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How to Glow Up: 20 Ways to Glo Up & Instantly Transform Inside & Out

Glow ups are not just a trend, but a movement. Take it from someone who had an eight-year-long awkward stage, knowing how to glow up really helps.

how to glow up

If you are stuck in a perpetual awkward phase, I feel your pain. I was there for a heck of a long time. But glowing up is not all about changing your style, your look, or you. When it comes to learning how to glow up, it is all about confidence.

Glowing up does not have to be the same as a makeover montage of an 80’s movie. It can be as minor as learning to love yourself for you are.

But there are numerous ways to boost your confidence from both the inside and outside.

What is a glow up anyway?

Before we get into the how, what is a glow up anyway? Well, it is a more modern term that means growing up. Not just with age, but also with your looks, your stance, and your confidence.

Yes, it can be a little bit superficial, but it is no secret that you feel better when you are comfortable in your own skin. And throwing on a bit of makeup or trying a new hairstyle really can make a world of difference. [Read: How to feel good about yourself and kick-ass in life]

How to glow up on the outside

The external glow up may sound scary, but it is actually the easiest and most fun part of the glow up process. Trying out new looks and seeing what makes you feel most like you helps you define your style.

You don’t want to pop on the most trendy skinny jeans or hat. You want to find what makes you happy when you look in the mirror. You want your outside to show off your insides. So here are some ways to learn how to glow up.

1. Take a step outside of your comfort zone

Something that keeps us stuck in a rut and prevents us from having our glow up moment is keeping things the same. You may love to wear black and grey every day and there is nothing wrong with that. But you have surely loved something a little different.

But instead of walking past that red sweater or those yellow shoes because you think you can’t pull it off, give it a go. Just taking one baby step out of your norm can start things off. [Read: 18 ways to become more spontaneous in life]

2. Wear what you love

If you love quirky t-shirts or sundresses or shirts with cats on them, wear them. If you are afraid of what others might think or if they will stare, you’ll never know if that will happen until you try.

If you hate it, at least you tried. But don’t forego what you love because you’re scared. A glow up isn’t all happy, there are scary steps to get there, but facing that anxiety gives you the strength.

3. Do something different

A glow up does not have to be you going from wearing Crocs to wearing the latest trends. It can be you going from wearing a ponytail daily to styling a fun braid or dying your hair blue.

Do something different. If you love the latest trends, go for it, but try something that makes you unique. A glow up is all about your individuality shining. [Read: How to be beautiful and shine from within]

4. Try a bright color

Pastels, grays, whites, and blacks are so easy to wear. We blend right into a crowd and sink into the background of photos. But to be successful in a glow up, you have to stand up just a tad more.

Add a pop of color to your wardrobe, your eyeshadow, or your hair.

Color doesn’t have to be scary, it can be fun.

5. Learn a new skill

Style is not all about shopping here and shopping there. Letting your inside shine outwards can happen through learning a new skill. Learn how to braid your own hair. Learn out to do a winged liner. Or even take it a step further and learn how to sew your own clothes.

This will boost your confidence and make you feel both accomplished and stylish. [Read: How to look hot – 18 tips to go from wallflower to flawless]

6. Change your hair

Get those bangs you’ve always wanted, get a mohawk, or shave your head altogether. Making that much of a change can feel huge and terrifying, but the relief and excitement that comes with it are so much more.

Or even stop styling your hair and let it go all natural. Sometimes appreciating our natural selves is a glow up in and of itself.

7. Get some new glasses

Changing up your accessories is a small step, but if you are hesitant it may be the one you need to go further in your glow up journey. If you have been wearing the same glasses since grade school, it is time for a new pair.

Go for a cat eye, something colored, or rounder. Head to an optical center and try on tons. Take some selfies, go home and scroll through. The selfie you want to post has the glasses that are for you.

8. Toss out the old stuff

Making a change and stepping into the new version of you means saying goodbye to the old. If you bought a new wardrobe, toss out the old stuff. Or donate it.

If that is too much for you, just toss out one old item for every new item you get. It is a slower process but can be comfortable for those who are new to glowing up. [Read: How to dress sexy by throwing away the frumpy and going for boom]

9. Experiment

Take risks. If you love knee high boots, but just aren’t sure, try them. Walk around the house, take some photos and see how they make you feel. Only see what makes you feel confident.

