Your resting face is incredibly vital to your facial appearance. Getting asked if you are bored, mad, or annoyed all of the time even when you’re not can be aggravating, and most of the time, your resting face is to blame for the misconception.
You can change your resting face through dermal fillers and botox to lift your features and blepharoplasty or canthoplasty to open up your eye area. You can also use makeup to achieve a lifted look or even change your head’s angles when you talk to people.
Your resting face is arguably the most prominent indicator of who you are as a person. Putting out a face that emulates your personality is essential in social situations. Plus, we always like to say that first impressions count. Given that, people who don’t know you yet can gather a lot from what you look like when you’re doing nothing. Do you look unapproachable? Do you look like you’re bored? Or maybe you look like you’re silently judging everyone in the room. One of the most vital roles of facial expression is to facilitate communication (Frith et al., 2009), and the way you look at rest may be getting in the way of that.
When you’re not doing or feeling anything, you settle into a default facial appearance that we can call your resting face. This face is one that you make without any effort and is unconsciously something that you do most of the time. Your resting face is a concern because it can potentially make or break your interactions with other people. There are countless people out there who have issues with their resting face and look like they’re always mad or full of contempt even when they feel wonderful! There’s even a colloquial term for it in pop culture: the resting bitch face.
Now, not all resting faces look angry or judgemental. Some resting faces might look spiteful or another negative expression. The point is that wanting to change your resting face comes from the idea that your resting face doesn’t match your mood.
How a Lousy Resting Face Is Negatively Affecting Your Life
A resting face can affect people in various ways. The most significant is how it affects your relationships with other people. You might turn off people you are dating because you often look like you’re dissatisfied or something to that effect. You might even offend some of your acquaintances because of how your face looks when you aren’t paying attention. A bad resting face can also hurt your opportunities. For example, you might not land the job you’ve always wanted because you conveyed negative expressions during an interview.
Second, it makes you self-conscious, and you’ll find it difficult to relax because you are always worried about what you look like at the moment. Constantly worrying about your face is not a state of contentment, and it will seriously hamper your day to day activities. It is usually this nagging feeling that compels people to change something about their resting faces. It is just much more peaceful to know that you’re not accidentally offending someone just by the way your face looks at rest.
Science even says that negative facial expressions can make you less trustworthy (Morioka et al., 2015). In the same study by Morioka et al., the researchers found that these negative expressions tend to set off parts of the brain that cause negative emotions toward another person. Needless to say, having a negative-looking resting face all the time is not doing your social life any favors.
However, many people also learn to live with their resting faces. If you can stomach not caring about what other people think of you and your face, then you’re in luck. But if you want to change something about your resting face, we’ll detail some options below.
What Makes a Bad Resting Face?
There are certain qualities to your face that give you your signature resting face. People with ‘bad’ or unapproachable resting faces usually have facial features that point down. This aspect is most prominent with the lips. When the lips point downward at rest, it can be easy to appear like you are always scowling or unhappy; such is the case for many men and women who suffer from a bad resting face. However, lips that turn up at just one end at rest can also give the appearance of sneering and judgment. The lips are one of the most prominent focal points of the facial expressions we make, which is why they are so crucial to your resting face.
Next is your eyebrows. The eyebrows are powerful tools for creating expressions of any kind. You might have already predicted that arched eyebrows will make you look speculative or judgemental. Eyebrows that are neutral at rest are the best kind for creating that perfect neutral look. You don’t want eyebrows that make you look perpetually surprised or angry; you want them to look relaxed. Trebicky et al., 2013 found that one of the perceived aggressive traits was prominent eyebrows, a wide chin, and a large nose. Apart from the classic arched eyebrow look, you should also avoid making your eyebrows too prominent, which conveys negativity and aggression.
Of course, your eyes are also incredibly vital to your resting face. People with downturned eyes often look depressed or bored, two expressions that you don’t want to have when doing something important. For this reason, downturned eyes do not often yield a good, neutral resting face. They almost always end up in a face that looks perpetually bored.
The other aspects of your face, such as overall balance, also play a role. But for the most part, those three aspects (lips, eyes, and eyebrows) are the most prominent ones that you would benefit most from changing. The following suggestions will focus on what you can do to change those features and change your resting face.
Famous Resting Faces
Here are a couple of notable people you may know for their resting faces.
Procedures to Change Your Resting Face
Botox is one of the most popular ways to ‘treat’ a bad resting face. In reality, getting a bad face fixed is much more common than we probably thought it was. People have issues with how their neutral face looks all of the time, and in the last couple of years, the demand for resting face fixes have only gone up.
Botox works by limiting the movement of a certain muscle. In effect, the muscle won’t move as much anymore and will improve the problem area. This immobilization is why Botox is so popular for wrinkles since botox inhibits the contraction of the muscles that are partially causing the wrinkles. Botox addresses the issues caused by your resting face by tackling individual features.
