FAKING IT: Instagram and the effect on our mental health

I watched a really eye-opening programme the other day that has stuck with me enough to write about it. The Instagram Effect on BBC3 delves into the impact of social media harm, and it worries me that just using one app can have such an influence and impact on our lives and mental health.

In short, the programme explored how Instagram can affect its users and the role it has in exacerbating issues around body image and poor mental health for those of us who use it. 

Let’s be honest: Instagram has always been a place where we’re encouraged to post our best selves – a highlight reel – and that can easily turn into something dangerous. When you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, it can be easy to forget that actually, Instagram is filled with altered images, heavy filters and a reality that DOESN’T EXIST.vI’ve done it personally; I’m sure you have too. People want to put their best foot forward, which they are entitled to do, but it can leave the rest of us feeling a little, well…ordinary. This can be even more of an issue when it comes to the beauty industry, which I work in.

I’ve seen professional makeup on Instagram that looks AMAZING, but I know fully well that the image has been doctored or altered in some way to make it look better than the reality. It’s a shame, because after viewing these images, some women uphold themselves to these standards and then are really disappointed when they feel they don’t look like the images they’re constantly seeing. I especially see this when brides bring me their bridal inspiration photos – comparison to these types of images is completely pointless and it makes me so sad! The aim for me as a bridal artist when I create a look based on these images is simply ‘inspiration’, not exact emulation!

It’s really important to me that all of my brides and visitors to my social pages know that I never want to promote this unrealistic image that seems so popular today. My before-and-after and ‘transformation’ photographs are very popular, but all I do is simply enhance a woman’s naturally beautiful looks. I know very well that professionally applied makeup can be extremely empowering, but should only be there to help us look like the best version of OURSELVES; not someone else. 

I am very lucky to work with so many women who are beautiful in their own right and who are so happy to see themselves in the mirror after my work, as they can still see the beautiful person they are shining through, not hidden.

To me, all of the faces I work with are gorgeous in their very own special ways. I want you to know that you are beautiful before AND after – but most importantly, your real beauty comes from within.

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