Yes, I am your typical “Gen-Zer” who has grown up with the good, bad, and ugly realities of social media filters. Instagram, Snapchat, and the infamous TikTok all allow their users to have a little bit of fun by putting filters on their pictures and videos to look like their favorite cartoon characters or animals, or controversially completely changing the shapes of their natural features to look like the Insta baddies that typically achieve their looks through plastic surgery.
Currently, there is a TikTok filter called Bold Glamour that has over 8.2 million videos that have been made with the filter on. What’s making this filter go viral? It gives people that popular, “perfect” bold glam face often seen on celebrities like the Kardashians. Users of the filter get thicker brows, wider eyes, a narrow nose, contoured cheeks, a sharper jawline, and plumper lips, all looks that used to be achieved solely through an expensive appointment with a makeup artist or surgery.
One Black user: @iam.melanin.marie, tested the filter saying, “TikTok, I ain’t gonna hold you, this is scary. This is a filter.” she then takes away the filter to compare with her bare face saying, adding: “ This is what I really look like, that’s wild. They gave me a whole face of makeup.”
Of course, filters like these don’t come without a bit of controversy. The debates range from whether they’re really detrimental to mental health, especially amongst youth, hoping to actually walk around looking like the Kardashians with ultra-chiseled features, or how the filters sometimes can’t adjust to Black features at all.
However, some people are urging people to put aside their totally valid concerns and just have fun for once. One TikToker, Dr. Monica Kieu who is a plastic surgeon, has dedicated a couple of videos about the filter, breaking down what actually changes your image when using it. What she reveals is that the filter, well, at least from her professional vantage point, doesn’t change the shapes of any of her features, but rather shows you what makeup can do to enhance your natural features. “It makes me feel better to know this can be done with makeup and good lighting, not necessarily surgery.”
In order to prove that the filter can be achieved by several skin tones, Black women have taken pictures or videos of their faces with the filters and compared it to their natural face, then taken it a step further and tried to recreate the look with makeup. According to statics from Mckinsey, Black Americans have tremendous spending power in the beauty industry, “In 2021, they spent $6.6 billion on beauty. That’s 11.1 percent of the total US beauty market.”
So it only make sense that Black social media users are experimenting to see if this makeup look can be achieved in the community.
One user, @avonnasunshine, gives a tutorial on how to achieve the filter in real life, starting the video by saying, “Not gonna lie, this filter got a hold on me” and closing out the third part of the tutorial video, “I don’t know what it is, but this AI filter has really stepped up my game.” A popular beauty influencer, she said credits the filter with helping her with perfect her makeup look .
The Bold Glamour filter works just as well for non-Black users too! This user, @not2tooshabby, isn’t a person who typically goes all out with makeup, but took on the challenge to recreate the look as well.
The thing that is different about this filter is that it is meant to be dramatic. Nobody ever wakes up looking completely airbrushed, bronzed, and beat to the gods, so using the filter is a fun way to quickly see what you could look like if that was the reality. It is also a filter that matches fairly well with every person that tries the filter, Black white, and in-between. Oftentimes, filters only cater to a certain race or with only certain features, which can cause those insecurities that people may feel before trying the filter. It’s easy for people to feel like they are left out of the trends because the trend doesn’t cater to their natural features rather than enhancing what they were born with, but now the Bold Glamour is here.