How to Look (Extra) Pretty on a First Date

The absolutely positively most nerve-wracking moment of a date? Right before you see each other. Answering the front door or walking into the restaurant…eeks! Just writing this paragraph gives me butterflies.

So how do you look extra gorgeous for the big moment? My #1 random trick from my single days: Pinch your cheeks. Honestly, whenever I’d walk into a date, I’d pinch the apples of my cheeks, then gently rub them to “even” it out. Your rosy cheeks will make it look like you just walked in from the cold, and the color will suit your face perfectly since it’s your natural color. (Or you can just cheat and wear blush; here’s my all-time favorite:)

What beauty routines do you have for dates? I’d love to hear your secrets! xoxo

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  2. A bit of mascara to accentuation my already long eyelashes, a spritz of perfume and … PINCHED CHEEKS! I found this trick out by accident (think awkward and obvious zit) and wish that someone had told me this years ago.

    Also, my boyfriend LOVES Audrey. He thinks she is one of the most beautiful women in the world. And I agree.

  3. You MUST check out the anthropologie’s concrete perfume–

    chant debois is my favorite. It smells like cedar. I think it catches men off guard and it makes me feel a little quirky but pretty! :)
    Plus the packaging is vintage looking, and perfect for on-the-go.

  4. Ari says...

    I can’t believe no one has quoted Marge’s mother on The Simpsons yet: “Ladies pinch, whores use rouge.”

  5. Never thought about it, amazing tip, thanks!
    I have so pale white skin that this will work for sure :-)

  6. she is simply stunning!! i’ll usually pinch my cheeks before going into a room if im feeling a little bland and my makeup has worn off :)

  7. Audrey is so dang adorable, lovelove her!

  8. Ly says...

    Lashes! I have super short ones so I love adding a little extra for special occasions to make my eyes pop more.


  9. Anonymous says...

    I think listening to your favorite (happy) song that makes you feel cheerful before going out is a good way to get you excited but not nervous-excited.
    I pick out an outfit that suits the occasion (movie, dinner, having coffee, whatever it is) and that feels like ‘me’.
    All in all, I’d do anything that makes me feel less nervous and try to eliminate any potential awkwardness. When you’re not comfortable, it shows and you’re probably not a good date if you don’t feel like yourself and if you’re not comfortable in your own skin.
    I too always check the mirror before heading out. And if I go to the ladies room during the date, a mirror-check is a must. :)
    And on the date, focusing on him, and not having wandering eyes, is really important. Even if he’s not the greatest guy you’ve ever met, it doesn’t give a good impression of yourself if you “diss” your date. Just try your best to have a good time and keep the conversation going. :)
    Gosh – reading about the tips and thinking about this really makes me want to go out on a date! <3 It’s been a while for me since those butterflies..

  10. I actually did that when I was younger like 15, pinched my cheeks as I wasn’t into wearing make up. But one day my mom said it might make your skin age there badly or something so I stopped. I bet it’s fine tho! My tips would be to smile and wear something that flatters your curves!

  11. Cherry chapstick! Makes you taste yummy (if he dares to go in for a kiss on the first date..) and it can also double as a fresh, pink blush when dabbed on cheeks!

    Maria xx

  12. A few days up to the hour before I always used a few crest whitening strips. Just a little added confidence.

    And a non sticky lip stain/gloss. I hate when my hair gets stuck to my lips. Gross.


  13. Candice — that’s brilliant!! And totally hilarious :) And you know what, I’ve done that.. unintentionally a few times. HA!!

  14. On a first date, I always answer the door brushing my teeth. He almost never expects it, so it breaks the ice right away. It also implies that you weren’t sitting around waiting, which is almost always true!

  15. Anonymous says...

    At my age, the pinch cheeks blush days are over. I have all I can do not flapping and jiggling. First date rule No. 1 Don’t lean over.

