Admit it, you’ve done it. Swiped for the filter that makes pores disappear, added a little flattering light to that selfie. Had fun by adding freckles, perhaps? Changed your hair colour or given yourself huge cartoon eyes? Maybe you are shameless when it comes to filters, cheerfully smoothing and blurring until you find your best adjusted self. It’s okay – none of us are immune to the temptation of tweaking.
It’s fun, right? After all, we’ve been zhuzhing up our selfies for years, it’s nothing new. In fact, it’s been a whole decade since the infamous Facetune app created the cult of the , but built-in filters in our socials weren’t far behind, with SnapChat, Instagram and, most recently, TikTok making their use ubiquitous. Today, however, there’s a new breed of beauty filter making waves for its hyper-realism and suddenly users are asking, ‘how much is too much?’
Traditionally, in-app beauty filters have been a bit basic, adding or subtracting elements, changing colours or the shape of the face in a very particular fashion. That’s because, up until now, the technology behind the filter simply detects a face in the frame and then creates a kind of 3D mesh template, which lies on top of it. The desired effect is attached to that mesh – such as the devil horns, smatterings of freckles or cute bunny noses we’re all familiar with. But if you interfere with the process, perhaps by waving your hand across your face, this type of filter will glitch because the overlay suddenly can’t find the face it’s supposed to be adhering to. These kinds of Augmented Reality filters are pretty obvious to anyone who sees them, so if you were looking for any specific, significant or discreet work to your photographed look, you’d need to come out of your socials and get retouching elsewhere.