To say that selfies have taken over our lives and our iPhone screens would be an understatement—and, whether or not that's questionable for our mental health, it's true. I'm also not going to argue that in order to be a positive, self-loving person you have to completely rid yourself of apps that help brighten, sharpen, and smooth your photos. If having a well-edited image will make you feel good, so be it. That being said, I'm not exactly on board with the overly airbrushed, unrealistic cyborg-like selfies that have very little basis in reality, either.
So there has to be a middle ground, right? A way to keep your photos well-lit and still look like you. I asked a few women around the office to give up their best selfie app secrets, ones that don't take things too overboard. Below, find their best tips.
"When it comes to selfies (and Instagram in general), my favorite editing app is VSCO. It allows me to adjust the brightness and general tone of my photos so that they have some uniformity. I try not to go too crazy with editing, because at the end of the day, I want internet me to look like me IRL."
"I hate to say it, but nothing beats Facetune. The blur tool has smoothed out my shiny forehead on many an occasion, and I also love the whiten tool to make the whites of my eyes brighter (I'm crazy, I know). The detail tool is a more subtle way to bring out features than contrast, so that's a feature I love as well. Snapseed is also great for adjusting lighting—the ambiance feature is great for lowering yellow tones and upping contrast."
"To be honest, I only recently learned how to take a good selfie. I was against them for a while in favor of pictures taken by other people (it felt more effortless, I guess). But I'm not embarrassed to admit I've changed my tune. Sometimes there's nothing better than a good selfie. I don't do much to my face, I really do like to make sure everything remains true to reality, but in the case of an annoying breakout or weird discoloration, I'll patch it out using Facetune. I think pores and lines are necessary to keep your face looking like you. Why would you want people to be disappointed when they see you in real life? That's an insecurity-inducing thought for me, and I'll keep my under-eye circles and forehead creases to avoid it. Other than that, I use Snapseed to work with contrast and brightness and VSCO to help add warmth if the light wasn't great. The best answer? Natural light and knowing your angles. Those two things are better than an app will ever be."
"Nowadays everyone's on this whole 'natural' wave when it comes to photos, which I fully support. But I'm also not against bumping up a photo for my personal satisfaction. The trick is to edit your photos in a way that looks like you didn't do a thing. I found VSCO in college, and it's been my go-to editing app ever since. A little goes a long way with this app—the key is to brighten, sharpen, and contrast a tad to enhance your features even more. The filters are so quality and not grainy—it legitimately makes your photo look like it was taken on an expensive camera."
"I actually just got Facetune for the first time a month ago. To be honest, I much prefer to play with brightness and filters to create a more vibrant and luminous photo. However, if I've been running on less sleep or just am having a not-so-great makeup day (happens to the best of us, right?), I love how easy it is to blur makeup creases, dark circles, or an annoying pimple with just one light swipe. Again, I'm not a huge proponent for editing photos, but this is for those emergency situations when I just don't feel like staring at my pimple on social media in addition to the bathroom mirror."
"While unconventional, I love using the Instagram Story filters as my 'selfie-editing app.' Jessica Alba once said in an interview that her trick is to use the 'pretty filter' (the one with the little diamonds around the face) with the flash on for the most flattering pictures (even when the camera is turned around). I've tried it out several times and liked the overall brightening effect, but personally prefer to take a picture facing a window for natural light. I find that this tricks the camera to make little enhancements like smoothing out my under-eyes, making my eyes look greener, and my teeth whiter—no app necessary."