Without a doubt, masks are a major blessing when it comes to dating in 2020. They're making it safer to meet up IRL with your current crush, which is obvi something to be grateful for. That said, these face coverings also pose a bit of a conundrum – namely, how are you supposed to feel confident when you're wearing a mask on a date? Fret not, because dating coaches say it is possible to prioritize your health and safety without sacrificing your appeal.
That's good news, considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still maintaining that wearing cloth face coverings in public is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. There's been increasing evidence that wearing masks helps to prevent people who have the virus (even if they're asymptomatic and don't know it) from spreading it to others. The only problem? Your mouth, as it turns out, plays a big role on dates — because it contributes to how you communicate and emote. It makes those flirtatious smirks and captivating smiles possible.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to look fly AF while also protecting yourself as well as your date. If you're going to be wearing a mask, heed these expert-approved tips for boosting your confidence in a big way.
Maintain your sense of humor.
You know what's super sexy? Someone who doesn't take themselves too seriously. That's why Pricilla Martinez, CEO and founder of Regroop Online Life Coaching, recommends trying to find some humor in the sitch.
"Address the elephant in the room if you’re feeling self-conscious about wearing your mask on a date," she tells Elite Daily. "Make a joke about how you find yourself trying to make your eyebrows smile since no one can see your mouth. You’ll probably find that your date is just as unsure of how they are coming across with half their face covered."
As an added bonus, making your date laugh about the circumstances will undoubtedly make you even more attractive.
Try to chill.
If you find yourself fixating on how you look in your mask while you're on your date, you're probably not going to enjoy the experience very much — plus, you'll likely seem distracted and unengaged (which is hardly the way to win someone over). So, whenever you notice yourself worrying about your appearance, dating coach Jess McCann advises re-focusing on the present moment.
"To be truly confident and comfortable in your own skin on a date despite having to wear a mask, don't think about yourself," says the author of Cursed?: Why You Still Don't Have the Relationship You Want and the 5 Cures That Can Transform Your Love Life. "Those who were already self-conscious are even more so with the added mask mandate. But the mask isn't truly what makes people feel self-conscious, it's the thinking about the mask and how we look in it, that's doing it."
Focus on making your date feel good.
One great way to get your mind off any insecurities about the mask, according to McCann, is to shift your attention toward the person sitting across from you. After all, isn't the whole point of your date to get to know them better?
"In the long run, it’s about how well you connect and whether you enjoy the other person’s company," adds Martinez. "Sex appeal is more about how you make someone feel than the way you look. Make your date comfortable, make them laugh, create a friendly competition, and don’t be afraid of being playful. All of those feelings will make a much deeper connection."
As Maya Angelou once said, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So, make your date feel amazing and you'll no doubt make a stellar first impression.
Remember that they’re already into you.
Maybe they swiped right because they thought your profile pic was cute, or maybe you won them over with your razor-sharp wit in a text convo. Either way, if you’re feeling self-conscious, Martinez says it's important to keep in mind that your date already thinks you're attractive.
"Instead of worrying about the impression you’re making, focus on the impression they are making on you," she tells Elite Daily.
Basically, you have permission to stop trying so hard, because your date knows what's behind the mask.
You might think it's pointless to smile because your date can't see your mouth, but the truth is, a genuine smile tends to show around your eyes. Plus, as Trish Blackwell — confidence coach and founder of the College of Confidence — points out, it will generate a positive vibe that your date will undoubtedly be able to feel.
"A mask may hide your lipstick and smile, but it won't block the warmth that you have," explains Blackwell. "If you feel fabulous in lipstick, wear it, even if it's not visible — because that confidence will shine through the mask. It's the same with the smile — even though your date can't see your mouth, remember, a smile is all-encompassing and communicates clearly in more ways than we think."
You can also take a cue from Tyra Banks and let your eyes do the work when it comes to smiling. McCann says smizing communicates both happiness and attraction, making it the perfect flirty move for a date with masks.
"The key is to remain in a state of gratitude for being on the date and focus on how much you enjoy your date (as opposed to how nervous you are, or how much your date likes you)," adds McCann. "This will help create the 'smile with your eyes' effect."
Play up your eyes with makeup.
Speaking of your eyes, McCann says a set of false lashes can do wonders for enhancing a smize. While you're at it, Blackwell recommends adding some flair to your whole eye look. After all, your date won't be able to see your lip color (though you can totally still opt for a bold lip if it gives you a confidence boost).
A bold brow, a daytime smoky eye, a cat-eye — all of these are great options when you're wearing a mask and what to make your eyes pop. You could also do an eye mask the night before your date to hydrate and de-puff your skin.
Say a few affirmations beforehand.
Getting into the right mindset starts before your date begins. So, before you meet up, consider saying a few positive affirmations — something along the lines of, "I am beautiful, and it shows even with my mask on."
"Confidence is the state of knowing yourself and knowing that you belong," explains Blackwell. "As you date in this COVID world, the most attractive thing about you physically will be the way you carry yourself and how well you know yourself. When you know yourself — and like yourself — you will be yourself, and that authenticity will shine, making you naturally more attractive to others."
Keep in mind that your date's in the same boat.
If you're feeling a little awk with your mask on, the good news is, you're not alone.
"Instead of getting worked up about how you might look in a mask, remember, your date feels the same way," says Blackwell. "We're all on equal playing ground. Shift your energy to focus on making a new connection with someone and enjoying the discovery process that comes in meeting someone new and you'll forget about the mask in no time."
The bottom line is, dating with a mask doesn't have to cramp your style. Besides, there's nothing like a little mystery to keep the spark alive. By leaving a little something to the imagination, you're bound to leave your date wanting more.
Pricilla Martinez, life coach
Trish Blackwell, confidence coach
Jess McCann, dating coach