In the age of Facetune, Photoshop, and "Instagram bodies," it seems like way too many people are more interested in altering their features instead of accepting them. The practice of editing photos has become so commonplace that it's hard to tell exactly which photos have been touched and which ones have not. 

We know we're looking at hard work and excellent skills; it's just become impossible to tell if those skills are beauty- or technology-related. In the beauty community, the biggest debate is whether or not this editing practice is fair to followers who turn to influencers for makeup, fitness, and skin-care tips. 

More and more, beauty fans are holding the influencers they support accountable for creating illusions instead of showing true results. Most recently, YouTube influencer Tati Westbrook was recently called out for using a "pretty filter" on her makeup videos. Fans suspect that the backlash was so significant that she quietly stopped using the filter to avoid more negative commentary. In an interesting turn of events, another UK-based influencer has pulled back the curtains on her own former photo-editing practices to address the Instagram beauty standards.

UK-based beauty YouTuber Kadeeja Sel Khan shared this side-by-side photo of an unedited and edited photo of herself.

Sel Khan accompanied the contrasting photos with this message about how Instagram beauty standards used to affect her and how she overcame them. 

"Instagram Beauty Unfolds: I’ve seen soo many young Boys/Girls, Men & Woman stress over not looking 'good enough' for Instagram," she wrote. "Or even their makeup not looking 'Perfect' like you see here on Instagram. I was one of those people that would constantly stress 'What’s wrong with me? & Why don’t I look like that person?' I became OBSESSED with photoshop. Was soo obsessed with Photoshop to the point [where] I couldn’t even recognize myself in photos."


Sel Khan now promotes "skin positivity" and has specifically been open about insecurities she had due to her acne.

"It’s sad to think we can’t be ourselves due to the pressure of wanting to look like this unrealistic thing called 'Perfect,'' Sel Khan explained. "If you have Acne, SO WHAT? If you have Stretch Masks, Skin Scarring, [or] a Flabby stomach, WHO BLOODY CARES? What life are you living if [you're] not feeling your best? Not feeling comfortable enough to be yourself? You shouldn’t be living that way! I’m putting this post so you guys can see what’s really behind those amazing makeup accounts! To make you understand that IT'S OKAY TO BE YOU!" 

"Can't we change the way we see beauty?" she wrote in a separate post that highlights the difference between bare skin and made-up skin.

This half-done look was an effort to highlight that both sides can be beautiful. It's so refreshing to see influencers with platforms attempting to lead their followers to see beauty in a different light. Beauty and perfection are not synonymous, yet we have been fed that notion by the media for years. Having imperfections doesn't take away from beauty, and finally, we're seeing influencers and brands like Fenty celebrating them.

Instead of posting a ton of heavily edited pictures to sell a standard of perfection, Sel Khan posts skin-care content that shows people who deal with acne how she deals with her personal skin journey.

"ACNE PRONE SKIN FACE MASK. This mask is one of my favourites! It leaves my skin feeling super soft, brightened [and] Refreshed," she wrote about a DIY mask she uses. "It’s easy to make: Organic Clay Face Mask mixed with some Apple Cider Vinegar! My skin becomes a little red but that’s perfectly normal for someone with my skin condition. My skins super sensitive so pretty much anything gives it colour!"

Be clear. Sel Khan still wears makeup to cover up blemishes that she doesn't want to deal with on any given day.

The difference between her old approach to beauty content and her new approach is that she isn't hiding any part of the process from her fans. This video details which full coverage foundation she uses to hide blemishes in real life. A video like this sends the message to fans that, yes, she loves makeup and doesn't want blemishes to show sometimes — but she isn't acting like she has perfect skin every day. Fans get to go with her on her journey to clearer skin instead of being led to believe she already has it. 

Her followers seem overjoyed that Sel Khan is getting real about what "influencer beauty" really looks like.

"I recently started to get adult acne [and] although it’s starting to clear up (Alhamdulilah), I’ve always been confident in my (acne) skin. This is so inspirational. I hope others suffering from acne too take something from this post," one person wrote.

They're grateful for an influencer who doesn't mind speaking about self-love and acceptance *while* she talks about makeup and skin care.

"Thank you so much for the impact your making. I’m so happy that I came across your account. You’ve really helped me heal years of not accepting myself," one person wrote.

It's not that other YouTubers are doing it wrong; it just feels great to have a person who doesn't mind being entirely relatable. Let's hope we get to see less Facetuned selfies and more of our favorite beauty influencers sharing their skin-care journeys.