Can make-up make you happy? The hidden benefits of fashion and beauty

Swipe on some lip gloss and smile—studies show rocking a red lip can increase confidence. (Photo by miamiamia,

Swipe on some lip gloss and smile—studies show rocking a red lip can increase confidence. (Photo by miamiamia,

The fashion and beauty industries exist, in theory, to help people look their best. But can they actually make you feel better, too? If you use the right products, they just might! But you don’t have to be a beauty expert or a fashionista to benefit from fashion and beauty products. Check out these secret benefits and how you can make them work for you—even if you’re not into fashion and beauty stuff.

Color can give you confidence

Some studies suggest that wearing red lipstick can improve the wearer’s confidence. It makes sense that bravely rocking a color as bold as red can make you feel bold, but you don’t have to paint your face to reap the benefits of rocking a red lip. Sporting any bold color—in any way—could have the same effect.

Try it!: Experiment with different bold shades of lipstick until you find one that makes you feel fab.

If make-up isn’t your thing: Try incorporating a pop of color into your look in some other way—whether it’s a colorful clutch or a bold snapback.

Scent can help reduce stress

It’s no secret that scent can have many positive effects on our minds and bodies. Why else would the aromatherapy market be so huge? Now you can possibly gain some of the benefits of scent on the go—without having to carry a Scentsy with you everywhere. There are several cosmetic products on the market that are infused with scents, like lavender and mint, that can help relieve stress, get rid of headaches and even help you sleep.

Try it!: The most obvious way to reap the benefits of scent is to spritz on a body mist (try Bath & Body Works’ aromatherapy line—there are body washes and lotions, too!) but that’s only the beginning! The element of scent is popping up in unexpected places, like in Revlon’s new Parfumerie nail enamel (about $5, drugstores). There are 24 scented colors to choose from and the smell lasts all day.

If make-up isn’t your thing: Try C.O. Bigelow’s Mentha Lip Balm Stick ($7.50, The matte and colorless balm not only makes your lips super-soft, but it can help freshen your breath, too—all while providing you the usual benefits of peppermint.

The effects of touch run deep

Another sense that can have a significant effect on us is the sense of touch. Certain beauty products can provide a more satisfying experience, depending on how they feel. But could the effects of touch run deeper? One study suggests that our perception of masculinity and femininity can be effected by certain textures—which is why it can feel so gender-affirming to slip on a silky cami or rugged pair of jeans. Whether it’s through clothes or cosmetics, the sense of touch can do everything from provide a sense of luxury to validate your gender identity.

Try it!: Pamper yourself by using products with interesting new textures, like Philosophy’s Amazing Grace Body Creme ($32,, for a unique and luxurious experience. If you can’t splurge for new product, try picking up some new cosmetic brushes—we like E.L.F.’s studio line ($3 per brush, drugstores and They can help simulate the feeling of a facial massage!

If make-up isn’t your thing: Get a new feel for fashion by experimenting with different fabrics. Do you prefer the warmth and comfort of a classic cotton tee, or the luxury of silk? Love the flirty and feminine feel of a lace cami? Try out different textures and find what feels best to you.

Whether it’s through touch, scent or something else completely, fashion and beauty can totally change your mood. These tips can help you find products that can make you feel good. But keep in mind that sometimes the biggest benefit of fashion and beauty is that it helps you express yourself!

This is especially true when you’re a gender-nonconforming queer kid who doesn’t feel accepted at home. When you can’t express yourself all the time, it feels especially good when you do get the chance—whether it’s trying on lip gloss with your girls the mall or bro-ing it up and playing Call of Duty with your buddies. Wear—and do!—what feels good to you and you’ll never go wrong.

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