A few weeks ago, I discovered this amazing new app. I actually think Apple tempted me with it. Somehow they suggested it to me – I don’t remember where, but I do clearly remember the wording.

“Wondering how all your friend’s selfies are so amazing? This is what they’re using.”

I was intrigued, because all of my selfies make my face look like the landscape of mars, and the size of it too.

I downloaded the app, FaceTune, and was immediately overwhelmed by the auto-loading tutorials. They were intense. There was a LOT going on here.

But I slowly started playing with one setting at a time….

And there began my downward spiral into tuning my face.

FaceTime Leaves

It didn’t help at all that we had family photos the next week, and I suddenly had hundreds of pictures with which to tinker.

I mean sure, I played with the kid’s eyes to make them brighter and less shadowy, but this app was really about me, not them. Their skin hasn’t yet been ruined by the ravages of sun and lack of sleep and poor skincare like mine has.

And so I played. I smoothed out my skin, erasing wrinkles and sun spots and crater-pores. I was amazed!! If only I had airbrush makeup (or a skin transplant), I could look like this every day!

FaceTune 1

Then I erased under-eye shadows. Surely they’re just because I’m terrible at putting on mascara – it’s not what I really look like. I am just erasing my own mistakes – that’s all!

FaceTune 2

It was so easy! Just a swipe of my finger here and there…

But FaceTune is a lot like Plastic Surgery.

A little is great.

But the longer you play, the more likely you are to turn yourself into something grotesque.

FaceTune 3

I mean sure, I don’t have any wrinkles, but my face nearly lost all natural contours in the process. Magic always has a price.

And then there was this edit.

FaceTune 4

Yes, my skin looks like it could be in a beauty pageant. But I also look like an American Girl Doll replica of myself. She ain’t real.

Despite my slight misgivings about my somewhat deceptive editing, I posted two of the photos as my new profile pictures on all of my social media accounts:


And the comments began.

“You look so young!”

“I swear you’re aging backwards!”

“You look fifteen!”

“Is your hair blue?”

Aside from the last one, each pricked my conscience a little more forcefully.

I mean sure, I’ve always edited my photos (who doesn’t?), but FaceTune gave me a level of control the likes of which I’d never wielded before. And with much power comes much…facial contortion.

And so began my downward spiral of angst and conflicting emotions.

1. I should admit that objects in this photo are not as young as they appear.

2. They don’t even look like me. I mean, those photos were taken when I looked my best, so there is no way I could ever achieve the post-edit skin tone on my own.

3. But it could! If I were better at makeup! Or had my own professional airbrush cosmetics studio!

4. Okay not really .This is what I would look like if I had a proper skin care regimen AND started it twenty years ago. And maybe wasn’t prone to freckling.

5. But I could be this person if I lived entirely on the internet. Oh – I wonder if I could do that?! Then I could have all the perfect skin tone I wanted….


7. Oh dang. There’s another comment. I need to admit my trespasses. I have to. I’m losing all credibility. The only way to regain it is to post a no-makeup selfie.

Or not.

8. But if the photo were overexposed, my skin would look that good, too! Cameras always lie – everyone knows that!

9. And anyway. I bet all the people on the internet with perfect skin are just FaceTuned. That’s what Apple told me, didn’t they?!


11. Argh. The photographer just liked my photo on Facebook. He’s probably judging me for smoothing myself. HE knows what I really looked like. HE knows I’m lying through my wrinkles.

12. I wonder how you can shrink pores as big as mine?

13. FaceTune. Oh, FaceTune. Why can’t you transform my skin like you lie about my photograph? Why can’t you be a real boy?

14. If God didn’t want me to be able to smooth my skin on the internet then He wouldn’t have created FaceTune. So there.

…But He could’ve cut out the middle man and just given me flawless skin to start with…

15. Guilt. Nothing but guilt. (But not quite enough to change my profile picture.)

FaceTune should have been called Pandora’s Face. That’s all there is to it.

13 thoughts on “The Stages of FaceTune Guilt.

  1. Thanks! I had noticed how great you’ve been looking and attributed it to your new passion for running! It almost inspired me enough to go for a jog. You look great don’t give up the app, it’s working for you girl!

  2. LOL! I assumed your photographer had done some editing and airbrushing…now I know the truth! And that I should totally get this app, but that might make me like my real-life self a little less!

  3. First of all, you’re beautiful, FaceTune or no FaceTune.

    Second, and I know everyone is probably going to run screaming for the hills when I say this, but hey it’s transformed my skin so I’m a believer. Mary Kay. Yes, the good ol’ big haired crazy pink wearing beauty consultants brand. Stuff works. My face loves it. I’m never gonna say anything is a miracle in a bottle or anything like that, but my skin is way better looking than it was before. I highly recommend.

      1. I use the Timewise line, the combination/oily skin formula (they also have a formula for normal/dry). My T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) gets oily and my pores get clogged easily, but the rest of my face behaves pretty well in that department (when I was a teenager my skin spurted veritable fountains of oil but I outgrew that thankfully). I used to have bad acne but now I pretty much just get mild hormonal breakouts and those heal a lot faster. Now I’m a bit of a beauty product junkie so I use A LOT of the skincare items: the 3 in 1 cleanser, Even Complexion Essence (to help fade old acne scarring), Firming Eye Creme, Day Solution and Night Solution, Night Restore and Recover, and Age Fighting Moisturizer. I also keep a jar of Oil Free Hydrating Gel on hand for the wintertime when the climate is super dry and needs a moisture boost, and some of the Soothing Eye Gel for the morning after a good cry or a bad night’s sleep. I also use the Microdermabrasion set twice a week.

