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Comparing Real Results to Beauty Advertising Campaigns

By (view all posts by jmediodia)
at 11:57AM Wednesday August 3, 2011
under Shop Smarter

Just recently, the British ASA banned two makeup ads for being too "airbrushed." One featured Julia Roberts for the Lancome Teint Miracle foundation, and the other Christy Turlington for Maybelline's The Eraser. The ASA chief executive stated that, "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… L'Oreal [the company behind both brands] didn't provide us with that evidence..." Roberts refused to have any un-retouched photos of her released (is it really that bad?).

We always wonder if our eyelashes, lips, skin are going to look as gorgeous as those we see in magazines or TV ads. The truth is they probably won't. Beauty ads can no doubt be deceiving so I scoured through some magazines and tested out some of the products to see how well they match up with their ads:
Revlon Custom Eyes Mascara

The Revlon Custom Eyes Mascara caught my attention right away. It's the first mascara with adjustable bristles. There's "Look 1 for Length and Drama" and "Look 2 for Length and Definition." Jessica Biel's eyelashes look, well, perfect. I know she's gifted in other aspects but there's no way she could have gotten it from her natural lashes and the mascara alone.

The instructions at the bottom of the ad states,"Get dramatic lashes like Jessica Biel from Look 1." I went ahead and took the ad's advice and tried it on with "Look 1." I applied about three coats of it and doesn't look anything like Jessica's ultra-full, perfectly separated eyelashes. It did give some good volume to my lashes but my lashes very clumpy.

Olay Total Effects Dark Circle Minimizing Eye Brush

This is an under-eye concealer and eye cream all inside an applicator brush. The ad states right in the middle of the page, "Why pile on the products when you can simply sweep dark circles away"? The model's one eye has some visible dark circles, and the other eye (with the sweeper) has none. I thought I'd test out just how well it would cover my dark circles and if it's as quick and easy to apply as it implies. For me, I didn't really see a difference. It's more of a moisturizer with a slight tint so if you need something with more coverage, I wouldn't recommend this. I also didn't just "simply sweep" it on--I swept back and forth until it was fully absorbed. It took about just as much time to apply as my regular concealer.

Make Up Forever HD Foundation

This also caught my attention since it claims to be the "first unretouched makeup ad." The Make Up For Ever HD foundation is known to cover skin imperfections, while remaining undetectable by high definition camera lenses. The woman's face in the ad didn't look too "perfect" like most cosmetic ads, but what it doesn't show is how she looks without the foundation. Maybe she already had really good skin? I thought I'd do a comparison with this and show my skin with and without the foundation to see how it covers my blemishes. I only used the foundation and a little bit of blush -- no primer, no setting power.

Maybelline ColorSensational Lipstain

I bought this lip stain months ago when it first came out because I really liked the pretty pink color the model was wearing in the ad. I also liked how they're supposed to give you a "barely there" feel. The shade was "Wink in Pink" but it should have been called "Wink in RED!". I came home to try it on and it was like 5 shades darker than in the picture. If you're thinking about getting a lip stain, don't. The color doesn't last long and it settles in the lines and cracks after some time. Second, if you can, try out the shade before you buy it. The colors are much darker than the pictures and packaging.

How do you feel about beauty advertisements? Do you still buy into them even if they're seemingly unrealistic?