How to use Snapchat Lenses, the new feature teens are obsessed with

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Lenses you can use on Snapchat when your camera is in selfie mode
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Snapchat

Last month, Snapchat rolled out a new product to users called Lenses.

Baked into the main Snapchat product, Lenses is arguably the most innovative addition to Snapchat since Live Stories. Lenses lets you take a selfie and then choose one of a handful of face filters to animate your selfie.

The filters, or lenses, pop up automatically when a user’s camera is in selfie mode, and they press and hold down on their face on the screen. You can make yourself look like something out of “Terminator,” or make it look like you’re barfing rainbows.

And now, advertisers are latching on to Lenses. Snapchat will start pushing “sponsored lenses” later this month to brands, which can pay $450,000 for a lens on a normal day or $750,000 on a “peak day” – basically a holiday – like Halloween or Thanksgiving.

In other words, brands will pay to (hopefully) have their name plastered across your face when you send your selfie to friends.

Of course, teens picked up on Lenses from day one, using a filter that makes you look old and wrinkly to try to trick their parents. Parents, meanwhile, are using the filters on their unsuspecting young children. And people took advantage of the new Lenses during last month’s GOP debate.

So how do you use Lenses? We’ve put together a quick guide to show you.


Lenses lets you take a selfie and then choose one of a handful of face filters to animate your selfie. Here’s how you do it.

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Snapchat

For starters, open the Snapchat app on your phone. If it defaults to the rear camera, click the little camera icon in the right-hand corner to activate the selfie camera.

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Screenshot/Maya Kosoff

Like many Snapchat features, Lenses is not very intuitive or obvious to use. Once you have the camera pointed to you, tap on your face for a couple seconds to turn on Snapchat’s Lenses feature.

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Screenshot/Maya Kosoff

Ta-da! You’ll see a bunch of lenses in the form of small emoticons appear across the bottom of the screen.

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Screenshot/Maya Kosoff

They require you to raise your eyebrows…

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Screenshot/Maya Kosoff

…or open your mouth to make them work.

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Screenshot/Maya Kosoff

Snapchat has been shuffling through its Lenses, so every day you’ll see new ones and lose older ones when you open the app.

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Screenshot/Maya Kosoff

When you’re finally ready to take your picture, tap on the circle as you would to take a picture normally.

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Screenshot/Maya Kosoff

Then, press on the arrow on the bottom right corner. You’ll be directed to select your recipients as you usually would, and then you can send your Snap.

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Screenshot/Maya Kosoff