The Best Instagram Filter Can Only Be Accessed In Stories

At the risk of angering Jameela Jamil, I enjoy a good filter. Most Instagram filters, however, are crap, and either wash you out completely or make you look extremely, well, filtered. A good filter subtly smooths out an image, and maybe brightens it slightly. Like a good concealer, it doesn’t do much; it does just enough.

I’m not here to debate whether the use of filters is feminist, and I’m definitely not here to talk to men about how they prefer the “natural” look. (Everyone has the right to control how their image is presented to the world.) I’m just here to tell you where you can find the best filter, which is not the “regular” part of Instagram. (Warning: If you hate photos of my face, get out now, for there are about to be four of them.)

This is my face on Paris (on the right).
Photo: Claire Lower

I’m talking about Paris, a filter you can only access in the stories portion of the Instagram app. As you can see from the above side-by-side, Paris smooths and brightens without any of the harsher effects you see with so many other filters (looking at you, Toaster). There is no odd highlighting, no aggressive washout due to overexposure, no color fuckery. It simply blurs out the lines and bumps your boyfriend claims he “can’t even see,” but leaves the smile lines, beauty marks, and more prominent pimples. When presented with the before and after, you can obviously tell which photo has had Paris applied, but in the wilds of social media, next to the photos that have been treated with Clarendon and Gingham, Paris is barely detectable. It’s like digital makeup (the natural no-makeup makeup kind).

As you can see, my face is still quite ruddy with Paris
Photo: Claire Lower

To access Paris, open (or take) your photo in the stories portion of the Instagram app, then swipe left to apply the Paris filter. Save it by pressing the download icon (it looks like an arrow pointing down into a line) and crop and repost to your “regular” Instagram feed, Twitter, or whatever other platforms you like to share pictures on. Or just stare at it lovingly. It’s your image to do with as you wish.

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