Instagram users no longer have to rely on filters to make their photos look good. Thanks to a rather nifty little app called Facetune, selfie lovers can edit their images to perfection, changing anything from the length of their neck to the intensity of their contoured cheeks, heft of their bums and even the background of their photos.
However, some feel the level of vanity that apps like Facetune encourage contribute to an increasingly distorted picture of reality on social media. Angered by the trend of extreme photo editing, some are now countering the craze with an online campaign using the hashtag #NoFacetune. But will their voices be heard by the masses?
When you have celebrities like Khloe Kardashian endorsing the app, those voices are likely to be stifled. Facetune is hardly a new creation – the app officially launched in 2013 but became truly popular in 2015. Kardashian, 34, could not be more enamoured with Facetune and copped to using the app on Chelsea Handler's Netflix series Chelsea Does, gushing: "Facetune is the best thing to bring to the table. It's life-changing. It's the only way to live."
Watch Patricia Bright expose her Instagram photo editing tricks using Facetune:
The reality star did not specify the particular editing tools she uses, but there is no denying her pictures look flawless. Body language expert Judi James explains that using apps like Facetune may give users hopes of living up to an unrealistic beauty standard. James told IBTimes UK: "We might love to see ourselves in the style of a Kardashian selfie but once you've tweaked one shot it is tempting to redesign your image in every photo after that. People begin to admire the way you look in your pictures and then suddenly you realise you're raising expectations that the real 'you' can never live up to."
YouTube vlogger Patricia Bright exposed the secrets and tricks behind her Instagram photos in a show-all video, but urged her subscribers not to take the likes of Facetune and Afterlight too seriously. The vlogger said: "I know this could be slightly controversial because people don't necessarily want to 'fess up to editing photos but loads of us definitely do it. It's all about doing it in subtlety and it's all about enhancing things you already have."
In the video, Bright shows her subscribers how to make their bums and boobs bigger, whiten their eyes, smooth out foundation and lower their shoulders to give the appearance of a longer neck. According to James, "this is the photographic version of boasting. When we boast or exaggerate we are telling ourselves that the truth is somehow lacking and not good enough to share.
"This lie sets a bar or standard in our lives, creating a gap between the flattered or exaggerated 'you' and the real, warts-and-all version. If you're able to keep the editing as a tongue-in-cheek joke that's fine but when you start to become demeaned by your own idealised image you've got a critical self-esteem problem brewing."
Women are now flooding Instagram with images of themselves either bare-faced or wearing minimal makeup using the #NoFacetune hashtag in a bid to promote healthy skin and an honest appearance. Of course, there is nothing wrong with using apps like Facetune when celebrities have been Photoshopping their magazine covers since the beginning of time, but the extreme editing tricks can be particularly deceiving.
As Khloe Kardashian says of the perfect image often portrayed on social media: "It's not real, you are presenting to the world what you want them to believe you are."