From diversity to accessibility, can technology change the way we think about beauty for the better?
when Bold Glamor launched on TikTok earlier this year, it started a storm on social media. The viral beautifying filter uses machine learning technology to edit users’ facial features in photographs and videos, sculpting cheekbones, smoothing out skin and brightening eyes, all with unsettling realism.
Some on social media were impressed by the technology, but many expressed concern about how filters can promote unrealistic beauty standards.
While there is growing unease about the way technology is impacting our ideas of beauty, some believe it can also change our attitudes towards beauty for the better.
CNN asked experts to identify the innovations that are having a positive effect.
Digital filters and augmented reality (AR) have become an intrinsic part of how people represent themselves online. City University of London in 2021 reported that 90% of young women surveyed in the UK sometimes use a filter when posting a selfie; of these, more than half said they use a filter half of the time or more. According to research by the Dove Self-Esteem Project80% of girls surveyed in the US distort the way they look online by the age of 13.
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But that’s not all negative for those who have grown up with social media, according to Hannah Mauser, beauty analyst at consumer trend forecasting company WGSN. She points out that there have been positive movements on platforms such as TikTok, from #AcnePositivity to #BodyHairPositivity, which encourages people to embrace the skin they’re in.
“Gen Z has played a major role in destigmatizing these beauty narratives as they confidently say no to ‘normal’ and challenge topics previously deemed as taboo,” she said.
Florencia Solari, a creative AR technologist and filter creator, echoes this. “Thanks to social media, we’ve been able to access a multi-diverse pool of representation of what beauty looks like,” she said.
“Instagram filters can help us play and experiment with different appearances. We don’t particularly have to expose our face to the whole world at all times and this doesn’t always mean low confidence, it can be a means for experimentation.”
Solari added that there is scope to try on a different persona, or even experiment with gender expression, a different face, makeup looks, or hair color thanks to AR.
Sampo Parkkinen, CEO of Revieve Inc., a beauty tech provider that