Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Make Up For Ever: Unretouched Campaign

This spring, Make Up For Ever has launched a print and online ad campaign featuring their HD Invisible Cover Foundation–and the advertisements have not been digitally retouched. They have also launched a microsite, with a short video featuring the unretouched models shot next to items that have been digitally altered to highlight how deceptive retouching can be.

If there is one thing the early days of MySpace has taught me, it’s that angles are your best friend, and good lighting (or really terrible lighting) can go a long way to improving the overall image!  I like that photography and artistry skills were used to achieve this ad.

What do you think of the new campaign?

While unretouched photography has been celebrated by magazines and celebrities alike, there are still very few advertising campaigns that use imagery that has not been digitally altered. HD Invisible Cover Foundation was developed specifically to mask imperfections that are often magnified in front of a camera lens, without adding texture to the skin. MAKE UP FOR EVER is thrilled to show women everywhere that they can look perfect both in front of the lens and in their everyday lives by choosing products that deliver professional results and can stand up to modern technology.

See close-up… 

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

114 thoughts on “Make Up For Ever: Unretouched Campaign

  1. You can tell it’s un-retouched because she has white marks from powder or something on her arm.

    • I agree & by her smile lines. Next I think they should try advertising with makeup applied by the MODEL herself not a professional makeup artist!

    • Chibaraki

      Heck, you can tell it’s not retouched because she actually has an elbow!

      • Linnea

        HAHAHA. Was thinking the same thing Chibaraki.. “it looks like a REAL awkward arm.. Obviously not retouched” 😀

  2. Ali

    Well I think this is wonderful – finally a real model without the airbrushing in all her natural glory! She is still gorgous and her skin is no doubt fabulous to begin with, but at least it’s not eerily perfect. This actally encourages me to buy their products as I can finally see what they actually do! Well done MUFE!! Let’s hope all cosmetic companies follow suit!

  3. Marinella

    Finally!!! Very good Make Up Forever, I really appreciate an unretouched ad which shows humans! Thank you!!! I wish every brand will follow this example because this MUFE ad is amazing…

  4. Dame Elizabeth

    This is great! The model has amazing skin, and it’s a good, natural look, unlike the AWFUL L’Oreal adverts.

    Now they just need Sephora in London for me!

  5. Anitha

    I cant really buy into this. If you already have a flawless face and applying a good foundation will ofcourse give you a flawless finish in person or in camera. First of all if Make up for ever wants to boast their HD foundation, are they brave enough to take a model with lots of imperfections and secondly show both the before and after(unretouched) pictures?!!

    • I agree. I have huuuge pores and have tried the HD foundation and hated it, it just settled right in said pores and then looked cakey (I have dry skin, too) If they had done this shot with me as their model, they definitely would have needed to do some retouching

      • Niki

        its all in the application – i have really big pores and some flakeyness on my chin, and you would never know with mufe HD. the HD primer fills in lines and large pores and smooths everything out, and the hd foundation applied with a skunk brush and stippled onto the face gives a really flawless finish.

    • Yes I agréé with you 100 per cent!lét’s see how does it work on skin with scars, sun spots etc! I think retouching pictures on make up advertisment Should bê banned by law, it’s fraud!

    • Steph

      That is a good idea, but I think we are a looong way from makeup companies considering this. This unretouched ad was only done with a beautiful model with already great skin. Baby steps I guess.

  6. Bahar

    That is freakin awesome! Other makeup companies should learn from MUFE!

  7. Andrea

    She clearly has good skin anyway, but they could have made a better job of her under eye concealer! I wish all foundation adverts could be honest, they’re getting more and more ridiculous, so good for you Make Up Forever.

  8. Steph

    If it is unretouched, then her skin is great and the foundation looks very nice, so mission accomplished by MUF. It is a very interesting marketing idea that I can’t think of any other companies doing, so I am interested to see what they do with it.

  9. Mariella

    Christine – is this a new foundation from MUFE or is it their “regular” HD foundation being featured in a new campaign? If it’s the latter, I might put off my purchase of the new Clarins foundation til I can try this one.

