How to Look Younger in Pictures

Optimize your portrait game to display your youngest self.

About this time last year, Microsoft launched the How Old Do I Look face-detection tool. Remember how everyone was uploading photos of themselves with their ages splayed across them?

As most viral phenomenons are, this one was short-lived. However we learned a lot from the whole ordeal. Mainly: How to look younger in photos.

The LIVESTRONG.COM team uploaded a series of photos — to the delight of Redmond, Washington, surely — to look for a pattern. Some of us (e.g., our model) were skeptics from the beginning.

We asked ourselves: When photos of one person give an age spread of 13 years, what are the markers of age or youth the tool is looking for and what's the logic?

For myself, a close-up photo and a non-squinty, unsmiling but pleasant look on my face yielded the youngest age while my natural smile showed the most accurate age.

In one test, our 20-something model, a brave soul, used a photo of herself with professionally done makeup, which apparently makes her look like she's 41. Meanwhile, a photo of her with no makeup and a baseball cap says she's 27.

Check out the effects…

Oldest age:

Shot taken from directly in front of the model create the perception that she's older.

Mid-Range Ages But Still Older Than Actual Age:

This approach got close, but not quite to the right age.

The One We Thought She Would Look Youngest and the One That She Actually Looked Youngest In:

Needless to say, the results defied our expectations.

Possible explanations for the varying ages (other than this tool is dumb)? Maybe the tool "reasons" that the harder you try, the older you look. (Note to self: no more duckface).

So, remember these 3 tips for a younger-looking photo:

1. Natural smile
2. Neutral to no makeup
3. Hair down or low-key with a baseball cap on

Readers — Have you tried the tool out yet? What ages did the #HowOldRobot give you? Do you think this tool is dumb or fun? Leave a comment below and let us know!