Retro woman surprised

Why hello there dear reader, how are you doing today? I wanted to take a minute (or 30) to write a post about something that’s been really chapping my hide lately. I hope you stay with me here.

By now pretty much everyone on earth knows about the major photo editing that magazines do on all their photos. They do things from nipping in waists to thickening hair to adding cleavage, etc. It’s never-ending what they do. But what’s bothering me now is the heavy photo editing popping up on social media lately, specifically Instagram.

I feel like the editing on Instagram in a way is actually more damaging to young minds than magazines. Magazines present a glossy amazing “fantasy” spread that (I think) most people realize isn’t attainable in real life. I feel like most people look at say the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and realize how heavily edited the photos are. I believe most people also realize that these models have an entire clothing, makeup, hair and lighting crew behind each and every photo.

Instagram is different in that it’s supposed to be “insta” and therefore more personal. It’s supposed to represent an immediate shot of something as it happens. It’s meant to show one person’s life in snapshots. However, increasingly some large makeup brands, YouTube personalities, bloggers and makeup artists are showing extremely staged photos that are obviously not even taken with a phone. I’ll admit, I too have been guilty of this. The staged photos definitely get a lot of “likes” and seem to be quite popular. But that’s not even the main issue I am seeing.

What really bothers me is the extreme editing of the selfies I am seeing on these popular accounts. I mean some of these are so heavily edited that there is literally NO texture or shading left on the person’s skin. They look like plastic mannequins with perfect makeup on! Most recently a certain brand has been showing photos of their new liquid lipsticks with these lip photos that are probably the most edited pics I have ever seen. These lips do not look like they belong to a human. They are PERFECTLY smooth with no texture on them or the surrounding skin. And the thing is, when I went to the model’s Instagram account, there are many other photos of her where you can see she has beautiful and normal lips, with lines and everything. There were obviously many people involved in these photos, which were taken by a professional photographer using professional equipment and editing software. And then the brand chose to show them on their account. That’s all fine and dandy but what bothered me were the comments I saw over and over and over. People were saying things like “Wow her lips are perfect!” and “Why don’t my lips look like that?” and “How can I get lips like this?” and “Makeup so good it looks animated.” Many of the people making these comments are young teens/women who many not be aware how fake some of these photos are. They think that this perfect, smooth skin is somehow attainable.

The other side to this is they are making the makeup look so perfect, but it doesn’t really look like that in real life. We all know by now that mascara ads are completely bogus, but now so many makeup brands are using super enhanced photos on Instagram to sell their products including foundations, eyeliners, nail polish and lipsticks. You kind of expect it from the really huge companies like Cover Girl and Maybelline but not necessarily from smaller companies. I can’t tell you how many times I have posted a blog photo of a lipstick or nail polish that I have swatched and then I see the brand’s photo of it and it looks nothing like mine.

It’s one thing when it’s a company that makes money off of the products they sell, but it’s entirely different when a huge YouTube personality or blogger edits their selfies. And again, I am not talking light edits to remove a blemish or lighten dark circles a bit. I am talking MAJOR editing here. I feel like A. This vlogger/blogger has a responsibility to show the product as it really is and B. They also have some kind of responsibility to be honest to the possibly millions of young girls who follow them. I don’t really expect a company to care much about the impression they may give young girls, but I do feel some of these vlogger/bloggers could do some serious good if only they were more real. And ironically it seems the bigger some of these accounts get, the more they edit their photos. And the biggest ones are the ones who could have the most impact on young women if they showed what they REALLY looked like sans filters and edits. I do understand that some of the enhancements in photos is because you get better at taking pictures and get better at doing makeup as time goes on. But you can usually tell the difference between skill and editing. At the very least they should include a disclaimer saying that the photo is edited and may not represent what the product looks like on you.

The sad thing is the most heavily edited photos are usually the ones that get the most “likes” and comments. I’ve talked about this with some fellow bloggers who have seen the same trend and agree. It’s almost as though if you want to keep growing your account you are forced into more and more “perfection” in your photos. What was a great photo 3 years ago isn’t enough now. If anyone has anything less than perfect cuticles *THE HORROR* or god-forbid dark circles, the negative comments start flowing. I’m even seeing people now making their swatches a perfect rectangle in order to make them more pleasing to people. NOPE. In my opinion that’s just going too far and I’m not participating. In my eyes a swatch is to show people what a color and product looks like. It isn’t supposed to be a perfect looking circle or square. A swatch on my nails is NOT a manicure, therefore I am not going to spend 20 minutes making every single photo look amazing just to show the color representation. It’s gotten out of control and I for one am trying to buck the damn trend. I refuse to be pressured into being like everyone else and if that means that I don’t have a bajillion followers then so be it. I care more about being myself than any kind of BS idea of appearing perfect.

Ok I have yammered on enough now. This is a topic I could go on and on all day about but I need to stop at some point. 🙂 Let me know how you feel about this. Do you agree that it’s out of control or do you feel differently?


Written by Kelly
Vampy Varnish is dedicated to showing high resolution makeup and nail polish swatches, and providing honest product reviews.