This Is Why You Look Great In The Mirror But Rubbish In A Selfie

We'll bet you look hot either way, but there's an actual science to why you love your look IRL and hate it in a photo.

Kim Kardashian Selfie

You’ve spent an age applying your make-up, your base is perfect, your eyebrows are on fleek, and a quick mirror check confirms that you’re looking pretty darn fine.

But then you make the crucial error of pulling out your phone for selfie. What you thought was perfect is actually a hot mess. How could you have been so wrong? Those cheekbones you spent so long contouring don’t look as prominent as you thought they did, your lip liner is totally crooked, and you’re pretty sure one of your eyes is bigger than the other.

Sigh. How can you look so good in the mirror and then seconds later look so, er, troll-like when you pull up front camera?

What gives?

According to Nick Stockton of Wired, the real reason has to do with mirrors.

Here’s the deal. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we might feel like we’re looking at ourselves, but we’re actually seeing a mirror image of ourselves – which, in reality, is an inverse image. Stockton explains the concept as “mere-exposure,” which was developed by Robert Zajonc in the late 1960s. “Mere-exposure” says we “react more favorably” to things we’re used to, including our own faces.

So after years of looking at our mugs in the mirror, we’ve become familiar with and accustomed to the face looking back at us – our mirror image. What’s so problematic about this, however, is that pictures are not mirror images. They show us how we really look. Basically, we’ve gotten used to the fact that our smile sort of raises a bit on the left side and our right eye droops a little bit more than our left. So when we see a snap of ourselves with flipped features, they look downright alien.

And that’s not all, have you ever wondered why you find your Snapchat selfies more tolerable than the ones taken on your phone’s regular camera? Well, aside from the fact that it’s almost impossible to not look attractive under that third filter, the Snapchat lens does not flip the image to its inverse. When you use Snapchat’s front camera to send your pal a selfie, it’s going to send your mirror image, the one that you’re used to seeing in the mirror and sometimes even like.

That being said, instead of trying hard to look good, we recommend turning the next few selfies into a joke. Go ahead and have a laugh with it, and who knows those p*ss-take photos might turn out the way Cara Delevingne’s ‘ugly selfies’ do, i.e. actually adorable. Here’s hoping right?

By Jennifer Conway.