Celebrities Like Christy Turlington Give Beauty a Bad Name

Here's a novel concept: a couple of makeup ads have been banned in Britain for being ... well, full of LYING LIES THAT LIE. Parent company L'Oreal is under fire for using "misleading" digital retouching in their ads for Lancôme and Maybelline foundation makeup. They're also using celebrities—Christy Turlington for Maybelline, and Julia Roberts for Lancôme—and it turns out that however pretty these stars appear in the ads, the original photographs look nothing like the airbrushed final result.

Duh, right? Maybe she's born with it ... maybe it's Maybelline? Maybe it's 12 hours of painstaking Photoshop work, more like.


Part of me thinks it's a little silly to single out a couple of foundation ads in the sea of bullshit that is our advertising world, but part of me is standing up and applauding. Go, British Advertising Standards Authority! And hey, celebrities, how about just saying no to using ridiculously digitized images of yourself to sell impossible ideals!

The ASA is claiming that the ads don't reflect reality and that Roberts' and Turlington's altered appearances are likely to mislead consumers. While that can pretty much apply to every makeup ad that's ever been made, I kind of love that they cracked down on this in particular:

I mean, COME ON. There's no doubt Christy Turlington is naturally a beautiful woman, but GIVE ME A BREAK.

In defending this Maybelline ad for "The Eraser" foundation, L'Oreal admitted that they had digitally re-touched Turlington's picture to "lighten the skin, clean up make-up, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips, and darken the eyebrows." Interestingly, they refused to provide the untouched image to the ASA for comparison purposes, probably because no matter how lovely Turlington is, if anyone put the original next to the ad version, she'd end up looking like Shrek.

Ultimately, the ASA decided that since the images were so heavily digitally manipulated, the ads weren't representative of the results the product could achieve. Hooray for a tiny bit of sanity in the world of celebrities selling their image to promote unrealistic beauty ideals. There's nothing wrong with making a buck off your fame—but maybe when you're allowing your face to become an outright lie, it's time to rethink your priorities, you know?

Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington are both in their 40s, and while their skin is probably a million times more flawless than mine was when I was 20, I'm sure no one really needed a standards authority to tell us they don't actually look like they're depicted in the ads. Still, I'm guessing other celebs will think twice about participating in an ad campaign that's just a little too full of bullshit from here on out—and that's not such a bad thing.

What do you think about the makeup ads? Do you agree with the ASA's decision to single them out?


Images via Flickr/David_Shankbone, Maybelline

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