If you feel blah, return.

10. Let go of security blankets

I don’t mean you have to toss out that crust teddy bear you’ve had since Pre-k, but do toss out those leggings you’ve been wearing three years straight that have a hole in the crotch.

Stop wearing a hair tie on your wrist and keep it in your bag or your pocket. This will make every outfit look more put together.

You may have your go-to pieces, but if you hold onto them for pure comfort or to hide, put them away as a keepsake, not in your closet as something to wear. The clothes make the girl: 15 tips to looking your best]

How to glow up on the inside

The internal glow up comes with the external, but is a bit more difficult. It may not happen with a fun pop/rock soundtrack playing in the background. But once you achieve your glow up, you will have your anthem perking you up daily.

1. Fake it until you make it

Not everyone likes this advice, but I find it to truly work. If you want to know how to glow up, and are struggling with self-esteem issues don’t hide that inside. Talk about it with a friend, a family member, or a therapist. But if you are struggling to get past that last hump or self-doubt, fake it.

If you are close to having confidence, put on a confident face. It may be hard at first, but once you break free of your shell, that confidence will become real and you will be comfortable in your own skin for real. [Read: The art of making a great first impression – How to introduce yourself]

2. Smile

Smiling may seem like a weird way to learn how to glow up, but it makes all the difference. Smiling is contagious. It puts you in a good mood and can actually make you happier overall. And happiness is a big part of a glow up.

3. Be positive

Waking up feeling like today is a new day to get closer to glow up status will help you look forward to each day. Being hopeful and having a positive mindset will help you build up your confidence. [Read: How to be more positive and increase the quality of your life]

4. Let go of the negative

Try not to let the negative thoughts get to you. I know how hard it is. You’ve been working hard to come into yourself, but then you get a massive zit or get a mean comment online. I know it hurts.

But instead of letting that one thing ruin your whole day and outlook, try to let it go. Focus on the positive parts of your day and let the negative bits just roll away.

5. Ask yourself, not others

Instead of asking your friends, your social media followers, your beau, or even your siblings if something looks nice on you, ask yourself. Look in the mirror and realize your self-worth.

Analyze your own behavior and thrive on that. Your self-image, what you think of yourself on the inside and the outside is what confidence is about.

It is not about what others have to say. It is always nice to get a compliment, but compliments from yourself are the best kinds. [Read: 17 ways to focus on yourself and build your own sunshine]

6. Stop comparing yourself to others

With TV, social media, and magazines, we are constantly faced with images of others that are perfect. Whether that is with makeup, intense diets and gym sessions, or digital editing, we can’t help but wonder why we don’t look that way.

Your self-worth is not a competition. It is not about how similar you look to a celebrity, your BFF, or even the girl down the street. It is about how you feel within yourself and how you express that into the world.

7. Do what makes you happy

Confidence comes from happiness. So if you aren’t doing what makes you happy, your confidence will suffer. If you love to paint, paint. If you love to write, write.

Go hiking, biking, or dance all night. Do what makes you feel good. Feeling good about all the aspects of your life will make your confidence sky high.

8. Lift others up

Complimenting your friends on their new jacket or their generosity and kindness makes you feel better. Helping to boost others’ confidence helps you feel better.

Think about the bullies in school, and in the White House. Those who are critical of themselves need to put others down in order to feel better about themselves. But those happy with themselves can lift others up happily.

9. Accept the bad days

Even the most confident people in the world have bad days. It is a part of life. So instead of dwelling, just let it in. Cry it out. Be down. Sometimes we need a day staying in, vegging out, and watching TV in a snuggie.

Let the bad days happen because once they’re over, you will have good days too. [Read: How to find yourself when you feel like you’ve lost your way]

10. Celebrate

A glow up is not something to dust under the rug. When I got my braces off, dyed my hair, and cleared up my acne, I kept living life the same way I always did. I wish I had said, “Hey, you are happy with yourself, do something about it!”

So go out with friends, go shopping, bake a cake. Do something to treat yourself because you, my dear, have glown up.

[Read: How to discover self-love and happiness]

All said and done, remember that knowing how to glow up is not all about changing your looks, but your perspective on yourself. 

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Samantha Ann
It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding a wonderful relationship, I have decided to...