Whether you have a date this evening, graduation coming up, or just want a little boost, I’m here to give you some simple, actionable tips on how to look pretty.
But before we deep dive into that, let’s first start off by staying looking pretty is relative. And we are all beautiful, despite our internal monologues, our self-esteem that day, or how others perceive us.
Learning how to look pretty is not about coveting things you don’t have, or embracing a societal ideal of beauty (which changes pretty frequently, by the way). But instead, it is about embracing your unique style, interests, and beauty and learning how to present your best self.
We all want to be “that girl” from social media… You know the one. She gets up early every morning, goes on a two-mile hike, has flawless skin, is magnanimous, and just seems to exude prettiness from every pore. Her life is aesthetic and it can be easy to chalk it up to her beauty. But, in reality, her life is put together. She takes care of herself, she values herself, and she too has ups and downs about her prettiness.
So this post is a combination of quick tips to boost your confidence, but also ways to improve your lifestyle so that you feel better about yourself.
Feeling pretty is about much more than a pretty face.
How to look (and feel) pretty in 14 easy steps
1. Evaluate your lifestyle
This may seem like an abstract tip to start with but your lifestyle will drastically impact how you feel and how you look. So it’s an important one to focus on.
If you don’t get enough sleep, if you party a lot, or if your diet consists of junk food on a daily basis, you’re not going to feel good. And you’re body is going to be a visual representation of all those neglected areas.
So whether you want to look pretty because you have a big event coming up or you just want a lifestyle change overall, the first step is to balance out your life.
Aim for 8 hours of sleep a day, create a routine for yourself, and embrace physical exercise ( it could be as simple as taking walks a few time a week).
2. Find your personal style
Finding your style can be difficult. We fall into a trap of looking at style icons or influencers and trying to recreate their outfits. While it is helpful to look at style inspiration when you are first discovering your personal style, it is also important to know how to take that inspiration and make it uniquely you.
If you need help finding your style,I have a free quiz and guide on how to hone your personal style, here.
Being pretty is a vague term. What we are aiming for is the best version of ourselves and your style has a huge impact on how people categorize, interpret, and judge you.
It takes someone less than 7 seconds to make a judgment about you, and in that time we want to make the best impression possible. While I do believe feeling pretty and in turn looking pretty is an internal process, getting outside reinforcement is a great way to bolster our confidence.
When you feel great in an outfit, you present as confident and self-assured. This will have you feeling pretty in no time.
And more importantly, when you find your personal style you feel pretty in who you are, not just what you are wearing. Because your clothes become an extension of your personality and uniqueness.
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As someone who used to suffer from comedonal acne, and had a horrible skincare routine, I can tell you the second best thing I did to feel pretty (the first was my style) is developing a skincare routine.
I used to have to wear makeup out just because my skin texture was bad, uneven, and I had ugly pimples popping up around my chin.
But, after about 3 months of a nightly skincare routine, and going generally make-up-free to allow my skin to breathe a bit, my skin is better than ever.
I love that I can go out with friends with no makeup on and that it doesn’t even cross my mind when I leave the house.
Having glowing skin is also a trait that we view with attractiveness. So if you are looking to impress your date or seem extra-pretty, invest in your skincare.
This is not an overnight process, but it is one that will pay off exponentially. And to be honest my nightly routine only takes me about 10 minutes.
Here’s my before and after (these photos have not been edited!):
Skincare is very personal and what works for some, will not work for others. And with different climates, seasons, and skincare issues, your routine may change and evolve over time. But here is what I use.
Serum: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
Oil: Ogee Jojoba Oil (something about this oil is so much better than other brands)
1-2 weekly: Paula’s choice BHA treatment
I also do LED light therapy at home a few times a week, and you can read all about that here.
4. Dressing for your body shape
Understanding your body shape and your proportions will give you so much more confidence and you will feel prettier because you are enhancing what you have.
I’m not sure about you, but during my adolescent years, I definitely tried to be someone who I was not. I died my hair blonde, I got color contacts, I wore a push-up bra, and countless other tweaks to feel prettier. But it backfired because I was actually fighting all my uniqueness. There is nothing wrong with doing any other those things, but you have to evaluate why you are doing them… If it is to enhance yourself great, if it is to become someone else, that is not so great.
