The Sad Reality of Beauty Apps + Social Media

For as long as I can remember, (while there is no single cause for eating disorders) magazine covers and other forms of media were always to blame for the rise in poor self-esteem and eating disorders in teenagers and young adults. (see here) They promote unachievable standards of beauty, because, well, they were hand made. The images were literally put together, smoothed out, pulled in, up, around, and down – any which way that would make the person more aesthetically pleasing.

While the fashion industry has tightened the reigns and become more aware of what kind of message they are sending to young people (with over-edited images and using models that are sickeningly thin) the technology photoshop brings to their plates in the professional world, has fallen into the hands of the “regular” people: Bloggers, social media influencers, “Instagram models”, and people like you and me.

There are tons of beauty apps in the app stores for both IOS + Android and while their intended use is innocent (I like to think) they have a way of achieving the same results in young girls and women as the photo-shopped covers of magazines do.

I downloaded one to see what it was like-

This is Beauty Plus. 

Beauty Plus gives you the opportunity to smooth, correct acne, “firm”, change your skin tone, whiten your teeth or eyes, brighten, correct dark circles, slim, change your height, make your eyes bigger or smaller, make your nose more narrow, and contour your face – so, essentially, this app allows you to just completely change your face. And what’s worse, is that it doesn’t look edited at all. I put a photo from me in the Gulf through the slim option because I was in a bikini. And I completely changed my shape, and looking at the photo, you can’t tell. I mean, there’s no distortion. Unless you knew me personally, you would have no idea that I don’t really look that way?

Isn’t that amazing!? I mean, it’s unnerving, certainly, but this is frickin’ impressive. I did that with an APP.  The results are misleading and it’s not a celebrity on a cover of a magazine. It’s me. Not a professional. It took 5 seconds.

Despite magazines and media having an influence on people’s opinions of what they should look like, the general public always had sort of an excuse as to why they didn’t look that way – “Well I’m not a famous celebrity. I don’t have a makeup team. I don’t have a personal trainer. I don’t get paid to stay in shape and look amazing. It’s fine if I don’t look like that.”
When we take out the celebrity factor, we give the impression that us regular people look that way, too. (and I mean, some of us do, thanks to amazing genes – but that’s beside the point.) We should be flawless, airbrushed, thin, and tanned. These apps give everyone the opportunity to spread the same message as the fashion industry and mainstream media.

With the continued rise in popularity of social media, it’s becoming more and more important for us to take matters into our own hands when it comes to how we see ourselves. We can no longer let it rely on the fact that something just isn’t real. (Ex: “I can be okay with how I look because the girl on the magazine cover is heavily edited; no one actually looks like that”) That seems to always be what people say when someone feels inadequate in comparison. “Oh, it’s not real. Why are you even looking at that?”

Thanks to these kinds of apps, there is no way to tell real from fake anymore on social media. It’s not even worth questioning at this point -it’s not worth the effort or brain power. We just have to find comfort in the fact that it doesn’t matter. We need to learn to be be confident and comfortable in our own skin regardless of what others look like in a photo. Lose the beauty apps, lose the comparison making, lose the deprecating self-talk, and maybe start experiencing a little self-love.



  1. You made a good point here. People should stop to compare themselves to others, wasting precious energy focusing on other peoples’ look. But I wonder if this is possible.

    1. I wonder, too! I think it’s programmed in our brains to do it, but if we can make sure to catch ourselves and reverse the negative-speak, then maybe we can make a long-term difference!

  2. I absolutely love this post and you’re right; although these apps show impressive effects, they basically do what fashion industry and mainstream media have been doing for decades.

    1. exactly! It’s so … awful. We’re never going to be able to end this kind of thing, the technology keeps getting more and more impressive and we need to be in charge of our own self-esteem!

  3. I think the worst thing people can do to themselves is over edit their photos. If you’re having to make so many changes, chances are you won’t look like your actual self in person!

    1. I totally agree! One of the things that was hard about doing this post, was that I LIKED the skinnier pictures of myself. I had to step back and be like… girl, no. IT’S NOT REAL. My body is not shaped like that! Even when I was 50 pounds lighter, I didn’t look like EITHER of these photos!!

  4. THANK YOU FOR THIS! I tend to fall into comparing myself to others BIG time. But like you said, “we need to learn to be be confident and comfortable in our own skin regardless of what others look like in a photo” – so true. It’s all about self-love!

    1. omg YOU’RE WELCOME THANKS FOR READING! :):) I think it’s something we all struggle with, and that’s honestly so fine, but we can’t let it ruin how we love ourselves.

  5. couldn’t agree more with your post, it’s silly to me that people feel the need to judge themselves and others, i think we should focus on the positives instead of the negatives about ourselves 🙂

    1. absolutely! It’s hard not to, especially knowing that people can alter their appearance like this! It’s more worth it to just ignore it and focus on love!

  6. Very good point and I think it’s important to keep in mind that what we see on Instagram or blog posts could be misconstrued by whatever apps the blogger is using. It’s awesome that you tried this out on apps to see what the difference is!

    1. Yes! always keep it in mind! It’s seriously amazing how easily people can just…. lie. LOL. That’s why its so important we just stay in our lanes, focus on only competing with who we were yesterday, and always strive to better our relationships with ourselves!

  7. Great post. That’s my issue with IG most of the time… it all seems a little too posed and fake. There’s no way everyone looks perfect all day everyday. It’s hard to keep up with because it’s all just misleading. Thanks for being brave enough to call it like you see it!

    1. It really is! As a photog, I get wanting things to be aesthetically pleasing and I get photo sets and flat lays or whatever, but I just wish people understood that it’s that way! It’s all set up!

  8. WOW I didn’t even know something like this App existed! That’s definitely unnerving! I so agree with your point. As someone who grew up with no self-confidence at all and constantly comparing myself to others (something I still struggle with from time to time), it’s so important that we should focus on body-positivity and building up our confidence & self-love instead of even wasting time on the comparisons. Self-love is so important & something I’m working on constantly. Thank you so much for sharing this post! 🙂

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