"It's 2021, are we really still doing airbrushed skin?"

Can we make normal skin... normal again? By normal skin, I’m talking pores, texture, pimples and dark spots. Like, literally nobody has perfect skin, and that’s the reality. But Instagram has warped reality so badly that in 2021, we’re still allowing ourselves to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. 

Watch: London makeup blogger Em Ford shares comments on her makeup-free photos. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

In my teenage years, when I didn’t know any better, you’d catch me Googling “how to get rid of pores” and endlessly scrolling through Yahoo Answers and reading WikiHow articles. I tried all the tricks in the book.

I scrubbed my face raw with the god-forsaken St. Ives Apricot Scrub and spent all my minimum wage Maccas money on pore strips and clay masks. Nothing made my pores shrink, but I was obsessed! 


Because all the Youtube beauty influencers I watched had poreless skin, flawless skin. I look back now and think, “girl, did you really think they had no pores?”.


While gone are the days of ruining our skin for the sake of perfectionism, today, we’re in an era of omnipresent Instagram filters and Instagram Face. 

Listen: The uncomfortable art of Fakebooking. Post continues after audio.

Instagram Face is a term coined by New Yorker writer, Jia Tolentino. 

She describes it as a “single, cyborgian face" - a young face with poreless skin, plump, high cheekbones, a small neat nose and full, lush lips. Basically, what everyone would look like if they were a "direct descendant of Kim Kardashian West, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Kendall Jenner."

As I scroll through my feed, one of the side effects of Instagram Face I’ve noticed is that people seem to forget what real people look like; what skin that isn't filter-clad looks like.


I've even felt unworthy after using a filter and then seeing my face in real life, and having a "wtf am I ugly?” moment.

One of my favourite beauty influencers, Jackie Aina, posted a video of her skincare routine and followers were praising her for having the courage to show her dark spots and imperfect skin. Mind you, Jackie Aina’s skin is healthy and what I would call 'skin goals'. 

She later posted on her Instagram story that the comments made her feel self-conscious because she didn’t think her dark spots were an issue in the first place, but people assumed that it was an issue. 

Essentially, people categorised her as 'imperfect' because her skin didn't look like the filtered skin people are used to seeing all over social media. 

In 2021, I think it's time we reject perfectionism and uniform features. We need to normalise normal.

We can’t be the generation that spearheads social justice movements and advocates for climate change yet conforms to unrealistic beauty standards that don’t showcase our real, natural, individual, beautiful selves.


I’m not sure how we’ll overcome this phenomenon, but one way you can start is by diversifying your feed. Instagram is a visual platform and the more of the same faces you see, the more you subconsciously feed into those ideals and lose touch with reality. 

To get you started, here are some of my favourite beauty gals that remind me to embrace skin, embrace my texture, embrace my pimples, embrace my pores, embrace my individuality, embrace my features and embrace my normal.


Want more real skinspiration? Check out these 24 skinfluencers to fill your Instagram feed with 'real' skin.

Feature image: Supplied

What do you think about filters? Is airbrushed skin over? Share with us in the comment section below.