  10. her face is white and her neck + the rest of her looks more yellow-y tan. lol

  11. Lala

    That video was so nauseating to watch. All the weird angles and fast-pans. Plus the fact that you seem to have to watch it full screen >_<

  12. Jessica

    I would have liked to seen a before and after to fully judge the makeup’s success. Have never using this myself, it seems light and natural looking. Semi-matte finish and you can still see the woman’s freckles. It looks like a nice foundation, but I am unsure of the HD label.

  13. Miranda

    I really like this campaign. This is a foundation I use. I’m on my second bottle and I honestly don’t know how I could live without it after using it for the first time. It does look really great in pictures.

  14. Sarah

    I think it’s great! Way to set an example.
    But obviously they are gonna use models with gorgeous skin anyways, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

  15. Heather

    Awesome, I love it!

  16. babyinacorner

    Do you retouch your photos Christine? I like the idea of this campaign although I’m sure the girl was picked cause she had near perfect skin to begin with.

    • No, I don’t. I usually just don’t take photos of my face if it’s a particular bad breakout but most of my blemishes aren’t visible in a photo (though they’re there) thanks to foundation/lighting/angles! I process photos to ensure color accuracy but I don’t spend time erasing wrinkles, smoothing out skin, or anything like that! Oh, I suppose the one thing I do is clone out any hair about my lip since I get about 15 nasty emails about that each day and how gross it is… Usually it’s just one or two random hairs I missed when shaving my upper lip!

      • babyinacorner

        I hope you are annoyed – I never you wouldn’t retouch things like altering the colour or altering the product but I thought you might retouch things like blemishes in close up lip shots. Well done for not retouching though!!

      • christine Would you Please do à post about how To take good pictures of swatches, Eye make up looks , angles and lighting?IT’S MY NIGHTMARE!!! I think Would bê really intresting for lots of people.Thank you

      • Steph

        You always look great and so does your skin. I also find photos are very forgiving if have blemishes as well because of my makeup application and the flash of the camera. It’s nice to always look fabulous even though it may not be perfect underneath!

  17. Faye

    The photos really do look natural! You can even see a bit of cellulite under the model’s arm. I’m not saying that to be nasty; I think it’s interesting they’ve actually shown someone looking less than perfect, but still very pretty. I’d be more apt to try the product if I can see what it really looks like. I hope the trend continues!

  18. angie

    love this campaign….especially in an industry where sometimes the ad photos look completely computer generated!

  19. Sri

    her skin already flawless, she has no breakouts, acne, and freckles like me.. :(
    (stare at the LCD with absolute envy)

  20. Lauren

    She’s not washed out, she’s glowing and her imperfections are actually quite perfect. I hope I look like this when I’m out for the night lol

  21. Katie

    I love this Foundation. It really does look amazing in photos. But then again, it helps that these are models with supernaturally beautiful skin.

  22. The model, is (as all models are) beautiful.

  23. I love how the camera is off in the large picture 😛

  24. Alyssa

    I LOVE this concept. Who cares what the makeup is like if the ad’s been retouched? It’s like they have no faith in their own product. Thumbs up to Make Up For Ever

  25. Vikki

    If this is unretouched how come her eyeballs are super white? Shouldn’t you be able to see at least some fine red lines?

    • Kate

      i’ve been retouching images as part of my job for over 10 years now and i’m pretty sure this has had some minor retouching done (eyes for example). The point being, that good retouching should go unnoticed. These days they do it so excessively it is obvious, even to the untrained eye, which to me is ridiculous. So thumbs up the MUFE in starting what i hope will become a new “trend”. Even if it means less work for me :( Its one part of my job i truly disagree with, simply because it is sooooo misleading. At the end of the day… its false advertising.

      • Belinda

        On their site, they state that they are bound by a notary public and that the photos are not retouched.

    • KT

      They probably used Visine just before the shoot

  26. Ruth

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this concept. Not only is this amazing product shown how it needs to be shown but maybe some people will stop trying to be like those people in computer altered shots. Thanks Christine for keeping us updated!!!!

