Facetune is an app that shouldn't exist – here's why

Facetune is an app that shouldn't exist – here's why

From taking 200 selfies until we hit just the right angle, to weeding out the snaps that make us look slightly podgy, we’re all guilty of being selective when it comes to which photos of ourselves we share with the world.

Most of us know whether we suit a Valencia or an X-pro, and we’ve got the delicate balance between contrast and fade down to an absolute art. But how to take it to the next level? Allow us to introduce Facetune.

woman with before and after photographs Credit: Facetune2

Facetune is incredibly popular

Actually, there’s every chance you’ve heard of it already. In fact, you may even have it. Having been around for a few years now, it has millions of fans across the world, keen to take advantage of the opportunity to quite literally fine-tune their face, instantly smoothing their complexion, whitening their teeth and brightening their eyes.

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Of course, Facetune isn’t the only one of these kinds of apps on the market, but it is the biggest.

In fact, the app has proven so popular that makers have released the second version, fittingly called Facetune2, which allows users to reshape specific facial features, control the lighting through their screens and even superimpose the changes live as a photo is taken.

So far, it all sounds pretty good, right? Instant airbrushing at our fingertips. The opportunity to look epic without all of the effort. But it’s precisely this perfection that has led some to describe the app as dangerous and damaging.

Famous figures speak out

Actor Jameela Jamil, who launched the #iweigh campaign to celebrate women and promote body confidence, was inundated with comments when she took to Instagram to lash out at the app and the false expectations that it encourages women to set for themselves.

"Ban FaceTune. F**k FaceTune. So angry with FaceTune," she said at ELLE's Women in Hollywood event back in 2018.

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"I know I’m going to get taken out and murdered by somebody who works there,” she continued. "But I honestly sometimes wonder if cosmetic surgeons invest in it or something, because naturally, if you constantly see your nose tiny, you’re going to want to go out and match what you see in the app. Either way, I don’t think it’s healthy.”

Huda Kattan, the founder of Huda Beauty, also took the move of speaking out about “overusing” Facetune.

She shared a “before” and “after” photo, which highlighted that her waist had been nipped in, boobs made perkier, face made slimmer and hair made thicker.

"This topic is pretty embarrassing for me to open up about but I feel it has to be done! I will use it in the future, but I think as a community we can all try to use it less," she said.

Experts weigh in...

And it seems that these criticisms are not without foundation. Dr Vivienne Lewis, a clinical psychologist, highlighted the danger that these apps can pose, particularly to adolescents:

"For most kids taking selfies and retouching them is a fun way of sharing their photos with their friends. However, it can prove harmful to those who already suffer from negative body image problems and might trigger an obsession to spend hours over changes to get the photo just right before uploading".


The bottom line

The debate over airbrushing is nothing new. But many fashion and beauty companies are now moving away from using airbrushed models, as a result of public criticism.

In creating the preferred version of what we should look like, we create something that we physically can't look like - and we carry that with us when we most need confidence; every time we go on a date, on a night out, for a job interview.

So ultimately, in creating the perfect online version of ourselves, we sell ourselves short in real life.