The same is true when dressing for your body shape. And if you’re not sure how to figure out your body shape, I have a tutorial here.
Dressing in outfits that don’t fit your body shape is a sure-fire way to fail at a new outfit or trend. You can’t just pull the exact same outfit from a 6ft tall, hourglass figure and have it work the same on a pear-shaped, 5f 6 in size body (trust me, those are my body stats!).
Now, I believe anybody can wear any trend or style, and the better you know your body shape the more you can tweak looks to highlight your best assets.
And dressing proportionately can also help. I have a whole post on how to look taller and slimmer, here.
5. Hydrate yourself
This one is tough for me to write out, but it really is true. Your skin looks so much better, and your body runs so much more efficiently when you’re not dehydrated.
As someone who used to NEVER drink water, and still struggles to do it every day, I don’t want this to be a factor in looking pretty. But it is.
In fact, being severely dehydrated can cause wrinkles!
So if you want to look pretty and boost your appearance, grab that large re-useable water bottle, throw a lemon in it, and drink.
6. Look polished and put-together
Do you know why we envy “that girl” on social media? Because her life looks put-together, and she is always polished. I’m not referencing etiquette, but rather a sense that her life, her look, and her prettiness is all seamless and easy.
Well, just a reminder that social media is a highlight reel. But, there is something to looking polished every day. And that doesn’t equate to elaborate outfits, having money, or anything extensive.
You can read more about actionable steps to look polished every day, here. But I will say the most important thing to look polished and put together is to pay attention to yourself and give yourself some time each day.
Every day we have a laundry list of tasks to do: do the dishes, get to work, get groceries, pay this bill, and somehow we put ourselves on the back burner. But taking 20 minutes out of our day to find an outfit that works for our lifestyle and that we love is essential to feeling pretty. And, since you’ve been working on your skincare (right?), all you need is some sunscreen and a bit of mascara and you are good to go.
Present to the world a finished product, and you will feel prettier and more confident.
Note: I get some days you can’t do this, some days get away from us, and life happens. But the more you make it a routine to put your confidence, self-esteem, and prettiness as a priority, the more you will it an essential and easy addition to your day.
And no, don’t smile when that creepy guy catcalls you. But rather smile because you are happy or are feeling pretty and confident.
Have you avoided going to the dentist? (totally guilty of this one). But, the more your neglect your teeth the more you will avoid smiling. And smiling has been proven to be a high-impact attribute for people finding us attractive.
So go to the dentist and take care of your teeth. Invest in a teeth whitener- I like this one. And unlock your confidence to smile whenever you want.
It is important to note that everyone’s teeth are unique, just like our bodies, our personality, and our style. Don’t compare your smile to that of a celebrity that spent 100k to get full dental replacements. But rather, do what you can to make your teeth look their best and embrace your smile because it is the best representation of your happiness. It’s pretty because your happiness is pretty.
8. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good
This may sound abstract, but I think looking pretty is deeply rooted in how we feel about ourselves. So if you are constantly around friends or family who make you feel less than, it will be hard to feel pretty.
So don’t invite that asshole to your wedding, and don’t go to brunch with that negative friend who always gives back-handed compliments.
Find people who can hype you up, find people you can call when you’re not feeling pretty, and embrace people who love you. Because their love for you will be a mirror for you to also see yourself that way.
If you are a frequent reader of this site, you’ll know how many times I use this analogy. But it is because it works!
Accessories are like the icing to your outfit. A birthday cake is only a birthday cake when it’s been frosted, decorated, and has a candle on it. Your accessories complete your look, define your style, and give your outfit a specific vibe.
Adding accessories (like hoops and a simple necklace) to an athleisure look transforms it from something you could have slept-in, to an outfit that feels intentional.
The same is true when you’re dressing up for an event. Whether your opt for statement earring or simple studs is totally your call. But don’t forget to add the finishing touches to your outfits by accessorizing them.
Your accessories can also turn into signature pieces, that help you define your style identity. Think of Jackie O’s hat boxes or Edie Sedgewick’s earrings.
11. Exude confidence and watch how you speak to yourself
Confidence is one the most highly rated attractive qualities in a partner and it’s because confidence can indicate our trust in that person’s competence, stability, and belief in themselves.
