How social media is affecting our lives

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James Charles

In December we shared a post that made our Instagram blow up. Seems like we shared what everyone else was thinking and boy did it get a lot of likes, shares and comments.

We happened to stumble across a photo on social media that showed a makeup look before the photo was retouched and filters applied. (see left – and yes, we know it’s not the same photo)

With this photo we wrote the following; “The difference between edited and unedited”

As you can see from the unedited, this is gorgeous, colourful makeup and skin has texture and pores.

Yes, some of you might be able to achieve this look slightly better but no one can achieve the finished effect how the makeup looks in the edited version without digital editing.

We have chosen to share this for a couple of reasons;

1. To show that all skin has texture. From the downy hairs everyone has on their face to pores and blemishes. Makeup WILL NOT hide texture but it WILL mask colour.

2. Because of social media and filters, when a talented makeup artist puts out work that is completely unedited, it’s seen as bad quality.
THIS HAS GOT TO STOP we have got to stop comparing super talented people with unachievable photos.
There is space in this world for both but trying to make a comparison is like comparing a banana to an orange. You can peel them both and they are both fruit but that’s where the comparisons stop.

3. Because a lot of people take what they see at face value, even when they know skin has been softened, eyes and teeth have been whitened and filters have been applied, this makes their expectations above and beyond what a makeup artist can actually achieve. We now need to manage expectations rather than just do an amazing job that makes you feel great.

4. It makes makeup artists feel inferior that they can’t achieve this end result. I’m always hearing artists say ‘I know it’s a filter or edited but it looks amazing and I feel inferior that when I apply make up it doesn’t have the same finished effect’ – it won’t. FULL STOP
We can NOT compare with computers, retouching, digital art so STOP comparing.

Create your art, be happy, love what you do, give people confidence, help people feel fantastic. Love your work. You are amazing and you are enough.
Working with the general public / actors / dancers /in HD all has its place, as does digitally enhanced photos. It is ALL art. Hopefully you can get a better balance and be at peace with what can, and can’t be achieved

The intention of this blog post and photo is not to slur on anyone’s work. It is to raise awareness of what and what isn’t achievable in make-up.

Once shared, this post started gathering lots of support and people sharing their experiences – Watch our video to hear the  comments we received (or you can view our Instagram post at

In general we was hearing three main topics;

1. That make-up artists felt inferior because they can’t achieve perfect flawless skin, perfect eye makeup and just flawless perfection. They know and understand that the finished photos they are comparing their work to is edited / retouched with filters applied but this doesn’t stop them from feeling that they are not good enough. We have one thing to say to this – STOP COMPARING YOUR WORK TO A COMPUTER’S WORK because that’s what it is – digital art and there’s nothing wrong with digital art but we cannot compare our hand drawn art to digital art. It simply has a different result.

2. That people feel they aren’t enough. They’re not pretty enough, their features are too big / too small / too wonky / not perfect. I have young people complaining that their skin has pores (you would die without your skin having pores) I have people complaining about their blemishes, texture of their skin, fine lines, wrinkles, under eye bags, scars – you name it, apparently it is not good to have ANYTHING any more (what happened about having character, being unique and original? Why do people want to look like clones of each other (with the drag queen look) Yes, it may be hard to embrace what makes you look different but I say you should wear it with pride. And once again, STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO DIGITAL ART – do we really want a world where we all walk around looking like characters from a computer game?

3. It is affecting our mental health.
I totally agree with this statement and it can affect you no matter what your age, no matter what sex you are. If we always compare ourselves to perfection I’m not quite sure where you go from here (bring on the plastic surgery?)
Life is already pressured enough without all these unrealistic comparisons.

To finalise, in the words of our SFX tutor, Laura Odette Phipps “ before editing you had to have talent and dedication to capture beautiful photos as a photographer and produce high quality work as a makeup artist. All editing does is make both fields easier to achieve perfection with less talent and work and has no place in either field. Editing photos also sets unrealistic expectations to consumers who perhaps do not know images are edited etc and thus makes our job as makeup artists all that much harder as customers believe they can have poreless, flat skin and will never be happy.
When selling any product/skill editing should be banned as technically this is false advertising.
If I was to present a portfolio of edited work I’d simply never get hired and in fact ALL of the top hiring artists in my field seriously dislike editing and will not entertain anyone doing so. None of my professional portfolio is edited”

So, what would I like to see change?
I would like a reality check from time to time. I would like influencers / makeup artists / models / actors / retouchers etc. to share before and after photos so we can see what people / skin / features really look like.
I would like there to be more self-acceptance in the world and people helping each other to achieve this.
I would like to celebrate the human race. All of it. The good, the bad and the ugly.


Signing off for now – I would love you to share your thoughts in the comments box.


All the best



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