How to Look Put-Together on Camera Under 3 Minutes

A stylist explains how to look put-together on camera in under 3 minutes

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So life revolves around ten million Zoom calls a day now, huh? Of course, we’re all grateful for the advent of Zoom because it means we’re getting to stay connected with our extended families, friends, and colleagues… but the truth is, endlessly appearing on camera is exhausting, and Zoom Fatigue is extremely real. Right now, even really basic tasks—”get out of bed, make coffee, shower”—can feel like major goals, after all.

On those days that you want to look like your life isn’t totally falling apart but haven’t actually gone so far as to “shower” or “find pants,” there are solutions, however. I spoke with my dear friend and stylist Wil Ralston for some tips on how to look camera-ready fast (even when you’re not feeling 100% up to snuff). Wil’s an amazing font of knowledge in this arena: he’s worked about eleventy-million fashion weeks and red carpets, and has styled a ton of A-list clients, including Jennifer Garner and Atandwa Kani. Here, he offers some lightning-fast ways you can pull off looking refreshed even when you’re just feeling over it: 

If you have roots showing (and who doesn’t)…

“If you want to cover grey, the Oribe Root Touch-Up Spray is one of my favorites. It covers really nicely, and doesn’t look chalky or artificial,” Ralston says. This product uses mineral colorants, which deposit pigments quickly and easily, as well as rice starch which absorbs dirt and oil, refreshing hair that might be less-than-clean at the moment, too.

If you’re looking a little exhausted…

Insomnia has certainly been making the rounds these days. If you don’t have time to do a mask, chug a bunch of water, and refresh your skin entirely, do the next best thing: distract. “A bold lip color is a really great way to draw the eye. People will notice the brightness rather than anything else,” Ralston says. “Whether you choose a red, a fun fuschia, or a lavender, these colors can really brighten you up.”

If you’re rocking complete and total bedhead…

Amika’s Polished Perfection brush combines the best of a brush and a styler in one fell swoop, according to Ralston. “Just swipe it through the hair for an instant smooth-out,” he says. “The little teeth make it extra quick.” 

Woman rocking bedhead ready to start the day

If you have a hangover…

For those of us who have been self-medicating with a little too much booze, please know that nobody here is judging—and we have a skin-saving solution. “I swear by  the Alchimie Forever Kantic Brightening moisture mask. One of the ingredients is blueberries, so it’s rich in antioxidants. I use it for all my red carpets and photoshoots,” Ralston says. “This is how good it is: I was in Vegas for a long shoot once, and we were all out the night before until about, oh, 6 a.m. even though we had an 8 a.m. call time. So I put the mask on, throwing a little extra right below my eyes, and my skin was so bright despite the fact that I was hungover that everyone kept telling me that my skin looked beautiful and asking me what I was doing to make it so great. That’s when I really fell in love with it.” 

That’s one compelling argument, if you ask me. 

If your curls have lost their bounce…

“If you have curly hair, use a little bit of water and some curling lotion to spruce it up,” Ralston says. We’re fans of Mielle Organics Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk, which is super-hydrating, and Kinky-Curly Curling Custard, which defines curls and reduces frizz. 

If your skin is looking dull…

“Apply a little RMS Living Luminizer on your cheeks. It’s a great way to add a little glow to your skin.” Never glittery or fake-looking, a couple dabs of this highlighter on your cheekbones will do wonders (and if you have the time, throw a bit on the inside corners of your eyes, too—it’ll give your eyes a bit more dimension). 

If your hair is looking flat as a pancake…

“Use some type of texture spray or surf spray,” Ralston says. “Innersense Beauty has an organic surf spray that I love because it doesn’t make the hair tacky. Take your hair in vertical sections, twist it up, spray, and shake it out for that really loose, undone look.”

If you’ve got some serious under-eye circles…

“BeautyCounter is a great clean beauty brand,” Ralston says. “I’m obsessed with the Touch-Up Concealer Pen. It’s similar to the classic YSL Touche Éclat, but it brightens, it covers, it stops redness, and the ingredients are beautiful and clean. This product contains lots of vitamin E, so it’s really hydrating, too.”

If you want to look like you planned your look…

“Go for a quick side-braid because it always looks very put-together,” Ralston says. “If you’re good at braiding, great, and if not—you can be, honest. There are a ton of great tutorials out there.”

Woman on zoom call with a look that seems planned

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