Decoding the Instagram Beauty Standard | Day 32 of 90

Beauty standards, like fashion, change over time. In the days before we had social media, beauty habits were dictated by where you lived and your ethnicity. You were pretty much isolated. Your only influence could have been your mom, the town’s local hot girl, or her royal highness, the Queen.

But in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, magazines became a thing and women were exposed to a new form of being influenced. However, it wasn’t until the 40s and 50s that Hollywood stars began appearing in magazines and on TV. And it was in that moment that celebrities in traditional media began to dictate the ideal beauty standard.

Fast forward to 2019 and these days social media IS the media. And platforms like Instagram can tell us exactly who is the most followed and therefore the most influential at this very second. Naturally, these influencers have now become the new beauty standard. But what exactly is the new beauty standard? Like when people in the future look back at 2019, what will they say was the ideal body type?

Well, I decided to find out for myself! And I wanted to make it as scientific as one possibly can when looking at beauty standards. First, I made a list of the Top 100 female Instagram stars purely based on following. FYI the #1 spot currently goes to Ariana Grande at 164M followers, next is Selena Gomez at 156M followers and Kim Kardashian at 148M followers.

Then I came up with 22 attributes that each woman would be judged on. These included things like:

  • Hair color
  • Hair length
  • Neck length
  • Face shape
  • Body shape
  • Eye color
  • Clothing size
  • Flatness of stomach
  • Lip size
  • Eye size
  • Nose size
  • Skin color
  • Chest size
  • Prominence of butt
  • Age
  • Height…etc

I worked with a fellow researcher to get as accurate an answer as possible per attribute. Things like height were straightforward and easy to find online. (Thanks Google!) But other things like chest size and prominence of butt were more subjective, so we had to do our best by analyzing the influencer’s latest pictures on Instagram.

After a couple weeks of gathering data and categorizing data, I can tell you that there is most definitely a formula and a specific beauty standard that the 100 most followed women on Instagram adhere to. It’s fascinating but also, incredibly eerie in a time when you would think social media has evened the playing field for women of all body types, sizes, ethnicities and skin color.

So, are you ready to hear the results? Here’s the beauty breakdown of your top 100 most followed females on Instagram!

The most common age is 22 years old.

The most common height is 5’7”.

She has dark eyes. 75% of the Top 100 female Instagrammers have brown or black eyes.

She has big eyes. Only 15% of the Top 100 female Instagrammers have small eyes.

She has dark hair. 78% of the Top 100 female Instagrammers have black or brown hair. Only 20% are blonde and 2% are redheads.

Her hair length reaches mid back. Mid back is the most popular cut, coming in at 48% while the 2nd most popular hairstyle is shoulder length coming in at 30%.

She has a flat stomach, but she is not muscular. Only 9% of the top 100 female Instagrammers have abs with definition. 79% have plain flat abs with no definition. Only 11% have soft bellies or rounded bellies.

She does not have thin lips. Only 29% of the top 100 have thin lips. But in the top 10, thin lips drops to only 10%.

She is a light skinned Caucasian. Only 8% of the top 100 female Instagrammers are black.

She does not have a flat chest. 89% of the top 100 have a have boobs that are a B cup or higher.

She has a heart shaped face with a pointy chin. Heart shaped is the most popular, then oval, then square, then round.

She has a small nose. 93% of the top 100 have small noses.

She has an hourglass figure. The most popular body shape is hourglass followed by thin and straight aka rectangle.

She has a long neck. More than 72% have long, slender necks.

I think you can begin to see the ideal Instagram beauty standard in your head, right? But in case you’re having trouble visualizing, no worries, I’ve already done the work for you!
To take this whole project a step further, I decided it would be interesting to turn myself into a Top 100 female Instagrammer. But I needed a little help.

