Instagram Face Filters vs. Snapchat Lenses: How do they stack up?


On Tuesday, Instagram rolled out a new feature: face filters. It's new for Instagram, but not a novel idea, since Snapchat introduced lenses back in 2015. At its launch, eight face filters were made available, while Snapchat generally has more than 15 filters at any given time. Here's how the two fare against each other.

How to use Instagram face filters

To use the new face filters, Instagram users need to make sure their app is up to date. Then open the app and open the camera. Select the face icon on the bottom right corner. A series of filters will pop up at the bottom; tapping on a filter lets users try it on. Some filters come with instructions to open your mouth. When you've finished making your content, you can share it through Instagram Direct or add it to your story.


How to use Snapchat lenses

Using Snapchat lenses is just as simple. Open up the app and go to the camera screen. Here, just tap the screen to trigger an array of lenses — what Instagram is calling face filters — to pop up. You can pick between lenses that just modify your face, ones that modify your face and your voice and even ones that can be used with friends.

There are some similarities between filters

Snapchat has a lot more filter choices but Instagram offers a few of the same. For instance, the photo-sharing app has its own variation of the "flower crown" filter but it pales in comparison to Snapchat's. While Snapchat also has the fan-favorite puppy filter, Instagram offers a cute koala filter.

One filter that is concept-wise unique to Instagram is the filter featuring a pair of glasses. When users follow instructions to open their mouth, math equations circulate at the top. Instagram has opted to devote three of its 8 filters to head accessories like crowns and Roman-esque laurel wreath.


Instagram's filters are compatible with Boomerang

The filters on the Facebook-owned app also work with Boomerang, a standalone video app released by Instagram in 2015. Now integrated within Instagram, Boomerang takes bursts of pictures and stitches them together to make short, looping videos.

Snapchat offers other features Instagram doesn't

Some of Snapchat's lenses come with voice modifiers. So when users record video snaps and speak, their voice is altered to sound different. This feature is not available (yet) on Instagram.

The platform also supports Bitmoji, which can be added to any Snapchat video or photograph, with or without the use of lenses. 

Most recently, Snapchat introduced world lenses, which work on the rear-facing camera of devices. Here, things like a cloud or a rainbow pop up with the 3D lenses.