Tyra Banks made the smize famous but it’s something that’s suddenly become much more relevant.
With face masks mandatory in shops, public transport and other indoor spaces, you might face a few awkward moments.
Covering your mouth means it might look like you are just staring someone out when you’re just trying to show your gratitude for moving out of the way.
You need to put a little more thought into your facial expressions to communicate your feelings.
But your eyes, in particular, are a great tool to show you are grinning under the mask.
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Behaviour Therapist Anna Bessell at Improb explains that the easiest way to smile with your eyes is not to force it – your eyes will show your feelings if your smile is natural.
Anna tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The phrase, ‘I can see it in your eyes’, is not just an expression – it is actually fact. When someone, something or an event leads us to smile in a genuine manner, the orbicularis oculi pars lateralis crease. These are often referred to as laughter lines.
‘A genuine smile will encourage laughter lines, a smile that is not genuine will not see that the lines are dominant. Wearing a mask may disguise that your mouth is smiling however, people will see it in your eyes.’
Of course, if you’re struggling with a genuine smile in a moment that needs it, try quickly thinking of something that makes you happy.
Move your muscles
You might need to think carefully about the muscles you are moving to perfect the smize.
Headshot and executive portrait photographer Scott Kline says the squint is key:
‘The best advice is to try to squint from the bottom of your eye. Just tighten those muscles right under your lower lid. The rest of your face should not change.’
Your eyebrows can also be used to show your facial expression – for example, a small eyebrow raise when you make eye contact with a stranger gives a sense of you saying hello or you can raise them to show excitement.
Tilting your head is another way to demonstrate your engagement with someone.
It might seem like you are in an exaggerated silent movie but it helps to give social cues if your mouth is covered.
Open body language
You need to use eye contact and body language too to communicate your feelings.
‘Body language speaks volumes,’ Anna adds.
‘If you are displaying a genuine smile but your arms are crossed or your eyeline is towards the floor, it is hard for people to see that you are smiling.
‘Where you can, adopt the same stance as the person you are communicating with. Keeping the same eyeline as them will also encourage them to acknowledge that you are smiling underneath the mask.’
Anna suggests using other parts of your body to show your smile too – for example, open arms and positive gestures like a thumbs up will show a more positive energy.
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