I picked a makeup tutorial on YouTube that had the craziest before and after thumbnail and pretty much just went for it. I used this video called “How to be a catfish in 2019…GLAM AF MAKEUP TUTORIAL” by Hannah Renée. This was the first time in my life that I have ever followed a makeup tutorial from start to finish, so I was kinda excited and kinda terrified.

For clothes, I went shopping at juniors fast fashion stores like Forever 21 and Love Culture and picked the most outrageous influencer-y looking things I could find – like lots of gold jewelry and these ridiculous (but I have to admit, kinda awesome) rhinestone sneakers!

After I put on my clothes and stuffed my Victoria’s Secret industrial strength pushup bra with chicken cutlets, I asked my Instagram husband (Sam) if he could shoot some photos of me looking like a typical influencer. This was actually really funny to do!! Then after 20 minutes of self-indulged posing, I picked the most influencer-y looking photos and sent them off to our resident artist Daniel and asked him to photoshop my features to match those of the top 100 female Instagrammers.

Are you ready to see what I’d look like if I were a top 100 female Instagrammer?

My face:

Below you can see from right to left, me with no makeup, me with Glam AF makeup, and me with Photoshop. You can see that my face is more heart shaped, my brows are cleaner, my eyes look more caucasian, my nose is smaller, my lips are bigger, and my boobs are bigger.

My butt:

As you can see, my boobs were pushed up and my butt got some major enhancement!

My body:

From right to left, me with no makeup, me with Glam AF makeup, and me with photoshop. Wider hips, bigger boobs, heart shaped face, bigger eyes, smaller nose, longer neck.

So why did I go through all the trouble doing this research? Well, I wanted to see how the beauty standards of today’s era have changed – if at all. I find it interesting that being blonde and blue eyed is no longer the desired beauty ideal according to Instagram. But I also find it interesting that in the era of the body positive revolution, only 5 out of the top 100 female Instagrammers were plus size. And in the top 10, ZERO were plus size.

It’s weird because Instagram is a place of free will. We choose to follow who we idolize. No media company or advertising agency is telling us who’s beautiful and who’s not, and yet we still are somehow adhering to the old beauty standards of idolizing light skinned, large chested women with big eyes, and small waists.

One could argue that many of the top 100 are females in the entertainment industry, so the beauty standards are actually dictated by men sitting in a conference room at some big record label or movie studio. But even so, the first two non actress, non singer, and non Kardashians to break into the top 100 is Hudabeauty at 39 million followers and Lele Pons at 36 Million followers. Both are light skinned, large chested women with big eyes and small waists.
Interesting right?

I wonder what the next beauty ideal will look like 10 years from now and 100 years from now. Leave a comment below and make your predictions!

Yesterday’s Recap:

My Fit Journal entry says that I am STILL BLOATED!!!! I called up my friend who has written books on Keto and he advised that I start taking probiotics and get this – eating more salt! He said it sounds counterintuitive but my electrolytes are probably off so I need to monitor my salt intake.

Yesterday I started off the morning with an 8am circuit training class with Sam, Jason, and Lucia! I am starting to get better at pull ups and faster rowing! WHOO!!!

When I went home, I had some raspberries. Look how beautiful they are.

Brunch consisted of 3 mini egg thin quesadillas with salsa plus a side of bacon with butter lettuce.

I was in major editing mode and needed a fun drink, so I made myself a matcha collagen drink with nut milk!

Since brekkie was on the smaller side, I made another meal! I made cauli rice with paleo sausage and butter lettuce with jalapeño sauce. Oh yes, and sriracha, DURR.

I was def in a snacky mood yesterday. I always am when I have to be on the computer so much! I had been editing the beauty standards video for a day and a half at this point, so I needed more brain fuel! I had seaweed crisps with baba ganoush and…

Keto ice cream!

For dinner, we ordered from a steakhouse and I had koobideh with mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, grilled broccoli and grilled squash. SO good!!!!

Okay off to drink some tea to calm my belly. No idea what is going on but it hurts still, and I am bloated still. SO WEIRD!!!! I’m currently reading through your suggestions on my last blog post – thank you for all of your help!

