Monday November 30th 2020

Lunch-break make-over!

Radically improve your image in 60 minutes flat!

LOOKING good is hard work. In the daily rush to make money, get promoted and nurture relationships, we often neglect our beauty routines – and end up feeling like fashion disasters.

Image consultants rate colour, wardrobe and make-up as three crucial factors for creating a great personal image, while psychologists and physiotherapists will tell you that self-esteem and posture are the make-or-break keys to being a Hollywood Honey.

If you don’t have time – or cash – to invest in a weekend of pampering at the local health spa or a pricy chat with a make-over guru, try our cheat’s guide to being gorgeous. It’ll take no more than an hour, so go on – treat yourself.

STRAIGHTEN UP

Want to lose 5kg in a flash? Then watch your back. The secret to slimming down without dieting and sweaty gym sessions is simple – good posture.

Slouching in front of computers and the television takes it toll on your spine. Shoulders curve forward, we develop double chins and end up looking more fat and frumpy that we really are.

Try these tips for improving the way you carry yourself – and don’t be surprised when colleagues comment on your svelte, confident new look.

  • Always choose a chair with good, solid cushions and a high, supportive back. Dining room chairs are great. If you enjoy lying on your sofa to relax, ensure that the small of your back is supported by a firm pillow.
  • When sitting, place your hips as far back on the chair as you can. Ensure that your knees are level with your hips or a little lower.
  • The small of your back has a hollow that takes strain when you’re sitting down. Use a small cushion, rolled up towel or jacket to provide extra support, especially when seated for a long time.
  • When standing, bend your knees slightly (or at least relax them a bit) and allow your shoulders to “hang” naturally. Don’t arch or stiffen your shoulders.
  • Find a full-length mirror and examine your posture. Think like a soldier – line up your ears, shoulders, hip, knees and ankles in a straight row, from top to bottom. You’ll be taller and appear more slender as a result.
  • Sleep smart. A firm mattress is kind to your spine, while lying on your back is the best way form of support. If you prefer a side position, consider placing a pillow between slightly bent knees and ensure that your top leg is a little straighter than the bottom one.

STRIKE A POSE

Everybody recognizes a couple in love. Sitting close and cosy, their bodies literally speak the feelings they have – without them saying a word.

Body language is a powerful tool. Few people know how to use it effectively, but it can dramatically improve your personal image, influence your professional and personal relationships and give you the edge when dealing with others.

The way you walk, sit, stand or generally take up non-verbal space gives people subtle cues about what you’re feeling and thinking.

Mind your own

Generally, a confident and relaxed image is best in most situations. Body language can also help develop your listening skills – vital for relationship-building, both at home and in the office.

Good body shots to practice are :

  • Walking erect and briskly, which conveys a sense of pride and efficiency
  • Open palms, as these reflect sincerity and innocence
  • A tilted head, which expresses interest in what someone else is saying
  • Eye contact and regular nodding are always non-verbal winners
  • Smiling when you greet someone seems obvious – but many of us don’t.

Negative body poses to avoid include :

  • Kicking your legs. This screams boredom
  • Standing with hands on hips conveys anger or aggression
  • Hands in pockets, together with hunched shoulders, will equate you with a thief or, at the very least, a person not to be trusted
  • Reserve crossed arms for cold weather. Hugging yourself while chatting to someone projects a defensive image
  • Legs crossed at the ankles also conveys defensiveness.\
  • Tapping or drumming your fingers spells impatience. People don’t like it.

Play “Eye Spy”

Learning to read someone else’s non-verbal cues is a lovely way to stay on top of your game – or play the field! Watch out for these signals and you’ll be able to tell what other people are thinking, without them saying a word :

  • Rubbing the nose or glancing up, down or across frequently can indicate lying
  • Stroking the chin means the person is trying to make a decision. Give them time to think
  • Standing with hands in pockets is a sexual signal in men
  • Sitting with legs or an arm pointed towards you – or the body turned towards and not away from you – indicates attraction or interest in you
  • Pulling or tugging at the ear conveys indecision, meaning that you might have to re-think your argument in order to win it.

A word of caution. Body language is a complex art. Since you’re an amateur, be careful that you don’t misinterpret someone else’s cues or jump to emotional conclusions. If your boss is rubbing her nose or standing with arms folded while talking to you, this doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s a liar or defensive. Always consider the context – perhaps she’s got itchy skin or is cold!

COLOUR ME BEAUTIFUL

Choosing colours that correctly match your hair shade, skin tone and eyes can dramatically alter your appearance, making you look instantly attractive, younger and more energetic.

Wearing clothes in the wrong shades is a fashion disaster – your face ages and you’ll look (and feel) washed out.

Seasonal colour analysis is a tried and tested means of finding the perfect hue for you. The process is simple – you’re either a winter, summer, spring or autumn girl. Most African women fall into the Winter or Autumn categories.

Winter

Your skin type has undertones of pink (in Caucasian women) or blue. African winter women usually have rich, dark complexions ranging from brown to brown-black or uniform black. Your hair is chestnut brown to jet-black and your eyes are dark brown.

The best colours for winter are clear and strong. Avoid muted tones such as beige, bland orange, brown or beige and rather choose white, black, charcoal, navy blue, red and bright pink.

A secondary winter type is more similar to autumn, but with stronger contrasts. Your skin is golden or dark brown, with medium-brown or black-brown hair, while eyes are either hazel or brown.

Secondary winter types look fabulous in autumnal shades such as gold, burnt orange, terracotta and rich brown.

Autumn

There is an undertone of gold in your complexion, with your natural hair colour ranging from reddish-brown to a rich, reddish brunette. Your eyes are brown or hazel with flecks of gold.

Autumn girls suit any golden-toned colour such as gold, orange, warm red, russet, dark brown, camel and beige. Avoid bright, stark colours such as navy or blue.

ASSESS YOUR ACCESSORIES

The final step in your mini make-over is taking stock of the bits and pieces – bling and make-up!

Eyes

Brown eyes need plum, olive, mauve, rich brown, deep terracotta orange and dark green shades in order to stand out.

Hazel eyes suit olive green, peach, apricot, light terracotta and soft grey.

Lips

Dark complexions stand out in rich colours such as wine, plum or deep red.

Olive skin glows in deep maroon, light brown and medium-brown red.

Light skin suits gentle browns with orange and pink accents.

Eyewear and jewellery

Your shades, rings and things reflect your seasonal palette, so choose wisely.

Winter types should wear frames in grey, black and silver in bold, icy colours. Choose silver or platinum jewellery.

Secondary winter women and autumn types should experiment with gold or matte metal frames – preferably with mottled brown decoration in warm golden or brown shades. Gold jewellery is your best choice.