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Is Social Media Toxic?

Look at these two images, noticed anything different with the raw file vs the edit file? This isn’t a trick question because there’s not much difference with them. The edit one just has more exposure and a bit more vibrancy. I posted this photo on my Instagram few weeks ago and it received so much love and positive feed back on how natural my make up is and how glowy my skin looked. To be honest, that was not what was on my mind when I posted this photo for a campaign. Really want to know what I really felt that day before this photo was taken? Keep reading.

I really didn’t think it was anything because to be honest, that day I didn’t have a good photo day, I didn’t feel pretty at all, I barely put on any makeup and my hair was not washed. The photos before this was just not flattering in my eyes so we decided to just stop taking photos and walk the frustration off. After we got some free ice cream, this photo was taken because we found a cute patio area and I felt inspired. It goes to show that LESS IS MORE when it comes to makeup and it is really all about how you feel on the inside. When you have that confident on the inside, you will glow on the outside. Always remember to be kind to yourself and there will be days you feel down and that’s normal! So I want to share with you all how I got to this very natural look! Not everyday my skin looks this great. I’ve struggled for many years with acne throughout college with stress and fluctuations of hormone. I used to drink a lot of alcohol because I didn’t know any better and eating habits in college wasn’t the best when you’re a broke college student. I was young and let’s be honest, we all didn’t know any better on how to take care of ourselves. Honestly, I used to think something was wrong with me because my skin was not healthy looking. But really it was because I didn’t know how to take care of my body on the inside. I now focus on taking care of my skin starting with what I put in my body. I eat healthier, I’ve stopped drinking so much alcohol (only special occasions will I have one or two drinks), everything in moderation is the way to go. I have long skincare routines every night, I make sure I get enough sleep and exercise. I eat lots of fruits and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. It is an ongoing journey for me but I love and enjoy every second of it. Sometimes, I do get impatient because there are days I just don’t see results and that’s the problem. We don’t really noticed until we actually look at the situation closely and compare before and after.

Just like you all, I too struggle with social media telling me I am not pretty enough, I’m not tall enough, I don’t have enough curves, I don’t wake up looking like a million bucks etc. As we all know social media can be very toxic, deceiving with filters and photoshop. I know many people uses editing apps to make themselves look a certain way and while it looks amazing online because we live in a social media world. No one really needs to know the real us, all that matters is how we portrait ourselves on social media. Well I am here to say this is complete BS in my eyes. I refuse to let myself fall into this trap. Nothing about it makes me feel good comparing myself with others who probably are struggling with the same issues both physically and mentally. I crave real connections, I crave having quality conversations and I crave good genuine personalities in the people I meet. Noticed, looks was never mentioned. I could care less if you look like Beyonce because if you are not pretty on the inside, it shows. If you are fake, it shows. But hey you do you boo boo. We all have different stories and we all have different views. As I get older, I realized that not everyone is and will be your friend and that is ABSOLUTELY okay! I’ve been away from social media a lot more because I don’t find it appealing at times. I have been using it to keep in contacts with real friends, engage with people who I actually want to engaged with so I can somehow tell Instagram that these are the friends I actually want to see on my feed when I am scrolling. I also love to use Instagram to look at memes and cats. But most importantly my life is not photoshopped and surrounded by filters. Is yours?

People always asks me what I use to edit my photos. I can tell you what I don’t use – Photoshop. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a great skill to have but for me I never wanted to look any different than my photos I put up online. I use editing apps on my phone to change exposures and vibrancy. I don’t really don’t do much to my photos because I am too lazy to spend time editing people from the background out, I am too lazy to make changes to my whole body and face. What will that do for me? All it does is to show people I am flawless. Well…hate to break it to ya, no one is flawless and I’m pretty sure 99% of me are flaws LOL depending on how you look at it. Ask Tom, he has to live with me 😀

In this photo, I’ll let you on a secret on how my makeup looks so natural and glowy! Make sure your skin is moisturized everyday! I focused on my eyebrows (been growing them out from years of over plucking and a scar from running into a wall), no eyeshadow, just my usual cat eyes and mascara! I only put a light foundation on my T zone area (I learned that you don’t need foundation on your whole face) and added a bit on bronzer/highlighter in certain areas of my face. Lastly, a light layer of pinkish/nude lipstick using my fingers. With the leftover, I dapped on my cheeks to give them some color. Finished the look with a bit of gloss and makeup spray. TA-DA! As natural as it gets with some help that only took me 10-15 mins. The less photoshop and editing your photos, the better.

From years of taking photos with different photographers, I’ve noticed that I always get asked “What do you want me to filter out?” or “how do you like your photos to be edited?” People tend to be surprise with my answer. I always say nothing, just give me the raw files. I only need lighting to be fixed. Most recent photographer I worked with was this amazing one in Vietnam doing our engagement/wedding photos. He asked if I wanted to make my skin lighter, teeth whiter, be skinner etc. I laughed and said “NO!” I want to be as natural as possible, maybe edit my photos so that I don’t look like I am sweating puddle in every single one of them because Vietnam’s weather was HUMID! He laughed and said “I always have to ask because most women here wants everything to be edited because they want to look a certain way.” But why? I will never fully understand. Part of it is because I know most of us struggle with self love and I am too a victim of that. Here’s a good example that happened recently, my coworkers and I were taking professional headshots and we all weren’t looking forward to it because our number one concern was that WE DON’T LOOK GOOD. You know what was funny? We haven’t even taken the photos yet and all of these doubts and self hate were pouring out of us like a bucket of water (bad analogy) but you get the point. I couldn’t help but laughed because I realized we were all so hard on ourselves, each and everyone of us including me had insecurities and wished we all had something that others had. But where was all of this insecurities coming from? The media! We all watch TV, read the news, celebrity gossips, the list goes on. All of this media tells us what is considered beautiful. There are articles out there that asks “What makes a pretty face?” and apparently science knows what makes a face pretty. Do you believe in that? I don’t. But that’s another topic for another day.

There are days I feel so bloated and ugly. There are days I feel unstoppable but the key is to not allow yourself to go down that rabbit hole of comparing yourself and your life with others highlights. On the days I don’t feel good about myself, I stay away from social media, I do things that makes me feel good like pet my cat, spend time with the ones I love, go to the gym, etc. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. When you are happy, you glow differently and to me that is beauty. Happy people.

Thanks for reading my rant/inspiring post. See you again next time.

Linh

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