  27. Natalie

    Wow! Just when I thought I couldn’t love MUFE more. I never ever trust advertising, especially for mascara, and like to see things on myself to decide. I think that this is a wonderful idea though, and, if I wasn’t already a devoted MUFE user, it would really make me want to try their products and explore the line. I love how you can actually see the teeny little hairs on her face! I’m sure it helps that she probably already has very nice skin, but this is definitely one of my favorite campaigns from anyone in ages.

  28. I think the most telling thing in this ad is her doesn’t look bad, just real!

  29. I LOVE this campaign! It has my approval! Seeing this ads gives me more confidence in the product and it increases my respect for the brand. Well done MUF!

  30. Swathi

    Wow that model still looks gorgeous ! Do you happen to know what shade of lipstick she is wearing though or anything similar from MAC ? It is just such an amazing shade of pinky coral !

    • JC

      The lips were done with
      Rouge Artist Intense # 38
      Super Lip Gloss # 022 on top

      • Swathi

        Hey JC . Thanks so much . Sadly we don’t get MUFE here in my city. I should ask a friend or find something close in MAC or Dior and the likes !

  31. Thank you so much for putting this up Christine! My thesis is actually about retouching, so this would be a wonderful thing to include!

    • Kelly C.

      You should check out Christine’s post on the EL Bronze Goddess 2011 collection, she has a couple of unretouched/barely retouched images posted there too. There we so great!

  32. I think this is GREAT! How can companies expect us to believe their claims about how great their makeup is, when the promo images are always Photoshopped to death? I’d like this to become a trend, and in the future see companies put out ads all the time that haven’t been altered.
    The fact that they’re putting them on girls with perfect skin should be enough to make the product look good.

  33. virginiaisforluvrs

    I think the ad looks just as good as a retouched photo, with the exception of that creepy arm. That angle just doesn’t look right!

  34. melissa

    Honestly I think they could of done a better job on the makeup but I think the consept is sweet!

  35. Jilliterate

    Hmmm…know what I like? The fact that someone hasn’t gone to town with the “Smudge” tool in Photoshop all over this. Instead of creating a scarily-smooth creature from the uncanny valley, I can SEE the makeup on this model, and I like it! I know this ad is specifically for the foundation, but it’s selling me on the blush, highlighter, and lipcolour even more.

  36. Luiza Brasil

    AWESOME !!!!!!!! Assuming it really is unretouched.. What’s up with that * next to the sentence ?

    • Laura

      the caption is that it was notarized that it’s unretouched so they can’t find a loophole or anything/to make it legally binding

    • JC

      The * sends to a special mention indicating that the shoot, post production and print were done under legal control from a Bailiff/Public Notary (in French “huissier de justice”). The brand actually went all out to ensure that no one could claim the photos were retouched :)

  37. Nastassia

    i like it. you can see all of her “flaws” ..

  38. Sara

    I really like that they did this. My only gripe about it is that the model they used can’t be older than 18… She doesn’t even look like she needs foundation at all. Other than that, I truly applaud them not using photoshop, she looks stunning.

  39. Diane

    Who cares about an untouched image on a 19 year old. Show me a ‘real’ image of a 40 year old!

  40. ericka

    Great idea. Love this!

  41. LOVE this campaign!!!

  42. Tiffany

    Good marketing. But we have to take into consideration that everyone working on this shoot is a professional. The model already has good skin, the makeup is applied by a professional makeup artist, and the photographer knows how to light the shot in the most flattering way.

  43. Katie Coleman

    Definitely been meaning to try this foundation…I’m a Sheer Glow girl right now, but I’ve heard MUFE is also quite nice :0)

  44. Martha

    One giant step for womankind!

  45. Cody

    It’s probably just a weird photo angle/light, but especially in the close-up it looks like her head was photoshopped onto her neck. It just looks really unnatural to me in that area. But I do like the idea behind this campaign.

  46. mandy

    I love this ad! I saw it in one of my magazines last week and even pointed it out to my husband! I really dislike makeup ads that claim to do this or that but then they are all retouched so you can’t even tell if the product will be true to it’s claim or look different in real life. I think more pictures and ads should be unretouched!

