L’Oreal Pulls Ads, Saying They Used Too Much Photoshop


Actress Jennifer Lawrence may be fine with excessive Photoshopping, but advertising regulatory authorities in the United States aren’t of the same opinion. We reported back in 2011 that the UK had banned certain advertisements for excessive Photoshop work, and that the US was moving in the same direction.

Now, news has emerged that cosmetic company L’Oreal has pulled a series of advertisements, citing that an excessive amount of post-production was done to exaggerate what their products could do.

Business Insider reports that the decision was made after rival brand Cover Girl pointed out that the ads were misleading.

The ads in question were for its Maybelline Volum’ Express line of mascara. The “kill” decision was made despite the fact that the ads were published with a notice stating, “Lashes were enhanced in post-production.”


Although these ads may not be illegal according to government regulations, the general public and independent regulatory agencies have been cracking down on advertising photos that have been Photoshopped to the point of being deceitful to consumers.

Honesty about photography certainly generates transparency, but it doesn’t always mean the images will be embraced by the public or by watchdogs.

Case in point: Esquire magazine editor Alex Bilmes spoke on a panel yesterday, and admitted that his publication objectifies women. According to The Guardian, he said,

The women we feature in the magazine are ornamental. I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified […]

[Esquire] provide pictures of girls in the same way we provide pictures of cool cars. It is ornamental. Women’s magazines do the same thing.

L’Oreal and Esquire are both being transparent about their practices, but it’s those practices themselves that are controversial, not the fact that they’re being done “secretly.”

(via The Phoblographer)

  • Mike Buchanan

    So the mascara doesn’t turn people into cats?

  • Mark Dub

    Without seeing the original, how the hell does anyone know this was shopped too much? Since this is mascara only, the lashes are the only thing that matters.

  • Garry

    ….which is interesting as Tigers don’t appear to have lashes that look ANYTHING like human lashes.

  • NDT001

    I dont get how this kind of advertising is not classified as false. If you artificially enhance lashes in a mascara commercial, to me that is plainly exaggerating the function of the product. This seems totally deceptive and untruthful.

  • AndrewHD3

    Can we start a petition to get photoshopping protected under the 1st amendment?

  • DamianM


  • Swade

    Companies should have a right to mass market a lie to people as long as it has a notice that is too small for most people to read (and usually too quick if on TV) and show their product doing something it doesn’t do? You want a precedent of unethical business practice?

  • Eziz

    I’m guessing, post-processors charge by the hour :)

  • Jupiter

    How to maintain product credibility: Photoshop do’s and dont’s

    Makeup / mascara / anti-aging cream ads:
    DO: remove stray hairs, alter hair or eye colour if desired, whiten and straighten teeth if necessary.
    DON’T: remove skin blemishes, wrinkles, scars, etc.

    Why? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THE PRODUCT IS SUPPOSED TO DO! How do you expect consumers to trust your product if you don’t trust it yourself?!

    To sum things up. Keep it real!

  • Matt

    That cat looks nothing like a real cat.

  • bob cooley

    The amazing thing to me is why they would want to Photoshop someone this much…

    Not because of the definition of beauty, etc. but when you’ve paid top dollar for someone like Jennifer Lawrence, don’t you want to your audience to recognize that’s its her?

    Until I read the caption, I had NO idea it was Lawrence. In this photo, she looks like any of the hundreds of generic models you see from any agency.

  • Larry Angier

    Not to worry if this bill is passed…Congress will except itself.

  • EliyahuBenYisroel

    It’s still an ad for a makeup company, and the implication is that she’s using their other products as well, and that those products, by themselves, will create a perfect face and complexion.