I wasn’t going to write this post because you have to be a pretty dickish feminist to think it’s cool to tell other women what to do BUT (lol at the fact I’m about to be a dickish feminist) the Facetune madness needs to be addressed.
If you’re not familiar, Facetune is a paid app that allows you to “edit your selfies to look your Hollywood best”. Want white teeth and blurred out skin? You can have that simply by rubbing your fingers on your iPhone screen until you’ve smudged yourself to perfection.
It’s easy to use (although not always easy to use discreetly, if the bizarrely blurred selfies on Instagram are anything to go by) and at one point it was top of the paid app charts in more than 80 countries.
It’s apps like Facetune that enable Kris Jenner to post the photo on the left whilst Gordon Ramsay posts the one on the right…
I’m sure you don’t need me to point out how comically different these two images are.
I’ve never used the app myself (I’m content with filtering and brightening myself to oblivion with the standard Insta settings, ta) but I’ve watched people use it and I can totally understand why it would be addictive. If perfect skin is only a few taps away, you can see why people flock to it. Digital perfection is a pretty alluring prospect in an age where so many of us sadly base our self-esteem on virtual hearts and likes.
It is, of course, completely normal to want to look your best in photos. I suck my gut in and stand up straight if I know a camera is pointed at me. I wear make-up. I take selfies where the natural light is at its best. And, on days where I’m hungover, I’m really grateful for the fact that the front facing camera on the iPhone is so crappy that Apple end up doing a pretty decent blurring job for me.
But I do have a very specific problem with Facetune and that’s when beauty bloggers and journalists use Facetuned pics to “sell” make-up and skincare products. Sure, they might be wearing the said “miracle foundation” in the pic but that’s not what has made a Day 5 PMT chin look like a glossy Vogue ad. You can thank a £2.99 app for that.
I’m sure it happens a lot where it’s not obvious, but it seems to be happening more and more where the use of Facetune (and similar apps) is blatant. It’s misleading and it’s simply not fair to allow readers to buy into an idea that a product will do what an app or editing suite has done.
Of course I am fully aware that that’s how advertising works: you use flattering lenses, professional lighting, naturally beautiful models and Photoshop to create the glossiest ad possible. But blogging was always supposed to be the opposite of that. Or not necessarily the opposite, but certainly a lot more down to earth.
When did looking the “prettiest” version of ourselves become more important than being honest with our readers about how well a product performs? When did vanity become more important than trust?
Don’t get me wrong I love an Instagram filter as much as the next girl but I really don’t think they bring anything to the table when you’re reviewing a product. People want to see what things look like “in real life”, that’s why beauty and fashion blogging became such a phenomenon in the first place.
If I was a teenager in 2016 I’m *certain* I’d have Facetune on my phone. My gripe isn’t with the hundreds of thousands of people around the world using Facetune to give themselves a bit of a confidence boost, my problem is with influential adults crediting skincare routines and make-up items for their killer selfie rather than a software company.
Perhaps some would argue that you could say the same for some of the epic lighting rigs that some of the YouTubers use, but there’s a difference between a set of lights and digitally manipulating your pics beyond recognition.
I’ve seen a scary number of people say they “don’t trust bloggers any more” in recent weeks and that’s a really sad thought. The whole disclosures/sponsored posts/affiliates argument is one for another day but the Facetuning stuff would be really easy for bloggers to address immediately simply by not using it for beauty posts.
It’s a privilege to have people look to you for beauty recommendations, a privilege no doubt earned way before apps like this even existed, so it should be used wisely.
Discovered a £10 foundation that’s amazing? Show us. Finally found an under eye concealer that actually covers bags? Awesome. Using an acid toner that has changed your life? SEND ME A LINK IMMEDIATELY. But don’t smudge everything into a wishy washy mess that leaves everyone feeling cynical. We’re smarter than that.
And on that note, I will stop telling people what to do.
Maybe I should blur out my self-importance for a while, eh?