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What is TikTok’s ‘Bold Glamour’ Filter – and Why is It So Controversial?

A woman in white taking a selfie
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The “Bold Glamour” filter is all over TikTok right now, with more than 17 million videos using the controversial filter so far – but what, exactly, is the “Bold Glamour” filter and why is it causing so much uproar?

The hyper-realistic filter gives users chiseled jawlines and flawless skin, slimming the nose and creating fuller lips. Since it’s AI-generated, it “uses machine learning technology to automatically edit users facial features,” as CNN explains. This can make it tough to clock at first glance – which is starting to impact beauty standards for TikTok users far and wide.

Related: What is the cost of unrealistic beauty standards? Unfortunately, it’s billions of dollars a year.

As psychologist Carolyn Rubenstein tells Yahoo Life, these unrealistic beauty standards are starting to have a huge affect on young people, in particular.

“Filters create an unattainable standard for beauty that can’t be matched in real life,” Rubenstein explains. “Human beings have pores in their skin, asymmetry in their faces, wrinkles after a certain age, stretch marks, cellulite and bodies that aren’t perfect. When someone sees their face in a filter, that can become the standard they wish to live up to.”

As someone who has long struggled with an eating disorder and grew up grappling with body dysmorphia, I can personally attest to the damage that filters like this can do to a young person’s self-esteem. Filters like “Bold Glamour” – which is essentially FaceTune in real time – can blur the line of reality, making beauty standards even more unattainable than ever.

Related: My story: Reinventing the algorithm – how I navigate body dysmorphia in the metaverse.

Sure, a subtle adjustment to the skin and cheekbones can make you feel good when you’re posting a video, but what happens when you walk past the mirror and what’s reflected back to you doesn’t live up to that filtered version of yourself?

Plus, as Glamour points out, there are even deeper implications of the filter than what it does to a user’s self-esteem – it also perpetuates Western beauty standards.


Much like in the Glamour article, people of colour have started to share their stories online, explaining how the filter can distort their faces beyond recognition by essentially westernizing their eyes, jaw, nose and skintone.

As psychologist Alexis Conason explains to the outlet, filters like this “can make us believe that it’s possible to look like the filtered ‘reflection’ staring back at us from our phone screens and that version of ourselves is more desirable than our actual selves.”

Conason adds that they can also aid in the development of “pervasive body image dissatisfaction, eating disorders, disordered eating, low self-esteem, and other psychological issues.”

Luckily, some brands are taking a stance against filters like this, including Dove, who is inviting users to stand with them as they commit to “#NoDigitalDistortion” in its advertising and marketing.

“It’s vital that we push back against these increasingly toxic beauty standards and show young girls that it’s OK to be their authentic, beautiful selves,” content creator and body confidence advocate Alex Light explains. “I’ve worked with Dove for a long time, and I am so proud to work with a brand who not only pledge no digital distortion in their imagery, but also continually work to dismantle beauty standards and champion self-esteem in women and girls.”

While it can feel amazing to get a fast and easy confidence boost from a filter or a quick FaceTune, embracing who you are and valuing your self-expression above all else is an important way to improve your sense of self and identity.

So, if you or anyone you love is feeling impacted by the affects of the “Bold Glamour” filter and other unrealistic filters and applications, it could be time to take a break from social media. If you’re not ready to cut it out completely, try following accounts that align with your values, promoting things like body diversity and body positivity.


See also: The dark side of TikTok – here’s why eating disorder content can often go unchecked: research.

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