27 thoughts on “Decoding the Instagram Beauty Standard | Day 32 of 90”

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  1. Yen says:

    Interesting! I wonder whether the results would change if we factor in the percentage of the global population who have brown / dark hair and eyes compared to blonde hair and blue eyes? I think I have read research that the “dark hair gene“ is stronger than “light hair”, so that could be one reason for the high number of influencers meeting this particular beauty standard. That said, it’s true that Eurocentric beauty standards still hold strong overall and it’d be interesting to see how this may change over time. Thanks for writing this, Cassey!

  2. Jahlioness says:

    What i see is that we will never know the true beauty of these ladies. Since we can’t really tell who is photoshopped. Sad

  3. Dev says:

    Omg… another one of this posts. I’ve been following you for years and I do love some of the stuff you share but this is getting pretty tiresome. You always do stuff like this. You always preach body positivity and you end up comparing yourself and bashing others, whether is IG beauty standards, girls who have surgery, body types through the ages, etc. I’m not bashing you about the challenge or whatever, I actually applaude that. But these kind of posts just reek of jealousy, comparison and immaturity. There’s nothing uplifting or motivational about bashing girls who choose to follow the beauty standards. True freedom comes from choice.

    1. Dev says:

      I remember all the posts where you ranted about the kardashians, Miley Cyrus, the waist trainers, etc. Girl, come on! What you focus on, it’s what grows. Stop comparing yourself and giving so much attention to things or trends you don’t like. You’re actually just feeding the fire. You’re better than that.

  4. Dandelìon ròot tea can definitely help with this:)

    Also, does adding collagen to your tea make it that much creamier?

  5. Rajesh says:

    So motivational Post and beautifully written

  6. Judy says:

    It’s not what other people think about you.. it’s what you think about yourself and how you feel inside …shouldn’t worry about other people’s opinions ❤️ As long as your healthy and happy and of course alive ❤️

  7. Linda Robbins says:

    Why Cassey ??? I grew up with Bernie dolls in the sixties, I have beaten myself for yrs. Always athletic, bounced back from 2 beautiful children. Then a back fusion 1 yr to date. I am Going to be 57 this year. As you get older,don’t care as much. Gave away all my zeros & twos. Fitting nicely in six, I cried could not fit into anything in my closet,everyone said let it go your old…I may be getting older but by damn my body is not going to sag……
    10lbs to go size 4 and most of my clothes will fit. Put 30lbs on in 3 yrs have taken off 20lbs the right way with you.. Just stop beating yourself up, not worth it. By the way you are naturally gorgeous, props my Pop star 😁😁😁

  8. 8of10 says:

    I still think that the word “influencer” has something to do with “influenza”, a disease commonly known as flu.
    Bad jokes aside, i love how you share your journey and your thoughts. It would be very interesting to read more about your workouts!

  9. Marcella Nichols Eastin says:

    You are doing great! Love the Instagram video- very interesting. Where do you buy your matcha tea latte drink (and what is the brand) and where do you find the keto ice cream??

    1. blogilates says:

      You can get Keto Ice Cream or the Rebel Ice Cream at places like Whole Foods, Gelsons, or Lassens. The Matcha collagen is from a brand that told me they are discontinuing it 🙁

  10. Emily says:

    This is a really great video, it’s something that I feel like we know it deep down — we look at these women everyday that we become de-sensitised to it and just expect people to look like this as ‘standard’. And yet we’re comparing ourselves most of the time to pictures that aren’t even real! Your photoshopped photos were insane! Great research!

