• Michelle Almeida

Opinion- Makeup and Image Filters: More damage than boost self-esteem?

Updated: Mar 26

A dab of concealer to hide those flaws, a lightweight formula to gloss over a thin coat of foundation, pop it off with some blush for a flushed look and swipe over a matte lip shade for a soft and trendy glam.

From lightweight products to achieve a natural look to pigmented shades in a range of colours to give yourself a dramatic and bold appearance, the beauty industry has got something for everybody. The makeup world has evolved over the past few years, with the 'no-makeup' makeup looks dominating every influencers' and celebrities' daily glam routine.

On the other end of the spectrum, we've also seen people embrace their extreme passion for makeup and use cosmetics as a tool to express their inner creativity.

For those who do wear makeup frequently, you don't realise the dependence on it until you're running late for some casual event and forget to scrape that eyeliner and mascara. Your confidence drops down several notches, and you actually feel exposed, followed by intense scrutiny in your bare skin.

While most people use makeup as a tool to look a certain way, enter social media with its barrage of filters to make that already coated skin look immaculate. With these revolutionary technologies that help individuals boost their illusion of confidence, there's no denying that your self-esteem is practically non-existent when you switch off that phone and actually glared at the mirror.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using makeup, Instagram/ Snapchat filters or both to give yourself that extra kick of confidence. A topic like this can be contested for hours. However, to take a stand, yes- there is a significant impact that makeup and image filters have on a person's self-esteem.

Society has defined that people, specifically women, need to look a certain way. The historical stereotypes of females looking flawless and flushed with warm eyes and pouty red lips have established that blemishes and scars are to be embarrassed and covered. Even the vogue to emulate celebrities to look a certain picture-perfect way has infiltrated young impressionable minds.

Sure, you can say that 'things are different now'. You have women exposing the double standards while utilising their online presence to showcase their authentic self and set out new beauty standards. But even then, the use and constant creations of social image filters and 'new', 'improved' innovations of cosmetics speak louder- they are still a preferred method of self-acceptance.

No matter how progressive the technology gets to help maintain that balance between feeling good in looking your natural self and tweaking your features for an impeccable look, I believe makeup and image filters are is a lot more damaging to self-esteem than one might think. The need to even require 'minimal' modifications, such as the' natural blush filter' exemplifies how dependant we can be on cosmetics and filters to maintain an online presence.

But, just think of the expectations set when you have to finally meet your online date or meet your friends months later; all they've seen is the Instagram stories of you in your perfect element. When it's actually time to face reality, there's an overwhelming pressure to carry on and look the way you portrayed yourself with those 'natural' filters.

We all aspire to look a certain way. It's a dream to never have to deal with acne breakouts and scars, eye bags, pigmentation and every possible flaw in the book. However, at some point, we need to accept that makeup and filters are not solutions to self-acceptance and confidence, especially for those who are compelled by societal standards to conceal those blemishes.

Makeup is what you make of it for your own happiness. Want to highlight those cheekbones, gloss those lips or go wild with a crazy smokey eye- nothing is stopping you from expressing yourself.

The beauty industry is, after all, just an industry and not a staple in our lives. You need to realise that the treatments you undergo, the products you dab and the filters plastered on are for your merriment to encourage you to put yourself out there. Self- confidence self-esteem don't exist until you learn to accept yourself for being beautiful just the way you are.

Edited: Michelle Almeida