How to create a filter-inspired complexion (in the real world!)

Social media filters create the illusion of flawless skin, and their popularity has spawned a new wave of beauty products and application techniques designed to emulate the complexion-enhancing effects of a filter.

US-based celebrity makeup artist Johny Saade explains that filter-inspired makeup mimics the effect of a filter through its ability to “blur out imperfections, blemishes, dark circles and discoloration”, while also “refracting light to hide fine lines and problem areas”.

Although Johny is a fan of the growing trend, he cautions the need to have realistic expectations.

“Social media filters can change your face shape, slim out your features and make you look flawless,” Johny says.

“Makeup can enhance your features – but it’s not a magic wand!”

5 things you need for a filter-inspired complexion

  1. Illuminating primer

Ever noticed how Instagram and Snapchat filters make the face appear blemish and pore-free?

“The most important beauty product to help you achieve this effect is a good primer, as it minimises pores and fine lines and blurs out any imperfections,” explains Johny, adding that an illuminating primer is his go-to for its glow-enhancing properties.

Johny also recommends applying a primer on to cleansed skin as the first step in your makeup routine.

  1. Brightening creams

To enhance your complexion’s radiance (without the addition of a Snapchat flower crown or doggy ears!), Johny recommends strategic application of a brightening cream.

“Apply a brightener to dull areas such as around the eyes and along the centre of the face and be sure to blend the edges thoroughly,” says Johny.

“The end result will make you look instantly wide awake.”

  1. Skin-finishing face powder

“The thing that most people love about Instagram or Snapchat filters is that it applies an instant diffused lighting effect to photos,” notes Johny. So how can you take this filter off screen and into the real world? Johny recommends a soft, skin-finishing powder.

Applied using a kabuki brush or oversized powder brush to evenly disperse the product, Johny explains these powders create a “dimensional finish that is fresh and luminous”.

  1. Contouring

Before there were face-slimming filters, makeup artists relied on contouring techniques to add facial definition – particularly around the cheekbones, forehead and jaw line.

So, how do the pros do it?

“Lighter shades are placed in the areas you want highlighted and then darker shades are added to create depth and shadow,” explains Johny. “This combination allows you to mould the face shape.”

  1. Shimmer bronzer

“The most popular social media filters are generally warm-hued, and there’s a good reason: it makes you look better,” explains Johny.

His hot tip for bringing this filter finish into the real world? A shimmer bronzer.

“A swipe over the jaw, cheekbones, side of the forehead and nose will add an instant warm glow to the overall complexion.”

Written by Sharon Hunt.