There are plenty of ways that practitioners and specialists can use botox to get rid of a bad resting face. Let’s start with the eyebrows. As we’ve said before, the eyebrows are essential when it comes to facial features. More notably, it is the eyebrow arch that we have to talk about. Botox can bring down your eyebrows if they arch way too much and make you look skeptical or aloof all of the time. By injecting some botox into the upper portion of your eyebrow, the muscle that is pulling your eyebrow upward will relax, and you’ll have an eyebrow that’s much more tame.
Staying on the topic of eyebrows, the appearance of scrunched up eyebrows often lends to the angry and scowling resting face many people get with age. With botox, decreasing these wrinkles is possible, and the facial features will look more relaxed and youthful.
Botox also has applications near the eye area. Most commonly, Botox can get rid of any wrinkles that could be surrounding the end of your eye. The end result will be a more alert and youthful eye area. Suppose your eyes look droopy because of your eyebrows dropping a tad bit too much. In that case, botox can also help by relaxing the muscle that is pulling your eyebrow downwards, contributing to a downcast eye area. However, if the problem with your eyes is that they look droopy because they are too hooded, then botox won’t help with that. There are different procedures for opening up your eye area, and botox is not the best material for that job. A blepharoplasty would be a much better option to open up the eye area.
Unfortunately, botox is a band-aid fix to your resting face problem. Botox lasts about 3-4 months and is definitely on the shorter end of cosmetic lifespans. While it may last longer at up to 6 months, Botox is generally a short-term solution. However, they’re relatively cheap, so maintenance is not much of an issue if you can afford it.
Dermal fillers are very versatile in their applications; they can even change a resting face. Like Botox, dermal fillers are best for features that are turning points of the resting face. However, dermal fillers are not like botox at all in terms of substance. Unlike botox, which has the primary function of inhibiting muscle action, dermal fillers are substances that can shape or sculpt a certain area to the patient’s desires. Plus, there are different types of dermal fillers, most commonly, hyaluronic acid or HA. HA is a naturally occurring substance, which means it decreases the chance of allergic reactions, and it works pretty well with most people. This makes it very popular, along with HA being easy to dissolve if things don’t go according to plan.
You can use dermal fillers to get fuller lips. Thin lips tend to contribute to a scowling appearance, and lip fillers will help with that. This fix is especially applicable to lips that are a little bit downturned as plumping them will make the lips look a bit lifted. The same holds for lips that look perpetually pursed or pouting. Even though it sounds counterintuitive to use fillers in lips that look pouty, it will help balance out the lips’ entire structure and creates a more neutral expression.
Even a popular Korean procedure uses hyaluronic acid at the lips’ corners to get that upturned look. There are similar versions of this procedure throughout the globe, and some practitioners in the U.S. do it as well. The results are usually lips that are eternally smiling, which is an amazing plus. Imagine not having to make an effort at smiling yet still exuding that slight joyful smile. Even if you don’t want a total smile, just a neutral appearance to your lips, HA can do that as well. Just make sure to communicate your needs to your doctor properly.
Plus, dermal fillers can also help with laugh lines. Your nasolabial folds are another culprit that can make your resting face worse or more grim because nasolabial folds tend to face a downcast appearance. With the right fillers, usually in the cheeks or the under-eye area, you can significantly improve your nasolabial folds. This fix might be more for older people who have to deal with an aging face’s cons, so it might not be the best for young people who don’t have many wrinkles or laugh lines yet.
Dermal fillers usually last around 6-12 months, but they can last longer than that, depending on the type of dermal filler used. Some kinds can last up to a couple of years. However, with dermal fillers, you run the risk of the fillers moving or migrating to a different area, so that’s always something to consider. Make sure that you ask your practitioner to explain the risks and the benefits that can come from the particular filler you will use.
In application, dermal fillers and botox usually go together to fix a resting face. Botox can do things that fillers can’t and vice versa, so they create a synergistic effect when used together. Remember, each resting face is different, so procedures to treat yours will be different as well. Consult with your practitioner and make sure that you are getting the results you want. Do your research well and make sure the one doing your injections is an expert at dealing with your specific case.
Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty and Canthoplasty)
Blepharoplasty is an eyelid surgery that tackles the problem of drooping eyelids and eye bags that may come with age. As features going downward can create a tired appearance, trying to lift the eyelids is an excellent way to improve your resting face. You can get blepharoplasty on your upper and lower eyelids, each one giving a marginally different effect. This procedure helps the most with getting rid of that tired look that comes from aging.
An upper blepharoplasty will open up your eye area and make you look more awake. This procedure is best for people who have drooping eyelids covering their upper eye a little bit. On the other hand, a lower blepharoplasty focuses on getting rid of the bagginess on the undereye. This process will not lift any part of the eyelid. However, it does get rid of the sagging and, thus, creates a more youthful appearance.