        The #1 key to good results for me has been consistency. My entire skincare routine morning and night, no exceptions. My skin did break out a little bit when I switched over to it, but that is actually quite normal when changing up one’s skincare routine. I stayed consistent with it and within a few weeks the breakout stopped and I began to see the changes. I’m 31, and I’m not going to say I look 20, but I get compliments on my skin and that NEVER used to happen before. Having my skin be smoother has also made makeup go on a lot better and look more natural.

  4. Meh, I wouldn’t worry about the FaceTune-ing. I consider moderate editing as in the same category as wearing makeup. Anyone who sees my blue eyes, blonde hair, and ghost-white skin can probably figure out that I could not naturally grow thick, black eyelashes, but I have the means to buy mascara and wearing it makes me feel better. Everyone who matters will love you just as much, regardless of how your skin looks, so edit away and enjoy your awesome selfies. :) Love the cute hat, by the way!

  5. You don’t need Face Tuning or anything else to make you beautiful. :-) You are beautiful inside and out all on your own. But if it makes you feel more attractive, who cares? Go for it. You’re like me, though. You liked the results enough, but then you started feeling guilty when the compliments started rolling in. So the internal debate began. And it marred your happiness and that little voice inside wouldn’t shut up. Ha! ;-)

  6. This made me sad. I feel like there is a lot of pressure on women (and men) to be beautiful and that the standard for beauty created by the media is unrealistic and unattainable. I think about my own physical self-consciousness and critiques and those of my friends (especially when I was in high school) and I feel like advertisements and magazines with their photoshopping and editing play a large role in creating this standard. I worry about my son and daughter seeing these images and criticizing and picking apart their bodies. I want them to love themselves and the wrinkles, gray hairs, scars, etc. that come from living a full life.

    This post made me think of two great youtube videos. One from Dove’s Real Beauty campaign (http://realbeautysketches.dove.us/) and another you can find from buzzfeed where real women are turned into cover models through professional makeup, hair, photography and photoshop (http://youtu.be/zRlpIkH3b5I).

    I think that you are beautiful, especially when you are real. The fact that you are real is why I read and love your blog. The fact that an unrealistic ideal of female beauty gives an app like FaceTune a market is very frustrating, saddening, and disturbing to me.

    1. Hey!

      Sorry for my late response – the holidays have cut into my blog comment answering routine! :-)

      I hope my blog post didn’t strike you as too serious – I didn’t mean for it to be. I definitely realize that we as women are being brainwashed into believing we should be perfect, and definitely appreciate the movements toward natural beauty. The post was meant to be all in fun, but I understand how it could have been taken. I both struggle with the imperfections of my skin and am also totally okay with it – I just don’t take it too seriously in general.

      But I totally get your point that FaceTune is just adding to the overarching societal problem – and that’s something to ponder, for sure.
      I hope you have a Merry Christmas!!

  7. Well If it makes you feel any better some of us clocked onto the edits straight away but considering 99% edit every photo and detail of their lives 100x more yours were seen as normal to low on the edit scale.

  8. I’m a mediocre looking guy who is 50 pounds too heavy (by medical standards). It’s not that long ago that I was 100 pounds overweight. I’ve FaceTune’d a few pictures and I like the app. Then a few weeks before you posted this, I FaceTune’d a new profile picture. I smoothed my skin a bit (I have a pretty unremarkable complexion), whitened my teeth (in the past few years they’ve really started bothering me), and reduced the “roundness” of my face (for no other reason than when I played with it, I prefered it that way). So I posted the picture and immediately got a few likes. I’m mostly friends with women on Facebook (I just get along better with women), so when the likes started coming in, my self esteem didn’t even get out of the gutter before I started feeling guilty.

    A fair number of my friends only know me through the internet, so it felt less like tweaking my picture and more like forging my identity. It didn’t help that a few people mentioned how thin I looked. Yeah, I’m 50 pounds lighter than I used to be, but I probably shaved at least another 25 off. I consider the vast majority of my friends to be attractive (while 5 should be average, I think the majority of women are 7 and up), so that made me feel like I was FaceTune’ing myself to get attention from the opposite sex. I want women to find me attractive (not that I think they do), but any attention from them I get should be because they like how I look, not because I’m making myself out to be something I’m not. I’m not a peacock. I’m not even available.

    The next morning my wife said something about the picture. I think it was regarding people noticing I’d lost weight. I told her I felt bad because it was photoshopped and the more likes and comments I got, the more guilty I felt. She told me in no uncertain terms that I should feel guilty and that I surprised her–it’s not like I’m exactly the poster child for vanity.

    I took it down and replaced it with the unedited version. Of course, some of the people who didn’t like that unedited version may have thought they liked it previously and didn’t notice that “unlike” wasn’t an option. In other words, the whole fiasco probably cost me the very attention I was secretly craving. *hangs head in shame*

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