I recently saw an article promoting the new phone app ‘Perfect365’, said to be used frequently by Kim Kardashian in order to achieve the perfect, flawless selfie. This app belongs to a growing breed of self-improvement apps like ‘FaceTune’ and ‘ModiFace’ that allows the user to transform their face with a simple swipe of a finger. I decided to download the app to find out just how drastically one can alter their appearance.
The app opens and I am faced with the slogan: ‘The easiest way to make you look great’- a statement I find more than slightly condescending. Moving on, I took a head-shot of my face only to discover a mind-boggling array of editing options to choose from- some more unnerving than others, as I soon found that this was more than just a simple photo editing app. Not only can you whiten teeth, excise spots and blemishes and soften your skin, but you can also change the whole dimensions of your face. After aligning your face in the ‘Keypoints’ section, you have the option to make your face thinner, enhance your nose, lift your cheekbones, widen your smile and make your eyes bigger. The make-up section offers various shades of foundation to alter your skin tone, blusher, eye-liner, larger lashes and lip gloss. You can even choose from a range of make-up ‘Hotstyles’ from ‘Romantic’, ‘Chic’, ‘Glamour’, ‘Everyday’ and ‘Wild’ make up. The section I found the most amusing, however, was the hair section. You can chose from a sweeping fringe, to a choppy bob, to flowing long Hollywood curls. Ginger, blonde, red, black, brunette, even blue and purple- they’ve got basically every hair colour you could want, and to be honest, it looks far from realistic. Although, it’s always fun to see what you would look like with blue hair!
Social media is meant to be “representative” of a person’s life, publishing recent life events, photos of your nearest and dearest and your deepest thoughts and feelings, like: ‘Just made Macaroni Cheese for tea, yummm’. However, the growing popularity of these selfie apps suggests just the opposite. A person has every right to cherry-pick what they share online, but more than ever, what you see really isn’t what you get. People are becoming increasingly hungry for more ways to exert control over their selfies, most certainly as a defence against the growing pressures to cope with the relentless judgment of the web- it’s a harsh virtual world out there!
Much as there are many dramatic editing options on the app, from ‘Ocean’ eye-shadow to changing your eye colour to red, there are also a number of subtle alterations that can be made from covering a spot, to masking dark circles. People are hyperaware coming across as fake in their pictures, so many of the editing options are designed to look as ‘natural’ as possible- oh, the irony! With these selfie editors becoming a growing trend on Instagram, Facebook and dating websites, it is soon going to be almost impossible to separate the truth from the fake.
These apps are popular for the simple reason that they work. I fall precisely within the age and gender bracket for a typical user of the ‘Perfect365’, and sadly, I can see the subtle improvements it can make to any picture. It does make your selfies look better. But is this a good thing? Should we be promoting these digital dermatologists?
I think it’s up to you. It seems inevitable that we should be faced with more fiction from each other online, as long as we remember that whatever you witness on social media should always be taken with a large pinch of salt. Now I’ve done this experiment and wrote my article, I’ve deleted the app. I’m all for a spot of light editing on Instagram, but when you start to feel the need to change your face shape and elongate your nose I think your swimming in dangerous waters. In our effort to fix everything, we reveal just exactly what isn’t right.