  16. I don’t really have any beauty tip, but the best thing for me to do before a date.
    going outside for a run and afterwards relax in your bathtub- you’ll feel great, relaxed and confident afterwards :)

  17. Curled eyelashes. What a difference that makes! I’ve noticed a lot of men are infatuated with Zoey Deschanel and I’ve spent a lot of time studying what it is about her that they’re captivated by. First, she just has this really sweet, feminine vibe all the time. Second, her eyes “sparkle” (cheesy but there’s not a better word). I think it has to do with the fact that her eyelashes are killer full and curled. I’ve noticed I look a lot better when mine are as well.

  18. Getting your hair cut a few days before can be a great little confidence boost, too!

  19. I’m sure I’ve heard this tip before :) x

  20. Let’s see…
    You need to feel pretty on the first date, not only look but feel pretty. I always choose my best underwear, not because something can go “further” lol, but to know I look good underneath ;)
    Also I use body cream before my perfume so it’s sticks with me longer, and I do it just after my shower, while I’m still a little wet. It’s always usefull to use the body cream with the same scent of your perfume.

  21. It may sound cheesy, but I always watch a funny movie/show while I’m getting ready. The look of laughter is the most beautiful and genuine, and I swear a solid hour of it puts a twinkle in the eyes!

  22. I pinch cheeks too-very Austin! I have no tips-apart from not drinking too much and making sure your nails are clean (…like they always should be!)

  23. Awe…. I miss that nervous feeling of butterflies in your stomach and the feeling that you want to scream with excitement :)

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    xoxo Laura

  24. That’s a pretty cool idea, I would have never thought of that.

  25. Ida F says...

    My favorite perfume by Jean Paul Gaultier and clothes I feel comfortable in :)

  26. Act as natural and casual as possible and of course have the perfect look. It worked for me every time :))

  27. Sweet sweet sweet Audrey Tautou

  28. First dates are so magical, it’s been 23 years since I went on one but you don’t forgot the butterflies in your tummy!

  29. I haven’t been on dates in eons, so I am reading these comments and taking notes. :)

  30. umm … i’d love to test out this tried-and-true trick, but this (current) singleton hasn’t been on a first date in, well, a really long time. But that doesn’t mean that when there’s a man worthy enough for it in the future that i won’t be pinchin’ my cheeks to make myself blush just a little bit more … ;)

    p.s. anybody know any fellow singletons of the fella variety in or around the beehive state? can’t hurt to ask, right? hee hee :)

  31. I’ve been thinking that I’d love for you to post about your theories of child discipline on a motherhood Monday.

    PS: this tip is so cute!

  32. My last first day was 9 years ago with my husband! Never wear something new. Always wear your favorite piece. Always made me feel like myself + light makeup.

  33. A little goes a long way, use makeup to accent and enhance your features, not create new ones. Understated lipstick, bronzer/blush, and an eyelash curler with light mascara. Lovely!

  34. what an adorable post!

  35. When I’m nervous I tend to touch/fret about my hair… so first dates I go for a messy but secured bun up-do with my bangs falling forward. This lets me forget about tweaking hair and focus on conversation!

    Skinny jeans, heels and a loose/flowy/button down top, mascara, blush- my go to date look! Sexy but not intimidating!

  36. An extra coat of lip gloss! I have some from (of all places) Bath & Bodyworks that super peppermint-y and always makes me feel more confident and pretty. :)

  37. Since my date is always my husband, he usually sees me getting ready.
    But there are times when he gets ready then reads the paper or something and I get to walk out and surprise him ..
    He likes whatever I do with myself but sometimes I wear a combo of things that he likes, the tight skirt, heels and my hair down ..
    He is not a lover of lipstick so mine are usually pale-ish. But he also loves when he nuzzles my neck and it smells like my perfume :)

  38. i think this would work if you had amazing skin.. but it wouldnt work if you had pimples all over your cheeks haha. :)

  39. false lashes, double, triple teeth check in a mirror out of sight beforehand :)

  40. I don’t understand beacause i’m french and i speak very bad (?) English; so, is it Audrey Tautou , a french actress?? :)

  41. I just got married, so no more first dates, but when I want to look and feel my best I have some go-tos. I like to wear pink lipstick (red doesn’t work so well on me), pink blush, my favorite perfume, and winged-out liquid liner. I don’t normally wear liner, so when I do it makes me feel extra pretty.

