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The New Beauty Standards Of Working From Home (We’re Looking At You, Zoom)

Rebecca Cohen  |  June 9, 2020

Be honest. How do your company Zoom meetings usually go down? 

Are there lots of sleepy “Hellos?” shared from unenthusiastic colleagues? Are several people shushing their children in the background as they help with schoolwork with one hand? Or maybe you all share a chorus of apologies about your appearance? 

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I hate to admit it, but the HerMoney team has kicked off our Tuesday morning editorial meetings with the latter all too often. Yes, even at a female-led, women-empowered super startup like HerMoney, we’re still judging ourselves on our frizzy hair and unkempt eyebrows during the middle of a pandemic — and apologizing for these things to our colleagues. 

But why? Would someone really respond to my “Please ignore my messy ponytail” request with a “Yeah, that looks horrible.”? No, of course they wouldn’t, and they probably paid no attention to what my hair was even doing in the first place. 

A long, well-written, and somewhat depressing article from Vox confirms that insecurities on video chat are a problem nationwide. In fact, business owners and members of the C-suite — the most powerful women at the company — are apologizing for their quarantine looks. Even students are now turning off their cameras during online learning so their teachers don’t have to see them in their less-than-camera-ready state. 

Of course outrageous beauty standards have been the norm for women since the beginning of time. Pop culture and social media show us that trendy clothing and perfect makeup, hair and nails are what’s required on the daily. Despite much-needed and well-loved body positivity movements of recent years, we still seem to care… Even when we’re only a two-dimensional face on Zoom. 

Unfortunately, women tend to be the toughest judges of other women, says clinical psychologist, Barbara Greenberg, PHD. Think about it: Would most men even know the difference between your face with concealer and your face without? 

Unfortunately, Greenberg does not expect the pressure to look good while working from home to let up anytime soon. We’ve only been in quarantine for 3 months now, and after facing “a lifetime of expectations and socializations, those things aren’t just going to change [in such a short period of time],” she says. 

But there is a bright spot in all this — What you say during your meetings is SO much more important than how you look, Greenberg says. Showing up to a meeting with killer material and a frizzy ‘do will go a much longer way than a blowout and nothing to say.

In other words, it’s time we all stopped focusing on how we look, and started focusing on the important things. The most important being our actual work — the ideas we bring to the table, the respect we show our colleagues, and our willingness to do the best job we can while still social distancing… But while we’re on the topic of appearance, these three items can make a big difference: 


It’s normal to be losing sleep during this time. Anxieties are high, and days blend into nights making it hard to differentiate between sleep time and awake time. But more sleep is proven to make you healthier across the board, so get in those extra hours when you can. 


Next, focus on what you eat. Shoving your face full of chips every hour of the day because you’re bored? (Okay, same) but eating healthier meals and drinking enough water will help you achieve that natural glow that your bronzer just can’t match. And that’s to say nothing of the boost you’ll get to your mental health and energy level when you’re eating right. 


There are more free workouts online today than the world could ever possibly need. So take advantage of what’s out there and discover a new guru or a routine you love. There are countless free options available if you’re keeping an eye on your budget, and trust us, you’ll feel so much better about your 8-hour Netflix binge after a lil yoga session. (And let’s be honest, the next time a colleague tells you you’re “glowing” on Zoom, it would be nice to reply with, “Thank you. It’s sweat.”) 

… And if you just can’t handle the pressure of being on camera one day, you’re not alone. Just ask if your video chat can be switched to a good old fashioned phone call instead. 

Problem = Solved. 

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