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Initial releaseMarch 6, 2013
Stable release
2.1.3 / February 19, 2014
Operating systemiOS 6.0 or later
Size42.3 MB

Facetune is a photo editing application used to edit, enhance, and retouch photos on a user’s iPhone, iPad or Android device.[1][2] The app is often used for (yet not limited to) portrait and selfie editing.[3] Features allow users to whiten teeth, remove blemishes, smooth skin, reshape, defocus and blur. Facetune users can also choose from a variety of filters, lighting, textures, contrast, and frame options.[4][5][6] Facetune 2, the next generation of Facetune, launched in November 2016 as a free download. It allows users to refine their selfies with more features. Editing tools include realistic facial editing (changing facial expressions, for instance) and the ability to re-light a subject after the photo has been taken.[7][8][9] Facetune users share the pictures created by utilizing this app on a variety of social networking services.[10][11]

Editing features[edit]

Tools for Facetune 2 users fall into the following categories, with most tools offering sliders for modification of the intensity of the portrait editing feature:

  • Retouching: Tools include Smooth, Heal and Patch for a fresher complexion and the opportunity to swipe over blemishes and wrinkles, whiten teeth, add a pleasing glow, and refine facial features in terms of both size and proportion. Several tools focus on the eyes - with detail, colour and reflections modification options
  • Artistic: Tools include adjusting, blending and replacing photo backgrounds behind the subject, and adding from a menu of dramatic to subtle mood filters. These take in Kawaii, Hero, Grace B&W filters and island life-tinged and colour-saturated Lani. Special effects include the chromatic Prism and other effects via the LightFX tool, Glitter, and Paint to add makeup
  • Photography: A darkroom feature includes classic photography adjustment tools like Structure and Saturation. Users can also remove shadows or glare and Relight to mimic pro-style studio lighting

Additional editing features include the ability to live preview adjustable effects before the picture is taken. This enables users to experiment with photo modifications like the shape and size of their eyes or the shade of their teeth in a real-time preview.[12]


Facetune was created by Lightricks, an Israel-based startup company established by five entrepreneurs.[13] Lightricks designs and develops photo and video editing applications for mobile phones,[14] The company is based in the Hebrew University Tech Village in Jerusalem, with offices in New York.

Lightricks is the developer of LTEngine, an image processing engine designed for mobile platforms, which was used in Facetune.[15]


Before the launch of Facetune 2, Lightricks focused on selling paid units of Facetune. Annual revenue of Lightricks was $10 million before it shifted to subscription based model in 2016. Its original app cost $3.99 per download.[16]

Facetune enables users to remove blemishes, improve complexions and perform other manipulations on their photos which could previously only be performed by Photoshop on a desktop computer.[17]

The Facetune app is currently being used as a Facebook case study on user acquisition.[18] It was also named Apple’s #4 best-selling paid app in 2016 for Facetune[19] Facetune 2 is a free download offering in-app purchases for individual features; and it offers a subscription option that provides unlimited access to all features and content.


Facetune was first released in March 2013. Within a year it ranked #1 in the photo & video category in 120 countries and reached the #1 paid app in over 120 countries (as of November 2017).[20] It was also named one of App Store’s Best of 2013.[21] The Facetune App was recognized by publications such as the New York Times,[4] USA Today,[22] the NY Daily News,[23] The Huffington Post[24] and Mashable.[25] Celebrities like Khloé Kardashian have discussed their enthusiasm for using Facetune to fine-tune their selfies.[26]


Selfie-enhancing and other photo editing apps have been criticized for encouraging users to ‘catfish’ or pretend to be someone else on the internet, especially on social networking. This motivation to seek ‘perfection’ is also seen as undermining self and body confidence - particularly in younger users.[27] The counter view is that selfie-enhancing apps help users optimize mobile portraits, not strive for inauthentic ‘plastic perfection’. Bloggers such as James Charles generally endorse this view, steering users away from over smoothing the face, for instance, to encourage a natural look.[28][29] The increased use of body and facial reshaping applications such as Snapchat and Facetune has been identified as a potential cause of body dysmorphia. Recently, a phenomenon referred to as 'Snapchat dysmorphia' has been used to describe people who request surgery to look like the edited version of themselves as they appear through Snapchat Filters.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yamshon, Leah. "Expo Notes: Spruce up your selfies with Facetune". Macworld. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  2. ^ Press Release, Nokia. "roid developers; expands global developer footprint with momentum across Lumia and Asha". Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  3. ^ London, Bianca. "Want to know how to look better in pictures? Cheat! The 'Face Tune' app that whitens teeth, removes spots, and even fills in bald patches". Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b Furghott, Roy. "An App to Create your Movie-Star Photo". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  5. ^ McAllister, Shep. "Facetune Touches Up Portraits with Powerful Tools and Filters". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  6. ^ Maxcer, Chris. "Hey Buddy, Fix Your Face - Oh Wait, I Can Do It for You With Facetune". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  7. ^ Kamps, Haje Jan. "Facetune 2 puts a powerful photo editor in your pocket". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  8. ^ CNET. "Facetune review: Complicated tools, but makes portraits better". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Best Beauty Apps KiraKira+ Facetune BeGlammed". Us Weekly. 2017-10-28. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  10. ^ "How to edit photos for Instagram using the Facetune and VSCO apps". New Kid on The Blog. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  11. ^ "Facetune". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  12. ^ Times, Tech (2017-03-14). "Facetune 2 vs. Facetune: The Main Differences And Which Is Better To Download". Tech Times. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  13. ^ "Lightricks Releases Facetune for iPad: Chosen #1 Best New App by Apple". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  14. ^ "How the makers of Facetune raked in ~ $18 million in 2 years and caught Facebook's eye". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  15. ^ Shu, Catherine. "Lightricks, The Creator Of Facetune, Lands $10M To Develop New Photo-Editing Apps". TechCrunch. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  16. ^ Facetune maker’s newest app, Enlight Photofox, is a powerful image editor
  17. ^ Jerusalem of tech: How the capital has given Tel Aviv a run for its start-up money, Jerusalem Post
  18. ^ Israel's hot startup scene is fostering several unicorns
  19. ^ "These Are the Most Popular iPhone Apps of 2016". Time. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  20. ^ "Press Release - Google Drive". drive.google.com. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  21. ^ Viticci, Frederico. "Apple Posts "Best of 2013" iTunes Lists". MacStories. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  22. ^ Graham, Jefferson. "Facetune app solves need for facial retouching". USA Today. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  23. ^ Taylor, Victoria. "Facetune app makes retouching photos a snap". Daily News. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  24. ^ Fuld, Hillel. "Facetune Is an iOS Photo-Editing App That Can Truly Be Called Magical". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  25. ^ Fitzgerald, Sean. "iPhone Users Can Expertly Retouch Portraits With Facetune". Mashable. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  26. ^ "Khloé Kardashian on Editing Her Instagram Photos: Facetune Is the Only Way to Live". PEOPLE.com. 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  27. ^ Team, Family Zone. "Cyber Insecurity: The harmful impact of 'vanity apps' on child self esteem". Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  28. ^ James Charles (2017-03-21), HOW TO TAKE YOUR SELFIES FROM DRAB TO FAB! FACETUNE TUTORIAL, retrieved 2017-11-08
  29. ^ Digital Mom Blog (2016-02-21), APP REVIEW | Facetune App - How To Airbrush Photos & Create Flawless Pictures, retrieved 2017-11-08
  30. ^ MEDICAL CENTER, BOSTON. "A new reality for beauty standards: How selfies and filters affect body image". eurekalert. the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Retrieved 4 February 2019.

External links[edit]