  42. ohhh I love this. I always put just a dab of lipgloss on my lips and then smear it. If you put on too much you are trying too hard! man, this makes me want to go on a first date.. I haven’t had one of those in ages… I hate dating. Cute picture though. I love her rosy lips :)

  43. Mimi Konitzer says...

    A small glass of wine makes the beginning of the evening less frantic. I know that it has already been mentioned but I think that it’s worth repeating!

  44. Smile, I think! Bright-eyed and smiling is always pretty

  45. Forget your coat so he has to give you his! ;-)

  46. Gosh, I love your blog. You never seize to keep me interested. The ideas you come up with are so original. You are inspiring for so many blogger’s including myself. Have a wonderful day, Joanna!

    XO Hilary

  47. blush is a must.

    i think you always have to smell pretty too!


  48. yup, i have been married 10 years and i still pinch my cheeks before we go out! it adds a natural color! :)

  49. Shake a little my hair just before I meet the lucky guy (now my husband :D) and some perfume or body lotion with vanilla scent because I know he love it

  50. @ Agnel Court Jewels: stay hydrated on the flight, brush your teeth when you land and touch up under eye concealer and blush.

    I do the natural cheek flush to, but I like to tap my fingertips along my cheekbones instead. The color is more even and it doesn’t hurt like pinching.

    For make up on a first date, I agree with a lot of the other ladies and say go light on the make up and use a lipstain. It seems like most guys don’t like too much make up–it seems high maintenance and like you’re covering up. Plus, my boyfriend thinks he can’t kiss me if I have a bright red lip–don’t want to give that impression on a first date! ;)

  51. highlight eye corners makes the eyes pop and wake them up too, so you can look fresh and awake on your first date :)

  52. Keep it natural and light (make-up/hair/clothes) and smile!

  53. I do this, too! It freshens me up, say, mid-afternoon. One of my favorite beauty tricks. :)

  54. Nylon says...

    Angel Court Jewels, I also had a first date pick me up in the airport in London :) Wear a cute outfit on the plane, bring a change of underwear, some makeup and a toothbrush and toothpaste and your good to go!

  55. The night before I use “Over night biological peel” from Kiehl´s. It makes my skin shine (ok, and some mascara, and gloss, and perfume :)

    Love your blog!
    Romi (from Argentina)

  56. ha, i love the ideas of mints and mouthspray! :)

  57. my sister Lucy wears benetint all the time and it looks AMAZING on her. it’s such a natural rosy-cheeked look. i always steal it when i’m hanging out with her. :)

  58. Meredith C says...

    Agnel Court Jewels, there should be a Boots at the airport–run and get some dry shampoo (their own brand works well!). And I’d just take a makeup bag in my carryon to refresh my makeup in the morning. Solid perfume or a rollerball of perfume works well for freshening up, too!

  59. I don’t really follow any rules for first dates but I always try to look the most natural possible. Most guys don’t like girls wearing too much makeup so a bit of blush, some color on my lips and mascara does it for me. For the final touch I would use some nice perfume that really defines you so whenever he smells it he would think of you. :)

  60. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to make that particular first impression, but I think that “confidence” is the real answer. Pick an outfit that flatters you, have a few things to say, and value yourself more than the opinion of a stranger.

  61. No date prep tricks– but gosh, I love that photo! What a doll that Audrey T is…

  62. Perfume in sexy places! I have perfumes that are not in spray bottles and I like to dot some behind my ears, on my shoulders, behind the knees (for some reason!) and also between my boobs! Wink, wink :

  63. Stay true to your style. I would always try to go for natural looking makeup. I wanted to make a good impression but I figured he might as well see what I really look like, haha.

