Scarlett Johansson Without Makeup

Supermodels are consistently ranked among the most beautiful women alive by every magazine out there. So why would anyone ever doubt them? Well, because supermodels can be really vain too! They spend hours putting on makeup before stepping outside or down onto the red carpet so we don’t know what real life with minimal makeup actually looks like. And then there are celebs who aren’t models at all but want to look good nonetheless. Like Scarlett Johansson, whose face doesn’t always match up to photos where she appears completely unadorned.

So does this mean that everyone makes bad decisions about their own appearance, or are these just two examples of someone trying to play off different lighting conditions? We talked to an expert to find out. Dr. Beverly Cohn, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center says that while celebrity looks may vary from picture to picture, it doesn’t necessarily indicate anything other than having different photographers take pictures at different times under different circumstances.

“Most people wouldn’t notice unless I asked,” Dr. Cohn told us via email. “It could also depend upon how well one knows the person.” In addition to taking several photographs of each actress/actor, Dr. Cohn recommends that her patients get a few shots of themselves taken in the dark with a flash so you see your entire body — not just your face. If you’ve got access to a photographer willing to give you such candid pics, ask him to shoot more images of yourself.

In general though, Dr. Cohn thinks consistency is key. “If you only look good sometimes, chances are you won’t keep it together long enough to achieve your goals,” she said. After all, it takes years of practice and dedication to perfecting any skill, whether it’s playing guitar or running marathons.

The Best of Both Worlds

While many actresses stick to the basics when it comes to fashion choices, others choose pieces that complement their skin tone and eye color. Natalie Portman and Jessica Chastain both wear black turtlenecks paired with jeans and boots. Beyoncé wears short skirts and dresses almost exclusively. Kate Moss sticks to simple T-shirts with skinny jeans. Lindsay Lohan favors high heels with baggy tops and tight pants. The point being, there’s no right way or wrong way to dress — just whatever works best for you!

But perhaps it’s worth pointing out that none of those ladies rock stick-straight hair and flawless complexions either. Some people need help getting their faces into shape, while others probably never worry about it. That’s OK! Just remember that your face should reflect your personality — nothing more.

And speaking of which, let’s talk about eyebrows. Everyone wants nice brows, but not everyone has naturally full ones, nor do we all look good with perfectly groomed arches. For example, Angelina Jolie uses pencil to fill hers in instead of using tweezers, and Jennifer Aniston is famous for waxing hers herself rather than allowing professionals to handle them. Each lady gets to decide what suits her best, but if you’re looking to improve yours without shelling out thousands of dollars for plastic surgery, try starting small. A little bit of eyebrow gel here, a swipe of shadow there, and soon enough you’ll start building it up until you feel comfortable letting someone else touch your face.

When It Doesn’t Work

Of course, not everyone goes through puberty exactly the same way. When it comes to genetics, ethnicity and hormones, there are plenty of variables between individuals. This means that although some people will likely develop similar facial structures throughout adulthood, others will grow differently based on age, weight gain and loss, acne and sun damage. As a result, some actors’ faces change dramatically from photo to photo. Take Sarah Michelle Gellar, for instance. Her cheekbones were once prominent, but now they seem smaller compared to her forehead. Likewise, Cameron Diaz used to have fuller lips, but lost volume after giving birth.

This happens less often with non-actresses, but maybe you noticed it anyway. There was Anna Paquin, who looked much thinner recently than she did last year. Or Zooey Deschanel, who seems to lose definition around her eyes lately. Sometimes changes happen gradually, and sometimes they occur quickly. Either way, it’s usually attributed to something external like aging, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t doing everything possible to stay healthy.

When Looks Don’t Quite Match Up

There is another reason that some people may appear better on camera than they do in everyday life. Most celebs use makeup artists and hairstylists to enhance their appearances, whereas regular folks may opt for products found lying around the house. This means that a woman like Scarlett Johansson could put on foundation, powder and blush in the morning, go straight to work, and come home to discover that her cheeks look paler than usual. On top of that, the light coming into her office window is dimmer than the lights at a party or on set, which causes shadows to form underneath her nose and jawline. All of this combines to create a very strange effect.

Although this phenomenon doesn’t apply to everyone, it’s easy to spot when you see it happening. It’s especially apparent in darker-skinned women. Even when they look fantastic, they tend to look pale as opposed to fair. The culprit behind this mystery is melanin, the pigment responsible for coloring the inside layer of your skin. Melanocytes produce melanin, and its job is to protect the deeper layers of your epidermis against UV radiation. However, when your complexion lacks sufficient amounts of melanin, sunlight tends to bounce back faster, causing uneven pigmentation. Skin tones generally range from lighter toward olive, tan, brown, etc., depending on the amount of melanin in your skin. Darker skinned people typically have lower levels of melanin than fairer types, which explains why dark skinned women end up appearing whiter than their counterparts with fairer skins.

Another contributing factor to this problem is smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and eating chocolate. Smoking increases blood flow, which stimulates production of melanin, making your skin look healthier and brighter. Alcohol consumption boosts metabolism, causing more melatonin to enter the bloodstream. Drinking can cause dehydration, however, and leads to water retention, which can lead to loose skin and bloat. Chocolate contains caffeine and tyrosine, which stimulate the release of adrenaline. With excess stimulation, adrenalin triggers the creation of melanocyte dendrites, leading to increased melanin production.

What Do You Think?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you had experience photographing yourself? What kind of results have you gotten? Share your experiences below.

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