  11. Roselina Jubilee says:

    You are so right Cassey. I honestly had been obsessing over how big my breasts are compared to others. And even comparing those to myself older than me, like you and other people I watch. But what you said changed my mind on that so thanks Cassey! Lots of love!❤

  12. Saraahx says:

    I feel like these “stars” whether in everyday, Hollywood life or on social medias are so idolized that they pretty much become a norm to follow. Because when you think about it, the more you see one body type, one skin color, one way of dressing up and one kind of behavior, the more you feel like that’s the only thing you can (should?) be. Like you said on your video, it’s crazy how you can see so much diversity yet there seems to be one particular image thrown at you. It’s really damaging for EVERYONE but mostly for young girls following and adoring them!!!! They teach you not to love your body the way it is, they sell you products to enhance yourself in an unnatural way. Cosmetic surgery is the ideal. It really gets to you constantly seeing literally picture-perfect bodies/faces. They basically sell you beauty and they achieve that very well!!! Comments on social media don’t help either, because there’s quite a lot of criticism, negativity and mockery. Also, the beauty standards always evolve. What’s trendy now will be old-fashioned in a few years, decades…
    The after pics are not attractive at all. You can tell it’s photoshopped and definitely not natural at all! Body positivity has become a joke, unfortunately. (I have so much more to say but I’ll stop there lol)

    Your dinner looks delish as always and so does your brunch!

  13. Bryn says:

    What a great post! I loved this. I hope it helps people see that they are part of the problem. We are all so quick to blame the media for what we are exposed to…but if we continue to prove that this is the “standard” we want to see, how can we fault anyone? Let’s look for content. Big butts, long necks AND deep thoughts!

    1. Saraahx says:

      I normally don’t react to people’s comments on Cassey’s blog but you are so right! We are part of the problem. Us keeping on following these “stars” and liking their pictures is also very wrong as it basically means that we adhere with their ideals

  14. Romany says:

    Hi Cassey,
    First I want to thank you for everything you are doing to use your voice and your platform to dispel unrealistic beauty standards and stand up for what you believe in! I’ve been following you for years and you’ve honestly been such an inspiration. Now this is a long shot but my beautiful brave mum is trying to raise money for hospital treatment after being assaulted and left unable to walk unassisted. I would really appreciate if you could share the link to her GoFundMe and help us get her independence back! If anyone reading this could spare anything at all to help my mum we couldn’t thank you enough 💖

    1. Roselina Jubilee says:

      I wish I could but honestly all I can offer you is prayer. So I really am going to pray for your mum hard! Please tell her I said that.❤

  15. Im almost afraid the standards will never change and this pressure on women will never lighten up…..but maybe I’m being too pessimistic. Instagram is such a fun tool but it definitely gives me super negative thoughts about my body. I totally have to limit my time on it for this reason.

  16. vikki says:

    wow thanks for going through all that trouble, very interesting

  17. Beatriz says:

    More salt? Our bodies are funny haha (I suggested less salt!). Sometimes it’s trial and error until you find what is going on.
    As long as I preach that women can do whatever they want: dress a certain way, get lip injeccions if they want etc. I don’t find this beauty standard appealing. I find more beauty in old hollywood glam looks, and people like royals (Kate and Meghan!). Maybe Taylor Swift from the list! Maybe its because I’m not 22, I’m closer to 30 haha.
    But well, beauty is totally subjective and that is only my opinion. I found you STUNNING in the talking part of the video but totally weird in the photoshoped version!
    Beauty is totally subjective and can (and should) be a fun thing, we only have to try and not be obsessed with it!

    1. blogilates says:

      It is so subjective! And yes Kate and Meghan are GORGEOUS!!!

  18. Naomi says:

    Maybe it’s time for some gentle non-irritant laxative (macrogol/movicol is perfectly healthy and doesn’t cause dependence and will get things moving) and a pregnancy test?

  19. Nicole C says:

    Really interesting analysis. One part that stuck out to me was the number of non-white influencers. Out of the top 100 was it just Caucasian and Black? Any other ethnicities represented?

    1. blogilates says:

      Yes of course but didn’t want to bombard you with numbers 🙂

  20. Laura says:

    Those shoes for instagram are horror 😂😂😂
    I love all that combination of food, yam!