    And I would wear my favorite boots, they always gave me a confidence boost!

  64. Sarah says...

    I curl my eyelashes. I love the effect, and who doesn’t want their date to want to look into their eyes?

  65. Any tips for looking great at the end of an eight hour plane ride to London, so I’ll look my best when my date picks me up from the airport?


  66. These are great! I would say flirty eyelashes and rosy cheeks.

  67. Always take a look in the mirror before you leave the house

    Eye goop? Negative
    Bat in the nose cave? Negative
    Scooby Snacks wedged in teeth? Negative.

    Then go forth in sin!

  68. black mascara that doesn’t smudge (rilastil is the only one that works for me), tarte cheek stain in natural beauty (makes me look just flushed), clinique black honey lip sheer (makes me look like i just ate a cherry popsicle) and wear something comfy, but subtly sexy. no need to hit him over the head with your ta-tas. as edith head said, “your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

  69. Aw, I love me some Benetint too. As for feeling extra-gorgeous for the big moment, I rely on my one foolproof must-have: heels.

  70. Um…I have no tips, but the picture you put up? – Love her. Such a cute actress!! ALL of you should watch Amelie if you’ve never seen it.

  71. My go-tos:
    -Painted nails.
    -NARS orgasm blush
    -shiny hair
    -stained lips

  72. Wear something that makes you feel GREAT and confident. Too many times I’ve worn something that wound up making me self conscious because of underwear lines, it was waay too low cut, I didn’t have a jacket and got uh .. visibly cold, heels too tall and unwalkable, etc.

  73. Meredith C says...

    Have you ever talked to guys about Audrey Tatou? I find that almost all of them think “meh” when she is the girl crush of almost every female I know!

    As for my beauty routines, I’m with you–blush is important. And I usually will wear a mascara base–makes them look much more lush once you apply the mascara. And I usually spray on a bit of Stella perfume. Other than that, I just try to remember to smile a whole lot!

  74. I have been known to do this on a few occasions, most recently with my current beau, and he said I looked like a country bumpkin haha!

  75. I definitely was so nervous before a date with my now-husband that i had a little drinky drank before to soothe my nerves!

  76. Not really a BEAUTY tip, per se, but when I was an hour away from my first date with my now husband, I called one of my girlfriends, panicking about how nervous I was (I must have known this was an important date!). She said “have a half of a glass of white wine right now”. I was nervous to have any alcohol before a first date, but she was right. It took the edge off my nerves and I was able to relax and feel confident and calm. 6 years later, he’s the love of my life, my best friend and about to be (in about 2 weeks) the daddy to my baby boy. All because of that half glass of white wine :)

  77. It’s sad that most females I know skimp on this step, but groomed and colored in eye brows I can never ever live without. It instantly frames the face and fuller brows gives anyone a more youthful look. I always cringe whenever I see women over pluck their eyebrows.

  78. Perfume is key for me. I’ve worn the same since I was 18 and it gets the guy swooning every time. Okay, it’s been the same guy for the last 9 years but he still swoons (as well as guys can swoon.)

  79. While my dates are now with my husband of nearly 8 years I still insist on glazing my lips with red lipstick. A deep, brick red that signals an important evening. Red lipstick isn’t my everyday. It aids me in setting the mood for our night and I know it gets him excited too. :)

  80. Matching pretty under garments were always my go-to. I wasn’t getting fresh on the first date, but they made me feel pretty and confident.

  81. K says...

    Chapstick! Nothin grosser than meeting someone who has dry lips.

  82. Brilliant tip, Joanna. I love wearing red lipstick when Balazs and I go out for a date. It makes me feel oh-so chic:) Happy Thursday.

  83. Or just be Audrey Tautou, she’s got it down. My tip would be to ruffle your hair and spit out your chewing gum!

  84. That’s such an awesome idea. And it’s free! Yay!

  85. This is from “gone with the wind” :) i agree.. It is my secret tip too! x