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Want to try that gender-face-swap thing everyone's doing? Here's how

Snapchat's newest filters are fueling excitement on social media.

Angela Lang/CNET

By now you've probably seen those photos popping up all over social networks of your friends' faces looking a little smoother or scruffier than they usually do. Three new filters on Snapchat have folks playing around with their looks. Two filters embrace gender fluidity by merging their facial features with traits associated with the opposite sex. 

One filter makes you look more feminine, one makes you look more masculine and a third one makes you look like a baby. The "male" filter gives you facial hair, shorter hair and a stronger jaw line. The "female" filter removes beards and replaces them with smooth skin, makeup and long locks of hair. The "baby" filter, well, gives you a younger, rounder baby face. Face App for iPhone also offers gender-swapping filters.

The new Snapchat filters have come under fire by some who accuse parent company Snap of trivializing the struggles of people who are often marginalized for looking different -- for example, those who identify as transgender, intersex or gender nonconforming. It's undeniable that the filters have made a splash. Expect even more Snapchat lenses to come.

Here's how to see what the fuss is about and try them for yourself.


One of the new Snapchat filters gives you a baby face.

Katie Conner/CNET

Finding and using Snapchat's genderswap and baby face filters

1. Open the camera screen on Snapchat and tap the screen.

2. Make sure your camera is facing you by tapping the rectangular arrows in the top corner.

2. Multiple filters will appear, but the gender swap filters should be within the first five options. Select the filter with the beard (for women) and the filter next to it with makeup (for men). There's also the baby filter (little guy with a yellow, eared hoodie), a clown filter and so on.

3. When you're camera ready, snap the picture.

Now you can send your gender swap photos to all of your friends and family.

Now playing: Watch this: Snap's next Spectacles include two cameras, says report

Originally published May 17 at 5 a.m. PT.
Update, May 26 at 6 a.m. PT: Added more detail.