IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

‘Bold glamour’ TikTok filter can create unrealistic beauty standards and harm mental health, experts say

The filter has been used millions of times, leading experts to warn of the mental health effects of repeatedly seeing retouched and edited photos of yourself and others.
/ Source: TODAY

A new TikTok filter is going viral and leaving users divided over how it makes them look on screen compared to what they see in real life.

The "Bold Glamour" filter is causing a stir online after being used in millions of videos in recent days. It retouches the user's face, giving them fuller lips, more contoured cheekbones, smoother skin and heavy eye makeup.

"This filter should be illegal," TikToker Kelly Strack said in a video using the "Bold Glamour" filter, before showing herself without the filter. "Here's the real me!"

TikToks tagged with #boldglamour have more than 207 million views, leading some users to wonder whether the filter is contributing to unrealistic beauty standards for women and if it could harm TikTok users' self-image and mental health.

TikToker Hira Mustafa told NBC News the "Bold Glamour" filter seems different from other filters because it creates "a completely different face."

"The lips were larger, eyes were larger, skin tone was lighter," Mustafa said. "I've seen more people in my age group than ever pursue cosmetic surgery to make their faces look like these filters, and I worry about how this impacts young girls' confidence."

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 57%, or about three in five teen girls in the U.S., felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021 — more than double that of boys and a nearly 60% increase since 2011.

Dr. Anish Dube, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Children, Adolescents and Their Families, previously told said these are trends providers have been noticing clinically before the pandemic, but COVID-19 "blew the lid off."

Dube said teenagers learning to go to school and socialize virtually, and then going back to in-person has been a major factor for mental health. "That socialization that was missing, and now how do you resocialize in a world that’s rapidly changing?" Dube added.

Experts say social media, particularly the amount of retouched and edited photos, play a big role in how teens socialize and see themselves.

"We're going to see psychological consequences," said Dr. Renee Engeln, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, told NBC News.

"It's one thing to compare yourself to some famous, beautiful person — it's another thing to compare yourself to an extra beautiful version of yourself that doesn't exist in the world anywhere," Engeln added.

Actor Katherine Heigl posted a TikTok using the "Bold Glamour" filter while making disgusted faces, adding the caption, "Ummm….I hate this b----. #boldglamourfilter is not for me."

Nila Bryant, who tested the "Bold Glamour" filter with help from NBC's Valerie Castro, agreed.

"You have to live up to this expectation, this look that's not realistic, and it creates a world in your mind that doesn't exist," Bryant told NBC News. "It's destructive to the identity."

TikTok user Lindsay Borow, who tried the filter, said she "never felt uglier" after she removed the filter’s effect from her face.

Borow also attempted to create a makeup look similar to the filter, but said in a TikTok she could not fully re-create the filter’s effect because it changes bone structure.

“I realized that whatever I did to my makeup to try and look like that, once I had the makeup on and put the filter back on, it still elevated whatever I currently had on,” Borow told NBC News. “So it’s like you’re never going to reach that goal.”

Mikayla Nogueira, a TikToker and makeup artist, posted a TikTok re-creating the "Bold Glamour" look in real life with makeup.

"I actually like myself better without it," she said in the video.

Australian actor Luke Cook also weighed in on the filter, posting a reminder to "everybody out there" on TikTok.

"Despite the way social media makes you feel, comparing yourself to others, comparing yourself to filters, you are beautiful just the way you are," he said before his TikTok cut to his face with the "Bold Glamour" filter on, leading him to gasp.

TikTok has not responded to NBC's request for comment on the new filter.