  47. Joyce

    No retouching has been done on this picture. There are lot of stray hairs, her laughter (not wrinkles) lines are visible. There is no skin tone color unification on her arms/chest and face/neck. You can see her natural fat deposits on her arms. My nephew is trainee fashion photographer and retouching is he’s specialism- I have seen many many things!!

    Well Done MUFE!!! Before and after pictures should have been available on website for everyone to see, and a clip of the model applying the foundation would have been fun to watch also.

    However, it’s a great picture and congrats to the model. She is taking a big risk in showing the industry/prospective clients that she isn’t perfect. We women should salute the model for that.

  48. Brittney

    I love this! Great Ad! :)

  49. Holly

    It’s not unretouched – I found another version of the same photo where the make-up looks different. Evidence and side-by-side comparison:

    • It looks like they may have confused CMYK & RGB files actually to me – that was my first thought, because the coloring is so off in the more saturated photo. I’ve had promo product images sent over that weren’t the right format and they have the same ultra saturated/intense look. I have no idea, but that was my first thought.

      Though MUFE’s ad is certified by a public notary…

      • Jocelyn

        I agree. They surely futzed around with the colors/levels etc, but no clone stamp or painting in eyebrows, etc.

    • It looks like the color levels and lightness have been adjusted, which is pretty standard when you prepare a final image for print somewhere. That’s something that is done to any image and is not the same thing as the ludicrous levels of airbrushing that have come to dominate ads and editorials. They maybe should have put something up somewhere clarifying the difference between color correction, ensuring that brightness/contrast isn’t too harsh etc, and airbrushing and other more extreme techniques.

      • Steph

        Agreed. No company will put out an totally untouched product, it needs to look finished for print/online. There should be fine print somewhere or the website should just mention they did colour correction, etc but not airbrushing of the model.

    • Hannah

      It looks like they color-corrected and adjusted the contrast and saturation to make the colors more true-to-life. I’ve always considered “retouching” to mean airbrushing and changing things to something they’re not.

  50. JoElla

    I love this idea!
    I have been playing with make up longer than some of the posters here have been alive! LOL and even though I know things are air brushed, I still get the ‘let down’ when I don’t look exactly like the ads. But I think this will actually help buyers see what it can do with their skin texture (granted I am sure she has flawless skin) and how well it actually covers and blends.

    If more companies started doing this, I bet they will see an increase in sales.

  51. Girl

    her skin looks great , awesome ad, makes me want to get this foundation.

  52. L

    I love this. Lately it has been upsetting me more and more seeing so much retouching and false advertising in cosmetics ads. Good job MUFE!

  53. no matter what companies do, it looks like people are going to complain, complain, complain.

    i think it’s a step in the right direction and love this idea. great job mufe!

  54. The model is flawless to begin with…I love this girl. She is just so perfect!

  55. Victoria

    Gorgeoussss — I love that you can see the natural texture of her skin and her freckles are adorable! Love this ad

  56. Marjolijn

    Wow this is awesome! She looks SO beautiful!

  57. Marc

    Read the ad again… see that little asterisk next to the claim? They don’t have the fine print here, but I would be willing to guess that asterisk says, “other parts of the photo were retouched, just not the face”. That way, they can legally claim that their makeup is doing what it’s supposed to. But the camera screen has been dimmed artificially, her eyeballs have been whitened and I’m almost certain (having been on plenty of photo shoots) that they probably cleaned up some stray hairs and or moles / beauty marks.

    Once again, be careful at how the company stretches the definition of what they’re claiming. While I agree that unretouched ads are a step forward, they weren’t willing to go balls-out. They’re still a product of the industry just like any other. In this case, they’re using the gimmick for the purpose of selling their product. They’ve used reverse psychology on everyone to make their brand seem more “real”. Keep in mind that at the end of the day, they’re trying to sell makeup.

    • Marc,

      It actually says, “Make Up For Ever’s first campaign with no retouching-certified by a notary public.” It’s on the right edge of the ad.

