TikTok’s ‘no filter’ challenge proves we’re finally moving on from hating ourselves

It’s the anti-trend we’ve been waiting for

Not to sound like an OAP, but I remember turning 16 just as Snapchat filters started popping off. Suddenly, everyone started wearing virtual flower crowns, dog ears and spewing rainbows. The “no filter” era was firmly at an end; and it was easier than ever to slip into a self-hate mindset.

The most addictive – but (inevitably) toxic – thing about face filters was how much they glossed over our imperfections. I was finally able to look into my phone screen and see a small-nosed, clear-skinned, cheekboned version of myself staring back. I felt confident enough to share photos of myself across all social media platforms; something I’d been too anxious to do for a long time.

The trouble was, one slip of the filter (or candid photo with friends) and we were back to wanting emergency surgery on every last tiny flaw. Instagram filters caused utter chaos when added into the mix, with every other photo shot in Retro Milan or Golden Bloom.

@alexlight_ldn Wtf 🤣 #beautyfilter #photoshop #beautystandards ♬ Originalton – Ofxiziell_Angi🦋⃤

In the last week (4th April), TikTokers introduced the “No Filter” Challenge – defying expectations and asking creators to embrace their true selves. So, here’s everything you need to know about this revolutionary new trend:

What is the ‘No Filter’ Challenge?

Body and skin-positive activists have been trailblazing this trend for a while. It’s pretty simple; all you need to do is show your face with-and-without a filter. The dramatic switch-up often comes halfway through, or you can split your screen and show both sides at the same time. Totally up to you.

How do I take part in the ‘No Filter’ Challenge?

@its_sarahbear #SmellLikeIrishSpring #OscarsAtHome #UnsealTheMeal #WomenOwnedBusiness #InstaxChallenge #mytasteinmusicisyourface #thesongsontheradioareokay #fyp #trend #foryou #nofilter #nofilterchallenge #4u #4upage #healthytrend #foryourpage ♬ Tear in My Heart – twenty one pilots

There are a few ways you can take part in this challenge for yourself:

The clearest way to achieve the “filter vs. no filter” look is to go for the Half Screen Filter. On the left side, you’ll see a heavily-made up version of yourself with blurred, lighter skin; false lashes and pink lips. The non-problematic, normal side lies on the right.

Changing up a full-face filter halfway through a video is another great way to take part in the trend. By all accounts, it looks like you’ll need a good set of technical skills to actually do this – but apparently, you can change things up by hitting the “record” button and selecting “filters” at the same time.

Alternatively, you could just shoot and edit your video in Instagram Reels and post to TikTok instead.

Is it here to stay, or just another fad?

The trend has only *really* taken off in the last few days, so whether it’ll have any real impact remains to be seen. Creators have called it the “healthiest challenge to hit TikTok” and everyone seems to generally just be hyping each other up. Long may it continue, I say!

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