Looking at the front camera of my phone, I get ready to send Snap streaks to my friends. However, seeing the blemishes spotting my cheeks and forehead like constellations, I tap through filters to blur them out. Flower crown filter–perfect. Pose, snap, send.

When I first made a Snapchat account in my freshman year, I didn’t know what to do with it. I only had five people on my contact list and my life felt too boring to show off on my Snap story. While testing out the app one day, I found a variety of filters to amp up my selfies.

Rainbow barf and dog ears–this is why I kept the app. I started to feel more confident in posting selfies, as long as I had a filter covering up the ugliness. While I felt prettier behind the skin blurring and glazed eye effects, I still didn’t like the way I looked when I stood in front of a mirror.

A brief guide to taking no-filter selfies

After reading an article about “Snapchat dysmorphia,” I realized that the way I saw myself needed to change. I deleted Snapchat over summer, forcing myself to get comfortable with regular non-filtered photos. I started investing more time in taking care of my skin, wore makeup to conceal my acne scars and learned to appreciate my big smile more. In short, I took better care of my physical appearance.

Here I am now, less insecure about my face than ever. Filters are fun to play with, but everyone can live without them, even me. I don’t need a filter that gives me a smaller face and bigger eyes to look pretty. All I need is a nice smile and some confidence–that’s it.

Do you prefer filtered or natural photos?