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Our Stance On Retouching: We Don’t Do It

FACT: Pores, breakouts, texture, and hyperpigmentation are normal.

Another one:

FACT: Social media and the beauty industry can distort our perception of what “NORMAL” really looks like.

It’s why we are 100% committed to showcasing REAL skin in all of our photoshoots. That can mean blemishes, wrinkles, facial hair, pores, dark marks, breakouts, birthmarks, texture, and tone. Sure, our Creative team might tweak lighting, remove a product smudge, or get rid of that one weird hair that always sticks up no matter what you do, but Youth To The People is here to normalize ALL skin. Together, we can reimagine a beauty space that truly is inclusive and representative for all.

Seeing real skin reflected back at us in the images we see is important—and that goes for the models who are featured in these photos, too!

We spoke with Brinda Iyer, repped by our friends at WeSpeak Models, who co-starred in our Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial campaign (alongside some of our other faves) about the issue at hand: retouching (and our commitment not to)—here’s what they had to say.

Alyssa Shapiro: Brinda, I remember when the campaign came out, you had said it meant something to you that we didn't retouch the hair out of your photos. And I found that really powerful. Do you remember how it made you feel? 

Brinda Iyer: To be honest, I think my initial reaction was one of shock. Like, "Oh! How interesting that they just left my dark circles and facial hair completely unedited and visible." I wasn't used to seeing my face so high-res with all its imperfections. It made me a bit uncomfortable at first, but I came around to accepting it because that *is* my face—uneven skin tone, peach fuzz, and all. It also made me realize the importance of seeing one another in such a bare light because that's true transparency—we still don't see much of that within skincare marketing. I have started exploring my face under a new lens of appreciation. I look at my South Asian nose and hair with pride. 

AS: Had that not been your experience in the past with shoots? What did you wish was handled differently with those other shoots?

BI: YTTP was my first skincare shoot and I hadn't done any beauty campaigns yet either. I know there's been a push for brands to market in a more authentic way and I'm excited to bear witness to that change. 

AS: What do you want people to know about the importance of retaining original features in beauty/skincare photos/campaigns?

BI: Your original features are what make you you! The past year we've been seeing a lot of IG filters come about that let us "try on" common looks that are requested in the botox/plastic surgery world. I've been ruminating on how that's been affecting our psyches... People are absolutely free to do what they want to do to their bodies, but the increased social media marketing ploys prey on our very own insecurities and what we deem "imperfect". While there's an underground push to embrace authenticity there's also a saturated market for smaller noses, bigger lips, and fox eyes. Our features are not meant to be commodified and I find the western commodification of ethnic features quite disturbing. There's beauty within the diversity of skin tones, types, and facial features. We must continue to showcase the uniqueness that makes us human; physical flaws are a myth.