L’Oreal makeup ads banned in Britain for too much airbrushing

Makeup is awesome, but misleading consumers about what it can achieve is not.

The British Advertising Standards Authority has just banned two [L’Oreal] makeup ads for being misleading because of too much airbrushing. One of the ads, for a new Lancome product called Teint Miracle foundation features Julia Roberts. The other is for a product called The Eraser by Maybelline and features Christy Turlington.

The ads were yanked because L’Oreal, the owner of Maybelline and Lancome, failed to demonstrate that the advertisements accurately portrayed the results the products could achieve, the Advertising Standards Agency said.  L’Oreal, in other words, was not able to show that its products could produce the the look in the images without digital manipulation.

Here is a tip for cosmetics companies — if you use a supermodel, a talented photographer, and a professional makeup artist, you don’t need to Photoshop the crap out of the images.  It is that simple.  Women will still buy your products.

For an interesting read as to what is considered misleading in cosmetics advertising follow this link.

In other airbrushing news, the American Medical Association says photoshopping is bad for your health.

[UPDATED to add link to a makeup campaign that didn’t use airbrushing h/t Queen Cicada]

Bonus photoshop video (via Legal Satyricon)


~ by siouxsielaw on July 27, 2011.

10 Responses to “L’Oreal makeup ads banned in Britain for too much airbrushing”

  1. I am in favor of this kind nanny state protection. These ads are just wrong.

  2. Interesting post. it reminds me of an episode of ugly betty when Betty’s boss was freaking out that an unretouched photo might end up in his magazine..

    -Bianca at http://theinbetweengirls.wordpress.com/

    • Haha! It does seem like something out of a sitcom. One of the reasons L’Oreal couldn’t show the amount of retouching that had been done to the pics is because Julia Robert’s contract states that no non-airbrushed photos be released.

  3. This is why I ignore cosmetics ads and stick to product recommendations through blogs and in-store experiences. Perhaps companies will start to learn after blowing so much advertising money on campaigns they can’t run, but I sort of feel like it’s a case of Old Dog: they’re still going to do it.
    On a related note, Make Up Forever ran a campaign not too long ago boasting absolutely no retouching to advertise their new HD foundation line. I hadn’t actually seen it until after I used the product, but I really appreciate their confidence in their line and honesty with their customers.

    • I agree with you that this probably won’t change how cosmetic companies advertise. Before Photoshop they were burning and dodging in the dark room. But at least the publicity on the topic is good for consumers.
      I have to track down Make Up Forever’s ads. Curious to see what they look like.

  4. Wow, Julie Roberts must be pretty hideous to have such a terms in her contract! 🙂 I would like to think that the general public ignores the advertising anyway, and thought that by now everyone was able to tell the difference between a realistic representation of a product and a Photoshop retouching. Then again, I guess younger people wouldn’t know that. I totally agree with Luna – these days it’s easy enough to get information from a real person who has used a product, and those opinions are much more reliable (until the cosmetics companies start up blogs pretending to be real women who have actually used the products!).

    • Agreed about the terms of the contract.
      I don’t even like the way these images were altered. Too much retouching. And I agree, I tend to purchase cosmetics based on what I see on blogs or what my friends recommend. Though I’ll admit I am a sucker for really cute (i.e. spooky) packaging/marketing.

  5. Siouxsie, you ‘re a sick, sad, fat, excuse for a person. Your fashion sense is lacking and your ability to write is what I’d expect from a stroke victim. Do you even think before you post? You’re pathetic and a bad name to goths including the real Siouxsie.

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