Duckface Isn't The Only Cheesy Selfie Trend On Instagram

My friends used to make fun of me for what they dubbed my "mirror face." Every time I caught sight of my own reflection — whether in the bathroom or walking past a storefront window — I inadvertently (or perhaps a wee advertently) puckered my lips into an unnatural, slightly open, what-I-thought-seemed-prettier pout. It was an awkward look (hence the teasing), something models could pull off on the catwalk and in magazines — not teenage girls with obsessive crushes and frizzy hair. And this was all before you could even take a picture with your phone.

But eventually, everyone would catch on (or catch up). First came digital cameras and the ability to almost instantly check out your look. Then came phones that let you see yourself and take your own photo simultaneously. Add in the internet shareability factor, and everyone's "mirror faces" came out. Sucking in cheeks, widening eyes, and puffing out lips became the norm. It still looks just as silly, but people like it. I will put a duckface selfie on Instagram and the likes will come rolling in, while my beautiful shot of the scenic lake I'm visiting tops out in the low double-digits.

There's no wrong way to take a selfie, or pose for any pic (except, of course, looking down at the camera). But since the world has become our mirror and each of us has become a curator of our own image, many new selfie techniques have popped up. Here, we take a look at the standout poses we've seen over the years — get ready to master the Squinch.


Advertisement
1 of 44
Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./ WireImage/ Getty Images.
The Model Pout
The pout has always been an acceptable model pose — see Cindy Crawford circa 1990. We've never been a culture to shy away from excess, so why not try and make her already full lips more pillowy, her angular cheekbones more razor-sharp, and her sparkling almond-shaped eyes even more twinkly? That will sell more Bongo jeans, right?
2 of 44
Photo: Rindoff Petroff/ Castel/ Getty Images.
The Model Pout
In real life, outside of the pages of magazines, the legendary Supers of the '90s were more inclined to flash big toothy grins, like Crawford and Claudia Schiffer are doing here while flanking Karl Lagerfeld in 1993. Yes, the Kaiser pulled out his selfie face, but he's always been ahead of the times.
Advertisement
3 of 44
Photo: Dave Hogan/ Getty Images.
Blue Steel
The model pout was such a thing that it got its own parody. In 2001, Ben Stiller played Derek Zoolander and introduced the world to Blue Steel, his signature male-model face. This was when the masses started to take note of how a simple puckering of the lips could make someone instantly really, really, really, really, ridiculously good looking.
4 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@CaraDelevingne.
Blue Steel
Fifteen years later, in honor of the 2016 release of Zoolander 2, Stiller gave Blue Steel another turn (though not a left one) on the fall 2015 Valentino runway. It was an unexpected, but very welcome, addition to the sea of oversized sunglasses and selfie faces at Paris Fashion Week. Here, he's joined by his longtime rival Hansel (also known as Owen Wilson) and Cara Delevingne for a three-way Blue Steel stare-off.
5 of 44
Photo: ALEX BERLINER/ BEImages/ Rex USA.
The Smize
America's Next Top Model premiered in 2003, and Tyra Banks began teaching her minions — and the world — how to smile with their eyes, a.k.a. smize. The Banks-branded look is all about letting your face relax and widening your eyes until they get that extra-alluring twinkle. A Smize may or may not be accompanied by a slight smile. Be warned: When smizing (as with all things Tyra), there is a very fine line between gorgeous and freaky.
6 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@kendalljenner.
The Smize
After 21 seasons (er, cycles) of ANTM, the Smize is still one of the strongest selfie faces on Instagram. Here’s some recent proof via Kendall Jenner, Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing, and Jourdan Dunn.
7 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@mingey.
The Smize
You can do the Smize on its own, but Banks recommends adding a reptilian jut of the neck to the look. "The Turtle" will elongate your body and deflect any possible double-chin action — as demonstrated by super-smizer Amanda Seyfried and hairstylist Jenny Cho.
Advertisement
8 of 44
Photo: Eric Ryan/ Getty Images.
The Prune
When Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen traded in their acting careers for power-player positions in the fashion industry, another swap went down, too. Those America's-sweetheart smiles were replaced with two pretty, permanent pouts. Like most Olsen endeavors, this lip look was not taken lightly — it was all part of a well thought-out, intentionally crafted plan. In 2008, it was widely reported that the sisters repeated the word "prune" when they posed for photos. They believed this tactic helped them capture their now-trademark sucked-in cheeks and pursed lips without it seeming too forced.
9 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@zendaya.
The Prune
The Olsens may have started pruning when Instagram was still just a glimmer in some techie's eye, but the pose has proven to be just as effective for selfies today as it was for paparazzi shots then. Just take a look at Zendaya. P-p-p-perfection.
10 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@ritaora.
The Prune
Who needs to say "cheese" when you can say "prune"? You can almost hear the word breathlessly coming out of Rita Ora's pursed lips.
11 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@KimKardashian.
The Duckface
We've always had self-portraits or posed solo shots, but it wasn't until 2010 — with the launches of both the front-facing iPhone 4 and Instagram — that we were #blessed with what we now know as the selfie (though the word itself can be traced back to 2002).

