Snapchat Filters: For and Against

This week, Laura Buckle and Maddy Raine weigh up the pros and cons of using Snapchat filters.

Madeleine Raine
19th February 2018
Image Credit: @amb_d (Instagram)


Ever since its creation in 2011, Snapchat has become a worldwide phenomenon gripped by hundreds and thousands of individuals intrigued by its simplicity yet addictive nature. Throughout the seven years, Snapchat has expanded exponentially and is now recognised as one of the main media platforms alongside Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Snapchat filters are becoming an increasingly popular feature, with each week providing at least one new face to transform the normal human visage. Popular filters often begin to emerge during key national and international events such as the world cup and the Olympics. Face filters ranging from the English flag to that of Germany and France not only allow its users to support their own country, but encourage the successes of its neighbours. With not only national but also international support transgressing all backgrounds and social sectors, Snapchat has proven a key app in encouraging a multicultural society. In this aspect, Snapchat is becoming an important cultural media platform in its encouragement of unity and support.

Another popular feature of this app is its newly founded geofilters. Its users are now able to announce their location, celebrating both home life and holiday excitements. Whether you’re cruising the Mediterranean with your other half or starting a new job, these filters give life and energy to any snap that you send. The location accuracy of this app also aids in the promotion of local and national businesses as well as charitable events and appreciation days. World Cancer Day is a prime example of the power that this app conducts upon a whole nation. The extent of support people gave just by posting a selfie with this filter quickly escalated to a worldwide phenomenon, and has not ceased yet.

The main attraction that Snapchat has for its millions of users, however, are the filters that can be applied to anyone at any time with generally a wide variety of themes. Filters range from animals to airbrushed filters which give the air of a new face. The choice between a single filter or those that can be shared with others is a great way to encourage community and a means by which many promote friendships. These filters are perfect for those who are in a rush or don’t quite fancy spending that extra half an hour on a morning to apply make-up. With one click false lashes and lipstick are applied presenting an on-the-go look for those who may still be in bed! With one click you can promote the air of someone who has spent hours when really it was a quick-second photo.

The advancement of many of Snapchat’s filters can also often encourage new make-up ideas. Ranging from bright pinks and oranges to darker colours of brown and black make this suitable for anyone of any style. Whatever the age, Snapchat is suitable for anyone and everyone. Comedic faces for the younger generation and news articles for the older make this app something that is universally accessible and enjoyed.

Image Credit: @kylizzlenapchats (Instagram)


At first, it seems pretty difficult to find flaws with Snapchat’s revolutionary filters. In all seriousness, who doesn’t want a cute dog nose, bunny ears or to be digitally gifted that goddess glow that really nobody apart from Beyoncé has. Now, Snapchat has not only emerged as a new form of communication, but also as a whole new way of taking “selfies” so forget Instagram’s ‘Valencia’ filter because 2017 was the year of Snapchat filters and it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon.

Whether you opt for a complexion fixing, button-nose creating, eyelash-extending filter or a more humorous, warped filter to make your friends laugh, it’s reasonable to suggest that everyone has used a snapchat filter at some point in their life. And yes, they have the ability to work wonders. Had a late-night? Snapchat filter-it. Hungover? Snapchat filter-it. Or just having “one of those days”? Snapchat filter-it. Some that we’ve seen over the past year have transformed our faces in ways that makeup can’t even manage. No matter how much highlighter, mascara or powder you use, sometimes a Snapchat filter is easier or “just needed” and with Snapchat making both front and back cameras available for filters, the trend doesn’t just end at “selfies”.

Nowadays, many people can’t take a photo without one of these beauty-enhancing filters and even Instagram and Facebook profiles have become infected by this filter obsession. Musicians, actors, actresses, YouTubers, the Kardashian’s, students and even parents: just about everyone is a fan of snapchat filters. Even those size 0, beauty models we all shamelessly stalk on Instagram are lovers of the trend; just when we thought they couldn’t get any more attractive. *Self-esteem levels drop by 80%*.

However, it is this ‘self-esteem’ factor which questions whether Snapchat’s latest phenomenon is really all that revolutionary or is it just a whole new venture for the guys at “Catfish: The TV Show” to get their teeth into. With these snapchat filters changing the majority of our face structure, eye colour or even gifting us an angelic halo, many of us look completely different to our original self; maybe a positive for that post night-out “selfie” but not so much when you’re the “queen/king of snapchat filters” and caught on ‘a bad day’ in Eldon Square. A snapchat filter might get you a few great selfies for your Instagram profile but essentially, it not only really creates unrealistic expectations for other people but can also reproduce a whole new wave of self-comparison and anxiety for ourselves. Obviously, very few have glowing skin, primed eyebrows and plumped lips just 10 minutes after waking up on a morning, which unsurprisingly doesn’t take a genius to work out, but that is the straight-up impression that Snapchat filters can give. Although many of us using these filters are ‘au-natural’ post “selfie”, Snapchat is pushing an ideal of ‘what you should look like’ without makeup when really, everyone should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin without the pressure to look how you do with the help of Snapchat’s digital filters. Asif the pressures from Instagram weren’t already enough!

To many, it isn’t really ‘that’ deep. Snapchat filters can be harmless, fun ways of distorting your face to look like the Hulk or yes, to give yourself a new complexion, but to some, snapchat filters have created a whole new wave of ‘au-natural’ attractiveness that we’re now expected to meet online. Yet, whether this effect will keep us from using them is another story. “Snapchat, when’s the dog filter coming back?”

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AUTHOR: Madeleine Raine
MA History student with a BA in English Literature and History. Lifestyle writer and avid traveller who has recently branched out to also cover news articles. Twitter @RaineMadeleine

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