      If you can’t read it, you should ask rather than make assumptions! :)

  58. Crystal

    /sigh. It saddens me that we hoped & wished for an un-retouched makeup campaign & some people are still “complaining”. Now her face is too yellow or her skin is too perfect. Can anyone be happy anymore? I see why now you disable comments come award season. :(( I think this is a great step in the right direction for a makeup company. I even mentioned it on your You-Tube channel Christine & was curious if you saw it!

  59. Pamela

    I thought the model was either Ke$ha or Blake Lively.

  60. CJ

    I can still tell that she has makeup on, but it looks pretty decent

  61. amazon_fashion

    They would really sell me if they had a campaign with a gorgeous girl with ugly blemishes. Show me that and I’ll spend my whole check on foundation alone.

  62. Rach

    This is a little off topic, but does anyone know what colors she is wearing?? I’m loving her look and think it looks great!

    I’m so glad that they did a campaign like this!!! I think she actually looks better than some of their other ads!

  63. Angela

    Photography student here. Lighting plays a HUGE role on how someone looks in a photo, even without makeup the right lighting can most people look dramatically better. But nonetheless, makeup ads should really show off the performance of the product, so I like this!

  64. Mariella

    This is a great start from MUFE in giving consumers some “truth in advertising”. It would be great if they continued on in this vein and, as others said, showed us the “before and after” and used a model with less than flawless skin (for all we know, this model may well have imperfections – scars, redness, freckles, large pores, etc. – but we can’t know this). So I hope MUFE will listen to the feedback and perhaps take this campaign to the next logical level. I’m going to watch the vid and see if they show the “before”.

  65. Xtina

    The campaign has a good idea but is poorly executed. I strongly disliked their “find the retouched image” game because you had to click on every single model in order to get a close up of their face, and every time you clicked on their picture, it automatically assumed you were guessing the image was retouched. Basically, it’s not really a game at all. Don’t get my hopes up and then dash them by not really having a game!

  66. donna

    I absolutely love this ad campaign, I thought it was so fun and beautiful. I found 4 retouches, but there were probably many more. Their HD foundation really is something special. It truly does look great on camera.

  67. Brenda

    I do like how the ad is un-retouched, the thing that bothers me though is that it looks like the colour is a bit off for her foundation cause her neck and face are different.

  68. Mirna

    This is great, now I want to go out & buy this.

  69. Jimena

    Finally! so cool =)

  70. Tiffany

    what does it matter when it’s obvious she already has great skin? how about someone with imperfections that still show up even when you apply makeup?

  71. LOVE THIS! Still she will look unretouched thousand times better than I do – with Photoshop 😉

  72. Lindy

    You can tell that she has nice skin, but it is refreshing to see someone who looks more real, which makes the look feel more accessaible to those of us who are not supermodels.

  73. Luisafer

    Love this campaign!!!! not retouched… great, that´s hao we all look we are always unretouched, so, love reality!!! Besides the pic looks great!!!

  74. Angelcat47

    I applaud MUFE for doing this…I am 49 years old,but really worry about much younger women not realizing that the unnaturally perfect skin texture in photoshopped images is unattainable.

  75. More ads like these please!!!

  76. Brenda

    I LOVE IT!!!! I love that you can see the faint lines under her eyes. She looks amazing, she’s gorgeous and has great, young skin, and she looks REAL. Not plastic.

  77. Stephanie

    Wow, she’s holding the camera upside down.

  78. tkwan

    I am bought. Well done MUFE!

  79. Karin

    Well, she obviously has perfect skin and isn’t a day over 24, so she wouldn’t need retouching anyhow. Also, like someone stated above, the lighting used at the photo shoot will make a huge difference to how the skin appears.

    In any case, I’ve heard that the foundation is very good and I’m curious to try it, but you can’t buy MUFE where I live.

  80. I’d like to see the photo from the compact camera (which looks to be…upside-down?), ha ha.

  81. Laura

    She’s still wearing fake lashes but at least it’s not the obscenely computer generated lashes in any of the jessica biel pictures, or any other mascara ad to be fair. I like it, it makes you think the whole look is more attainable than thinking, yeah i would look like that too if i could bring photoshop with me everywhere