We’ve all reaped the benefits of Instagram filters at one point or another. And who can blame us? A quick tap of a button can instantly erase the pimple that sprouted up over night or soften hangover-induced under eye bags, and that’s a beautiful thing. But now, with the latest advancements in skin care and cosmetic treatments, you can get your complexion to look flawless without using your favorite filter.
Anthony Youn, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon and holistic beauty doctor, conducted a study that determined the most flattering Instagram filter — and then set out to determine how one can achieve similar results IRL. Dr. Youn’s study asked women from ages 38 to 58 which filter they considered the most flattering. The clear standout? Juno. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, given that Juno is a quick fix for underexposed images, meaning it intensifies colors to make images pop and brightens up warm hues specifically. Last year, Iconosquare even named it the third most popular Instagram filter.
As Dr. Youn explains, people are drawn to Juno for its ability to smooth imperfections and create contrast, without going overboard. “Juno makes everything look brighter, hence more flattering,” he tells Glam. “It appears to accentuate the light colors, making them more crisp, clean, and smoothing out imperfections. It also, however, accentuates the dark colors, therefore enhancing the contrasts in the photo.”
But unlike other filters, it doesn’t completely change your appearance. “Overall, I believe Juno is the Instagram ideal because it makes the face look brighter and crisper without drastically altering the image,” Dr. Youn adds.
Reyes also ranked as a top flattering Instagram filter, mostly for its anti-aging effects. “Everything is much more uniform in color and smoother-looking, without the darker, more dramatic tones of Juno,” Dr Youn says. “It erases wrinkles, reduces dark circles, and gives an even sheen to the face.” This filter works well with portraits, thanks to its skin-smoothing effect.
Dr. Youn’s findings are telling for a number of reasons, but mostly because studies are showing that filters on social media are actually encouraging women to undergo plastic surgery, particularly millennials. Many doctors even say that patients show them filtered photos during their consultations to explain what it is they’re looking for. But there are plenty of ways to achieve brighter, Instagram-worthy skin without going under the knife. According to Dr. Youn, improving skin’s radiance is key.
“A combination of moderate depth chemical peels, brightening creams, and even a little Botox may accomplish this,” says Dr. Youn. He suggests starting with a good antioxidant serum in the morning and using an anti-aging active like retinol at night. His formula, Youn Beauty Retinol Moisturizer ($80), is made natural ingredients and gentle enough to use every night. If you find your skin is sensitive to retinol, look for a product with bakuchiol, a less-irritating alternative. “In regards to antioxidants, I recommend a combination vitamin C and vitamin E, such as Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166),” Dr. Youn says.
Noninvasive treatments can also make a significant improvement in skin’s radiance. Dr. Youn recommends the Filltox Facial, which combines microneedling with Botox or Juvederm to smooth the skin so it better reflects light while adding youthful volume and contour to the face. Dermaplaning is also a good option, says Dr. Youn: “It’s a great, non-invasive way to remove dulling dead skin and peach fuzz.” Dermaplaning can be done at home, too, using a device like the Sonicsmooth ($99).
So whether you choose to step up your skin care routine or opt for an in-office treatment, you can make your skin as bright as the most flattering Instagram filter. But on days when you can’t be bothered, you can always add Juno over your selfies. No shame.
We often receive complimentary products for review at Glam. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a share of the revenue from our affiliate partners.