Digitally enhanced Julia Roberts, Christy Turlington ads banned in Britain


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The British Advertising Standards Authority has just banned two 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.

Anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an awesome Photoshopping job knows how amazing it is to have age spots removed, acne scars toned down and all imperfections just generally softened. But when makeup companies use Photoshopped images to sell products that also claim to soften imperfections, well, then things get tricky.


Guy Parker, chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority explained Britain’s rules regarding retouching to the BBC: ‘Advertisers must be able to provide appropriate material to us to demonstrate what retouching they’ve done in the event we question them, and they mustn’t mislead,’ he said. ‘In this event, L’Oreal didn’t provide us with that evidence so we were left with no choice but to uphold the complaint.’

L’Oreal did admit to retouching the photos, but argued that the products were capable of yielding the results displayed on the advertisements. The company was unable to give the ASA a pre-retouched shot of Roberts because her contract stipulates that no un-airbrushed shots can be released. (I’d like to put that in my contract too, thank you!) L’Oreal also refused to release before photos of Turlington.

This is not the first time the British government has banned advertisements for being too heavy on the retouching. In 2009 it banned an Olay ad featuring Twiggy for similar reasons.


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