The entire procedure usually lasts for two hours if both upper and lower eyelids need the procedure. The bruising and swelling from blepharoplasty will subside in around 2 weeks or less.
Canthoplasty is another eyelid surgery that can open up the eye area. However, its purpose isn’t limited to that. You don’t need a sagging eyelid to get a canthoplasty. Some people get it because they aren’t satisfied with their eye shape and want to achieve that almond eye shape. Regardless, canthoplasty also improves a resting face because it can lift sagging eyelids by manipulating eye shape.
During a canthoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision on the outer eye area, manipulating the lower canthal tendon. Usually, the surgeon makes sure to hide the incision in the natural eye crease to give a more natural-looking result. The entire process takes up to 2 hours but could be as quick as just one.
How to Change Your Resting Face Without Procedures
The following will not be changing your resting face per se. However, you can still use it so that your resting face affects your life less.
The easiest way to do something about your resting face is to try and change it up with makeup. Sure, makeup isn’t infallible, and there are plenty of limitations. But in a pinch, you can create a better looking resting face for yourself without spending too much money on procedures. However, you’ll need to practice quite a bit to get it right, and it won’t work at all times. After all, makeup can only do so much.
With makeup, you’ll want to target the areas previously mentioned. You can try experimenting with your eye makeup to make your eyes look more attractive and less downcast. Eyeliner is a great way to make your eyes pop with minimal effort. Take note that people have varying eye shapes and what works for someone may not work as well for you. Experiment with your eye makeup to see what is most applicable for you on a day to day basis.
You can try to create a fuller lip. This will reduce the appearance of your lips looking too downcast. Fuller lips will make you look more vibrant and can reduce the frowning appearance that you may have. But be careful not to overdo it. There are ways that you can create an illusion of fuller lips with the proper makeup, but, again, you will need time and practice to perfect it.
Another easy thing to do is to create a different eyebrow for yourself. Fixing your eyebrows seems like such a minor thing, but if you’ve ever seen someone for the first time without their eyebrow makeup on, then you know how much of a difference it can make to facial appearance. Fortunately, eyebrows are quite easy to mess with.
You can experiment extensively with them, and you have plenty of options. If the look you want to achieve is that of a softer and more approachable person, you also have to craft your eyebrows to emulate that appearance. You’ll have to create a softer arch to your eyebrows and none of those high arches that are so effective in achieving a fierce look. You’ll also want your eyebrows to curve a little bit at the end. Eyebrows that are too straight can look intimidating.
Lastly, you’ll have to deal with your eyebrow’s colors. If you have eyebrows that don’t show up without assistance, you have to choose a perfect color for you. Avoid going for dark colors, as that will only accentuate intensity. Instead, go for softer colors that match your skin tone perfectly. Plus, the trend today is no longer dark, perfectly sculpted eyebrows but natural and bushy ones. You can have bold eyebrows without looking too intimidating and fierce.
Changing the angle at which you talk to people is helpful as well. If you look up at people when you’re talking to them, this could eliminate the downturned appearance that your resting face has. Looking up at people during conversations can also make your eyes look larger and less intimidating.
Some people also report that turning your head slightly to the side will help with the intimidating resting face. Try it out in your daily interactions with people and see if it improves your approachability. You can ask a good friend if they’ve noticed a difference or not. Better yet, try it out on strangers who don’t know you or your personality and see how well they respond to your slight change in demeanor.
More challenging is keeping eye contact with people. When you’re talking to someone or attempting to talk to someone, always maintain eye contact. That way, you will look more inviting and open, less negative, and less intimidating. Even if it’s just a server you ask for a drink or a cashier at the grocery, practicing this can be a good way to improve your resting face and how it comes across to people. The same goes for just listening to people. We often tend to space out when listening to others, and that can be an easy way for your resting face to peek through. To counter that, pay close attention, even if you don’t have complete eye contact with people. Doing so will help you practice the art of paying attention and will help you look less like you’re annoyed at whoever is speaking.
Unfortunately, all of those changes will require conscious action on your part. Even so, they provide solid ways to change your resting face or at least change the way you project your resting face to limit the negative effects.
Do You Have to Change Your Resting Face?
First, if you are reading this article, then that’s already a pretty serious indication that you want to change your resting face. If you are here, that means you’ve already gone through the first step, which is to recognize that you have a problem with your resting face and you need to do something about it. Whether or not you take action depends all on you.
As previously said, you can ignore everyone else and their opinions of you. But unless you’re superhuman and can live without the joy that comes from social success, then chances are you care about how you come across to other people. And even if you didn’t care enough to change your resting face, there’s the fact that it can ruin your chances of landing a job or getting that promotion.