Do TikTok's Contour Filters Really Guide Your Makeup In The Right Direction? What You Should Know

Beauty-based technology, aka beauty tech, is a rapidly growing field that is now merging with artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) models to produce innovative creations like contour, eyebrow, and other makeup filters on social media platforms, all of which are promoted as ways to help you figure out the best angles for applying your cosmetics. Pioneered by Grace Choi, who creates AR-infused makeup filters for TikTok, the contour and eyebrow filters are said to help users know exactly where they should be applying products on their unique faces. While all of this sounds like makeup magic, some users are skeptical about whether the contour filters actually show tailored angles for applying blush, highlighter, and contour makeup.

The answer to how accurate makeup filters on TikTok are is a bit nuanced, but for the most part, the filters are excellent ways to learn where you should be applying specific makeup products and how to best enhance your facial features depending on your face shape and other specialized elements provided by the filters. Like most virtual technology, there is a degree of individualized advice that can't be provided since you aren't speaking with another human being in a face-to-face manner. The good news, though, is that beauty tech is constantly evolving, and with this groundbreaking AR technology, the precision of TikTok makeup filters is pretty spot on. Here's what to know for getting the most accurate guidance from TikTok filters for applying makeup.

Choices connect users with the chance for precise advice

TikTok makeup filters are accurate on most occasions, which is made possible by the multitude of choices users select within the filters. For instance, TikTok user @atarahmayhew gives a tutorial on how to use one of Grace Choi's iconic filters. Throughout the video, Mayhew goes through several queues of selection for choosing her face shape and other facial features, using the filter's cues to find the shape that most closely matches her face. After selecting the face shape — which for Mayhew is oval — the filter then shows numerous colored lines and icons that serve as guides for applying contour, highlighter, blush, and additional makeup products along the angles that best flatter an oval face shape.

As a tool for makeup education, the filters are great ways to develop your application skills as you follow the lines mapped over your face. When users look straight ahead into the camera of their device, the filters are quite accurate in showing exact angles for the application of various cosmetic products. The beauty tech spearheaded by Choi has been applauded for its ability to help users learn how to apply specific makeup items, including the respective areas to brush contour along cheekbones and jawlines, with one important caveat: Users still need to select the correct options.

Contour and makeup filters rely on user selection

The nuance in the accuracy of filters rests within the user's selections of their facial features. Given that the filters rely on users correctly matching their faces to one of the options presented within the filters, it's possible that a user may inadvertently choose a face shape or angle that is not correctly matched to their face shape. This would then prompt the filter to produce an array of options for the mismatched facial shape rather than the user's actual face shape. Similarly, since each person's face is uniquely shaped, it's unrealistic to presume that every oval-shaped face has the exact same angles of facial features — meaning that even with the correct selection of face shape, the filter's results may not be perfectly matched to the user's actual facial features.

NPR reports that there are concerns about the use of AI and AR in beauty tech, especially when it comes to social media and the potential of users developing unrealistic or unhealthy standards of appearance. Since social media is known to produce false narratives and artificial alterations of content consumed by users, the best way to successfully utilize contour filters and other makeup options on the internet is to view them as educational tools for enhancing your makeup application — not as determinants of beauty ideals. When using makeup filters, always check in with yourself to ensure that you're prioritizing your mental wellness and self-love of your body.