And while I am naturally an introverted person, having confidence is still an important factor to how pretty and self-assured I feel. To be clear, when I say have confidence I don’t mean you have to be the loudest person in the room or the center of attention. But rather, that you need to believe in yourself and believe how beautiful and unique you are.
A great way to improve your confidence is to monitor and improve how you speak to yourself. When you’re running through your day and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think “ugh, I’m looking rough today”, is the first place to start. Give yourself some grace and talk positively to yourself. Instead of “ I look like crap”, reframe it and focus on the positives and how to improve. Something like “ My skin looks great today without makeup, and I deserve to take 20 minutes to myself tonight to do a hair mask or journal or __insert healthy thing here__”.
What you say to yourself, is how you view yourself, and how others will also view you. So be kind to yourself, exude confidence, and see how pretty you feel.
Note: This can be a slow process after years of speaking down to yourself. So it is not about perfection but rather slow improvements that help you see value in yourself and not put yourself down for the flaws you feel you have.
12. Develop a healthy morning routine
Not everyone is an early bird, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a routine every morning. “That girl” that you love to watch on Instagram, or your best friend who always seems like she’s rocking life, they all have morning routines that help set the tone for their day.
A huge part of looking pretty is feeling in control of your life. When you know how to manage your day, and you know what you want to do, you can make time for yourself and give yourself what you need.
We prioritize these things when we have big events coming up (like a wedding), but they should really be part of our everyday lifestyle so that we embrace feeling and looking like our prettiest self every day.
Everyone’s morning routine will be different based on how much time they have and what their daily goals are. However, I recommend not snoozing your alarm clock, eating a healthy breakfast, journaling or reading for 10 minutes, and putting on an outfit that you love.
This routine will not only make your mornings more simple and organized, but it will help you feel like your best self each day.
13. Take care of your body
NO! I am not saying turn into a size 0 or embrace a calorie deficit to lose weight. Take care of your body so it can run efficiently for you.
Workout or do light exercise because it helps you body work for you. Eat healthy because it makes you feel good.
Don’t worry about what number is on the scale, or whether you will have a summer body or not. I can tell you those won’t make you feel pretty. In fact, most likely you won’t even appreciate it if you do get that summer body because you will still be obsessing about what you don’t have- thigh gap, ab crack, etc.
Society throws a lot of body shaming our way. And I can tell you that having the “perfect” body will not make you feel prettier.
But you know what will make you feel and look prettier? Having energy, having a body that isn’t sore, and feeling confident in your strength.
Take care of your body. Take your vitamins, track your activity, and embrace positive health so that your body can keep you feeling and looking your best for years to come.
14. Stop comparing yourself to others
The quickest way to feel ugly is to look at others and wish you could be them. You are essentially dismissing all your value, and saying that they are better than you. But, if you’ve started doing the previous 13 tips on looking prettier, you will hopefully not have too much trouble ending the comparison trap.
So you like pasta AND you like cake. Is one better than the other? Is one superior? Can you even compare them? The answer is no. They each have distinct features and fill your needs in different ways. And there are people who will love both, love one, or love neither.
Stop trying to be someone else. Stop comparing yourself to an image that may not even be real. Instagram can be a difficult place and can spark the comparison trap. But, what you also need to consider is that you are not seeing the whole picture. With video editing apps that make you appear thinner and face tuning apps, the reality is hard to suss out.
Maybe social media comparison isn’t even your issue. Maybe it’s your best friend who you constantly compare yourself to. But it is important to remember that we view people we love in the best light. So work on step 11 and start hyping yourself up.
She may be pasta, but you’re cake. They are both amazing.
You might have been expecting a list of surface-level tips on how to look pretty for your next date or look extra attractive to your new crush. But the reality is, these 14 tips will help you feel and look pretty every day.
These tips will teach you how to embrace yourself, your uniqueness, and your best qualities. They will teach you to value yourself so that you are pretty because you are your best self.
So by all means- wear makeup, work out, or get botox. Just don’t stop there. Feeling pretty (and looking prettier) is about doing what is right for you and becoming your best self.
So let’s not define pretty as just symmetrical, wrinkle-free, faces and perfectly toned abs. Let’s embrace our best qualities, and present those with confidence. Let’s be prettier because we believe in ourselves and value the things that define us.
Invest in yourself, but also love yourself for where are in this moment.
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