Look Better In Your Instagram Selfies — Here's How

An Instagram filter is a powerful thing. It not only alters the tone of a photo, it sets the mood for the message you want to communicate. It literally helps you look at things through a rose-tinted lens.
But, at the same time, an Instagram filter manipulates the colors of your makeup into an entirely different look than intended — a blessing and a curse.
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The right filter can turn a basic selfie into a de-facto headshot. Blemishes are softened, lips are blurred into a pout, and skin attains that highly coveted candlelit glow. Pick the wrong filter and you can end up looking like you partied all night in Vegas — with dark under-eye circles, exaggerated fine lines, and misplaced shadows aging your face. And if you're photographing makeup on its own, some filters enhance the hues to look more true to life, while others will make a pink lipstick look closer to fuchsia.
With so many options, it's hard to know which filter will present your mood, makeup, and style in the most flattering way possible. But it doesn't need to be so. Here, Ashleigh Ciucci, a makeup artist with Hair Room Service, offers her insight on picking the right filters to enhance and brighten your makeup.
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Black-and-white filters, though maybe not the obvious choice for makeup, are universally flattering — an instant dose of chic. “Willow softens features and contour, and looks great with classic bold makeup, but can make smoky eyes or the no-mascara look appear flat," Ciucci says. "Inkwell is Willow's more high-contrast, less-forgiving sister. Bare faces can be a bit blah with this filter, but a bold lip will sing here.”

With a slightly pink tone, 1977 also tends to work on anyone. "There's a bit of contrast here, so make sure you're not rocking major contouring, or else you'll look bruised," she says. "Soft makeup looks amazing and angelic with 1977, while more glam makeup looks awesomely retro."
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Mayfair is warm and brings out subtle highlights and contours, which is perfect for the no-makeup look. “It makes everything look a bit richer," Ciucci says. However, this richness can make eye makeup or bronzer look heavy. If you’re already sporting richer colors, Sutro will help tone them down a bit. “A modern maroon lip or jewel-toned smoky eye is instantly film-noir when your photo is run through Sutro," says Ciucci.
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Ciucci counts Rise as her favorite filter for enhancing makeup: "It buffs out imperfections and offers a warm, yummy glaze.” The under-eye area is brightened, while skin looks healthy and glowing. However, she warns that it can make bare faces look flat. “So, make sure to choose a photo where you are wearing the essentials: mascara, blush, and a touch of lip."
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Amaro and Hudson will also wash out imperfections like dark circles or blemishes. “While it can soften the look of a smoky eye or heavy-handed makeup, it really makes red lips pop. Sierra’s also got an airbrushed quality to it, making everything look soft and blown out. This might make you look a little flat if you're bare-faced, so this is a good filter for when you're more dolled-up.”
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Walden is great when you want your skin to be the star of the photo. “If you're wearing color, it can look a tad muted," Ciucci says. "So, this is a great filter for contouring and shading with neutrals.” Another great filter for neutrals is Toaster, whose name says it all: It adds a toasted, golden spotlight on your face. “It’s best when wearing neutrals (colors don't pack much punch here). And, when you've got definition on your eyes and lips, otherwise they'll fade away,” Ciucci notes.
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The Valencia filter sets a mood very similar to the tones in your original photo while giving the skin a warm wash and contours – just that little extra oomph without altering your makeup too much. “This is great if you feel like you're looking a little pale," Ciucci says. "But, it can emphasize faux-bronze skin.”
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X-Pro II brings out warmth and darkens contours, so it's good when you're feeling like your makeup needs a pop," Ciucci says, adding that it's an instant touch-up for faded makeup. Similarly, Earlybird gives you an automatically refreshed look. “It can dull color a little bit, so it's great when you're wearing a bright lip or hot eyeshadow.”
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Hefe, one of the higher-contrast filters, warms skin up, but with a more bronzed tone — perfect for olive-skinned girls. "This is an excellent filter for wearing color because saturation is high," Ciucci says. "Just make sure you're even-handed with your application, because Hefe can bring out imperfections.” Kelvin has a golden tone to it, which can make a bare face still looked defined. However, it does alter coloring, so when showing off new lipstick colors, especially in cool tones, don't expect the color to look true-to-life.
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Nashville has a blue hue, so if you're planning on using this filter, pay special attention to what colors you're wearing. Says Ciucci, "Cool neutrals (think taupes and khakis) can make you look sickly, so choose warm colors (peaches, pinks, warm browns) to make your skin tone look healthy.” Cooler makeup shades such as silvers and blues are best paired with Brannan, while Lo-fi looks best with a lighter touch of bronzer and minimal eye makeup.
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