Kim Kardashian didn't join the 'gram until two years later in 2012, but we think it's safe to say that she has become Queen of the Selfie — she even published Selfish, a coffee-table tome featuring, well, a whole lot of her — and the duckface is her signature move.

Here, she shares the screen and the expression with Caitlyn Jenner, who joined social media (setting major records) earlier this year. Jenner posted her first selfie (complete with duckface) this June, after she was nominated for the #SocialMediaQueen Teen Choice Award — which she went on to win. She's obviously learned from the pros.
12 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@ladygaga.
The Duckface
Lady Gaga gives us a lovely profile view of her quacker.
Advertisement
13 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@jessicasimpson.
The Duckface
The duckface is not, nor will it ever be, limited to the selfie. Here, Jessica Simpson demonstrates just how versatile it can be.
14 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@lindsaylohan.
The Sparrow Face
In 2013, the Oxford Dictionary named "selfie" its Word of the Year — and another bird face swooped in and threatened to oust the duckface as the selfie pose du jour. Sparrow Face, first popular in Japan, is when you widen your eyes like when smizing, but make a chirping shape with your lips slightly parted. Though it's a favorite of Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus (and the closest look to my infamous mirror face), sparrowing never became quite as ubiquitous as Kim K's good ol' duck.
15 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@mileycyrus.
The Sparrow Face
Miley Cyrus proves you can still look sexy with zit cream if you do a little sparrowing.
16 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@officialjdunn.
The Sparrow Face
Natural curls + sparrow face = Jourdan Dunn for the win!
17 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@kyliejenner.
The Smooch
Kim Kardashian may be famous for a certain Champagne-glass-balancing part of her bod, but it's her little sis Kylie Jenner's lips that always get people talking (and copying). So it makes sense that Kylie's go-to selfie face is this poofed-out kisser.
Advertisement
18 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@beyonce.
The Smooch
The kissy face is even better when it comes in a pair — better still if that pair happens to be the ultimate mother-daughter duo of Beyoncé and Blue Ivy. Bees are optional.
19 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@karliekloss.
The Smooch
It works with besties like Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid, too.
20 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@KimKardashian.
The Blowing A Kiss
You can take the smooch pose up a notch movie-star-style with the simple addition of a hand wind-machine delivery system. Though Kim will always remain true to the duckface, her first Instagram was, in fact, the Blowing A Kiss.
21 of 44
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/ Getty Images for Victoria's Secret.
The Blowing A Kiss
It's also a longtime favorite of a certain flock of winged women known as the Angels. Maybe we've just figured out Victoria's secret?
22 of 44
Photo: Steve Granitz/ WireImage/Getty Images.
The Blowing A Kiss
It's also a red carpet staple pose. Here, Meagan Good blows a kiss to her adoring fans.
Advertisement
23 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@katyperry.
The Peace
Sometimes you may want to blow a kiss and spread the love (the heart hand gesture is another great option), while other times you may be in a more peaceful mood. You'd be hard-pressed to find an It Girl who doesn't have at least a few shots of herself holding up deuces like Katy Perry. The Peace is served with your choice of selfie face.
24 of 44
Photo: Duane Howell/ Denver Post/ Getty Images.
The Peace
We all know the peace sign has been around a lot longer than most of us, let alone social media. What we now call the peace sign was used by troops to represent “victory” in World War II and was later adopted by the counterculture anti-war movements of the 1960s. Here, Jane Fonda flashes it at a protest rally in 1970.
25 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@lucyhale.
The Peace
Lucy Hale gives the origins of the peace sign a nod with her round flower-child sunglasses.
26 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@Beyoncé.
The Mug
Throughout history, some people (boxers, football players, rappers) have chosen to put on their toughest faces when the cameras flash. But these days, the hardcore look is fair game for anyone, most anytime and anywhere — including at Iceland's blissful geothermal baths if you're Beyoncé. Like the Peace and the Blowing A Kiss, the Mug often incorporates some sort of hand gesture — plus, a healthy dose of irony.
27 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@chloesevigny.
The Mug
Chloë Sevigny proves that the Peace and the Mug go together like milk and cookies; they're just not quite as sweet.
Advertisement
28 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@lenadunham.
The Mug
