Fascinating new project lets you travel round the world in 27 beauty ideals

A 24-year-old radio journalist from the USA has put together a project, which demonstrates the striking disparity between different countries’ beauty standards.

In a digital age where Photoshop has become synonymous with unattainable ideals, Esther Honig decided to take an unaltered photo of herself and issue freelance Photoshoppers from around the world with one simple instruction: make me look beautiful.

The results are fascinating, and seem to confirm the statement that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Many of those who responded made alterations to her nose; some, like Argentina, gave the photo a dramatic sweep of bright makeup to lighten the skin and add emphasis to the eyes, or added headgear or jewellery in the cases of Morocco and Indonesia.

Some results are more subtle such as Ukraine or Vietnam – there’s a change in eye colour, evening of the skin tone or slight thickening of the eyebrows.

As Honig writes on her website, ‘Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.’

27 countries have responded so far, and there may be more to follow.

Sadie Hale