Is a slimmer selfie worth 99 of your cents? For those willing to part with almost a dollar to see a thinner version of their face smiling back at them, there’s SkinneePix. The app uses facial recognition technology to allow users to shave five, 10, or 15 pounds from their photos.
Sue Green and Robin Phillips made SkinneePix — which has been downloaded roughly 65,000 times — for selfies and close-up portraits only. Green says that’s intentional. “We didn’t want anything to do with dealing with the body, we just deal with the face,” she said.
Green and Phillips — both former journalists now living in Phoenix — worked with developers at Dezapp to design an app that would account for lighting, depth of field, and angle issues that make the camera pack on a few pounds. The slider only goes up to 15 pounds because that’s what the camera naturally adds, Green said. Users can also choose zero, for a selfie they like as is.
Its creators say SkinneePix encourages users to be happy with, keep, and share selfies rather than ditching, dissing or deleting them. They have also promoted their product as a motivator — to get healthy and shed a few pounds.
Green’s 15-pound photo adjustment inspired her to be more active by providing an attainable target.
“‘If 15 pounds is going to make such a difference,’ I thought, ‘I can do that,’” she said.
While the app’s initial goal was simply to take off what the camera puts on, Green said its function as a motivator is a happy byproduct.
“We were trying to correct a camera issue and it turned into something that also became about being healthier,” she said. “For me turned out to be the most important goal.”
Not everyone has viewed SkinneePix as a positive influence. When it was released this past spring, SkinneePix stirred up web controversy and drew an onslaught of criticism — from The Guardian, Cosmopolitan Australia, Bustle and The Daily Beast, among others — f or playing into negative attitudes and feeding on societal vulnerabilities surrounding body image.
But the women behind SkinneePix stand by their product’s intended function as well as the offshoot.
Green has already lost the first 15 pounds she was hoping to shed, and plans to keep using her slimmer selfies to help her get the rest of the way.