Two young Asian women taking fun selfies.

I’m a millennial and I use beautifying camera filters on my photos and videos. Can you blame me? Having seen the evolution of cameras and photography growing up, I simply can’t help but be appreciative of how far we’ve come.

I took my first with a compact Canon PowerShot and haven’t looked back since. To me (and most of my generation), taking selfies wasn’t about vanity or showing off – it was pure documentation. Being able to capture the moment was new and exciting, and for me, that excitement hasn’t waned the least bit.

Camera Filters and Beauty Standards

My first encounter with camera filters was on Instagram in 2010. My favorite was Mayfair because of its “edgy” Lomography effect. Though these filters weren’t technically beautifying, they made me feel like I had control over my images, and they were fun to use. Little did I know society would later blame them for promoting whitewashing, homogeneity, and .

The phenomenon goes by many names like “Instagram face,” “TikTok face,” and “Snapchat dysmorphia.” But they all mean the same thing: people are starting to look the same as they try to achieve the standard of beauty set by camera filters. Present-day filters are not just used for photos, they are also applicable to real-time videos. They’ve become so accessible and ingrained into our devices that many of us use them without much thought, much less motive.

But when is using them big-picture harmful and when is it simply practical? I use live blurring filters on Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. To me, that seems more realistic than being 24/7 like most social media influencers appear to be. The filters aren’t tricking me into believing that my face is or that it could ever be, but they do save me precious time on a busy day.

This is where I find their value and why I don’t feel pressured to stop using them. But then again, I come from a different time and maybe that’s the thing.

Camera Filters and Impressionable Minds

When your formative years were spent playing patintero outside, reading books, or helping your grandmother stir ube in a giant kalan, fun inventions like camera filters aren’t likely to shape your self-perception. with social media are more about social comparison and than issues. Digital natives, sadly, are born right into the line of fire. 

Children’s advocacy organization reported that, in 2023, one in five girls felt negatively affected by camera filters. The same study noted that those with depressive symptoms were more likely to find filters harmful. According to Devorah Heitner, digital media expert and author of Growing Up in Public, the key is explaining to teens that wanting to look attractive is not something to be ashamed of and that filters can be used in a healthy way.

Still, no one can say they are 100% safe. Even if older generations show , no one is above feeling pressured to look good. In 2019, Body Image journal published a study showing a direct link between time spent on social media and body dysmorphia and issues. Participants were between 17 to 27 years old (covering Gen Z and millennials).

How to Use Beautifying Camera Filters in a Healthy Way

Despite being around for over a decade, camera filters are still pretty much uncharted territory. They continue to evolve and surprise us with new tricks, which, admittedly, can be quite entertaining. IMHO, it seems unrealistic to expect people to ditch them, but we can advocate for a healthier approach towards using them. Here are a few things you can do.

Remember that they are just tools.

Beauty filters are functions within your phone and are something you have complete control over. Use them with purpose and keep in mind that they are simply tools. Go ahead and delete that pimple on your (or even that fangirl photo with your favorite artist). In these cases, you’ll want to keep the memory, not the zit, and that’s okay. 

Moreover, don’t forget there are other tools at your disposal. Add POND'S Bright Miracle Ultimate Clarity Day Serum to your beauty arsenal for smooth, clear skin – no filter required. It contains , which helps make your complexion spotless, radiant, and strong. It is best paired with POND'S Bright Miracle Night Serum, which helps repair your skin while you sleep.

Want more product recommendations for that no-filter look? Check out for the best skincare and haircare regimen for your needs.

Don’t use them every time you post.

Occasionally posting an unfiltered portrait or selfie can be empowering. Not only are you breaking your filter-using cycle, but you’re also showing your . This can feel liberating and may even encourage others to do the same.

Acknowledge some of their ridiculousness.

Let’s face it: some TikTok and Instagram camera filters are just ridiculous. Some will give you perfectly even eyebrows (remember, they should be sisters, not twins), silky smooth skin, and an instant nose job. Others will completely change your skin tone from to tisay. Drawing attention to how unrealistic they are may help keep your own perception of them in check.

Beautifying camera filters are not essential, but they have their uses. If you can’t stop applying them to your photos and videos even if they make you feel bad about yourself, talk to a professional who may help you identify possible issues. Otherwise, don’t overthink it. Have fun with them and then go back to your real life.