Like most things, Lena Dunham does the Mug her own way — and she's rocking that faux-threatening look. Her arms may be wide open, but that stare is telling us to take a hike.
29 of 44
Photo: James Devaney/ WireImage/ Getty Images.
The Tongue
The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards will be cemented in history (and our brains) as the night Miley Cyrus introduced her tongue to the world (and her booty to Robin Thicke's crotch). Though it caused quite a stir, it hasn't stopped Miley from sticking it out ever since — she's said she does it because she gets nervous about having her picture taken — and she's not the only one.
30 of 44
Photo: Robert Mora/ Getty Images.
The Tongue
Way back when Miley was just a wee Hannah Montana, Drew Barrymore's tongue had the habit of finding its way out of her mouth quite often. Example: Here she is with Cameron Diaz at the premiere of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle in 2003.
31 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@CaraDelevingne.
The Tongue
Off the catwalk, Cara Delevingne is known for her goofy faces — and the Tongue is definitely in her wheelhouse. Here, Gal Gadot gets in on the action.
32 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@jessicaalba.
The Surprise Face
In an effort to seem more candid than strategically posed, celebs like Jessica Alba often gravitate toward the Surprise Face. Hey! I didn't realize I was taking a picture of...myself. Okay, so it's a bit gimmicky (aren't they all?), but if you're feeling more "cute and fun" than "sexy and smoldering," it's a great option.
Advertisement
33 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@nicolerichie.
The Surprise Face
This is another look that works wonderfully in pairs, especially when you're teamed up with someone random — like when Nicole Richie selfied with Ryan Seacrest. Hey, what are we doing taking this photo together? Surprise!
34 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@lenadunham.
The Surprise Face
But that doesn't mean #girlgang duos like Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham can't get in on the action.
35 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@lenadunham.
The Blank Face
Another Dunham favorite is the sexy, open-mouth stare-down. It's a cross between the Prune, the Mug, and the Surprise Face — only it's no surprise that you're stone-cold sexy.
36 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@chrissyteigen.
The Blank Face
Just remove all thoughts from your head — other than I'm working it — and breathe with your mouth open (who knew that could be sexy?). Throw on some glossy lipstick, like Chrissy Teigen, if you want to make it even more seductive.
37 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@haileesteinfeld.
The Blank Face
Smoldering eye makeup à la Hailee Steinfeld works, too.
Advertisement
38 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@chrissyteigen.
The Halfie Head Tilt
Selfie-takers often fall into one of two camps: those who unabashedly snap no matter the time or place, possibly with a stick (you've seen them on the subway pruning during rush hour), and those who are more self-conscious. But just because members of the latter group get a little sheepish during the act doesn't mean they aren't up for posing — they just prefer the Halfie Head Tilt. It's as if Blue Steel was having a tug-of-war with an actual smile, always accompanied by a little I'm-kinda-uncomfortable head-to-the-side action. This more approachable (yet still cute) look is my go-to.
39 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@bellathorne.
The Halfie Head Tilt
You can try it when posing for a pic someone else is snapping, like Teigen. But as Bella Thorne demonstrates, it also works for selfies (it just slightly ups the awkward factor).
40 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@themarcjacobs.
The Halfie Head Tilt
Look, dogs can do it, too! (Though we imagine Marc Jacobs' dog Neville is not against going full-Prune, either.)
41 of 44
Photo: Taylor Hill/ Getty Images.
The Squinch
This look was another posing style that came out in 2013 in the shadow of the duckface. Today, it's having a resurgence thanks to social media stars like Karlie Kloss and photographer Peter Hurley, who insists it's the go-to celeb technique. It's perfect for those looking for something a little more sultry than the Smize and a little less obvious than the Sparrow.
42 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@itsashbenzo.
The Squinch
To get the look, Hurley told the team at WhoWhatWear to "lift and tighten your lower eyelids, and let the top ones come down just a fraction." Is that you, Ashley Benson? Sorry I can't see that well, I'm practicing my Squinch.
43 of 44
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@mirandakerr.
The Squinch
Ah, evolution... We've come full-circle, and will end on the note we started: a model in her element making the current model face. Miranda Kerr doesn't need any extra help looking gorgeous, but she's knocking this Squinch out of the park.
44 of 44
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Advertisement

More from Beauty

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.