mouth

Yep, it's a thing. Facial exercises can help you improve your smile and maybe even look younger without plastic surgery. There are all sorts of facial exercises you can do that will help smooth your jawline, enhance your slender cheeks, and more. Let's take a look at a few of the exercises you can do to tone your face.


One easy one is to smile really big, with your mouth open. This exercise will help widen your smile, which is perfect if you feel like your smile is too small. When you smile big, hold it for 10 seconds before stopping. Repeat this about 10 times, trying to widen your smile more each time.

On the opposite end, you can purse your lips like you're about to blow a kiss, but push your tightened lips out from your face as if you're trying to reach them to the person you're blowing that kiss at. Again, hold for 10 seconds and do this 10 times. You can also exercise your lips by opening your mouth wide — this helps your lips and will work out your cheekbones too. You can do it for the same counts as the other exercises.


Find your perfect head position

There are a lot of bad selfies out there, and it's often the older generations who take photos at not-so-flattering angles. If you want the perfect selfie where your smile is what people are looking at, then you need to learn how to position your head. The wrong tilt can lead to too much forehead, multiple chins, and even an uncomfortable view up your nose (especially for the people looking at your photo).


Since not everyone has been to modeling school and learned how to pose for cameras, knowing the right position is half the battle when it comes to selfies. What you want to do is stick your chin out, but be careful — you don't want to stick it out too far and look awkward.

With your chin slightly jutted forward, you then want to tilt your forehead forward. What this positioning does is "suck" (for lack of a better descriptive word) in your chin fat (if you have any), giving your face a more slender look. You can add a tilt to one side or the other if you have good and bad sides picked out. You also want to use that squint you learned while smiling with your eyes! 

Think happy thoughts

We briefly mentioned thinking happy thoughts at least once already, but when you think about that particular time that makes it impossible not to smile, it does just that — it gives you your best chance to find your perfect selfie smile. And this thought not only makes you smile with your mouth; it causes you to smile all over your face.


Like Peter Pan and his Lost Boys, you can find one happy thought to keep in your pocket whenever you need it, making smiling on the fly so much easier. Or you can have a few thoughts that you can lean into when you need them.

The thing is, smiling for no reason at all can give you reasons to smile. Smiles are contagious, not only to the people around you but to you as well. That dopamine release does more than cheer you up momentarily — it also boosts your immunity. You'll have more energy and a better outlook on life. What's even cooler about the healing power of the smile is that you can fake a smile and still get those benefits. 

Get the right lighting

The proper lighting makes all the difference when it comes to the perfect selfie. If you're outside in natural lighting, you don't always need any extra light. But if you're taking selfies indoors, and you don't have the best lighting to show off all your fab features, you'll want to invest in a ring light, some photo studio lighting, or perhaps even move to a room where you can let some natural light come in.


Your background is also important. A little fact about backgrounds: They can make or break your lighting. Something too busy will take away from the main focus of the image (you). A background that's too dark will absorb your light, and if you're wearing a similar color, you'll disappear! 

The lighting itself isn't the only important thing to consider. It also matters where the lighting is compared to the position of your face. Always have the light source in front of you. If it's in the wrong position, it will add shadows where you don't want them. You want your lighting to be at the same level as your face, which is why ring lights are perfect (you basically have a bull's eye to look into). Be sure you have your camera in the right setting, like in portrait mode, if you're doing a headshot.


Practice makes perfect

A winning smile doesn't happen overnight. Even models practice their smiles before a photo shoot to ensure that they perfectly achieve the look they want. While it may seem strange to stand in front of the mirror smiling at yourself, this is the best way to figure out which smile looks best on you. Throw in an affirmation or two, and it may be easier to reach that perfect smile. Say it with us: "My smile is selfie-worthy, and I radiate happiness."


Multimedia artist Yoko Ono once said that you should "Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning, and you'll start to see a big difference in your life" (via BrainyQuote). Even though she wasn't talking about practicing for selfies when she said it, it still applies here. With that in mind, you should start smiling at yourself each day, not just to find that perfect selfie pose, but to also increase your happiness, which will likely have you smiling even more than usual.