Rant & Rave: Beauty Ads

Share: Tell us what you love and hate about Beauty Ads!

my answer: I like when brands put together interesting shoots with their latest products, but I think it’s important that it is a cohesive campaign – I want to see breakdowns or breakouts of what was used, behind-the-scenes footage, etc. It helps to reinforce that the products were actually used on set and how you can “get the look.” I don’t like when you can’t see any texture on the skin.


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k Avatar

Overly airbrushes skin, OBVIOUS false lash use for mascara ads drives me nuts too. And I hate when polish companies show ‘swatches’ of their products on nails when they were obviously photoshopped into the ad? China Glaze does it a lot. Like c’mon, paint them and take an actual picture, please!

Ani_BEE Avatar

Most companies photoshoop their swatches and or products into the packaging as well.

False lashes in commercials drives me nuts for maraca. I think Rimmed is the only brands that stopped doing that.

Eli Avatar

I don’t think it would be far fetched to say that we ALL hate photoshop in ads and false lashes in mascara ads. It’s just too obvious, too “in your face” to buy the s***. A marketing gutu once said that n matter the ad, the product itself sells, not the campaign. So please, *brands*, please, use real, unfotoshopped photos – like, if your product works, why photoshop the effect 😀

I don’t like it when feel I’m being fooled, and that’s how I feel when I watch L’Oreal and Maybelline ads… Time to change the strategy, we can put up with a pimple or two, or a few wrinkles around the eyes…

Melanie Morin Avatar

My pet peeve is when they use a 20 year-old model to advertise anti-aging products targeted for mature women. Of course she doesn’t have wrinkles, she’s 20 years old!

Mariah Avatar

OMG YES. Like, that girl is 22, why would she use anti-wrinkle cream anyway?

And the one ad that does use an older woman, Diane Keaton, they only film her at a HUGE distance and with a “Barbra Walters lens” (blurry)

malinda jane Avatar

It seems that higher end brands don’t put a little notation of what the model is wearing in the ad, like drugstore brands do. I get that it doesn’t look as elegant but the whole point of the ad is to get people to buy the product; so then you’ve got to scour the internet trying to figure out the exact shade of lipstick Vanessa Paradis wore in the Rouge Coco ads, or what have you.
If you’re going to expect me to shell out for it, at least don’t make me guess as to how to achieve the same look you’re selling!

Dominique Avatar

Vanessa Paradis was supposed to wear the RC Mademoiselle ( 5 ), but I don’t know if it was true ? I really loved this ad, Vanessa Paradis looked great ( young but not too young ). I love the Ilamasqua models because Alex Box is the Artistic Director !
But most of the time Photoshop is a mess, it brings nothing to makeup, quite the opposite.

KaseyCannuck Avatar

Rant #1: Definitely Photoshopping! There is so little left of the real person wearing the real product that it makes me wonder “Why bother?” May as well go with Anime or digital ads and save the models and photographers fees!!

Rant #2: The ads showing the latest and greatest products to get so-and-so’s look that almost always have (more often than not) a MAC product from the latest LE collection. In other words, showing a product that was likely sold out before the ad even went to print! Kind of a cruel joke to anyone hoping to get their hands on it! I say “more often than not MAC” because I see this with other LE collections as well, but much more often MAC because of their bi-weekly collection releases.

MJ Avatar

I just hate how boring makeup commercials are. It’s like, hey, here’s a blonde girl opening her eyes and showing off her impossibly long eyelashes and her Def Not Photoshopped Aryan-Blue eyes, and here’s the women of America collectively groaning because we thought this was meant to be a mascara commercial, not a false lashes commercial. It’s all boring and vapid.

Look at Old Spice’s marketing. They took the most mundane product ever, deodorant, and thought up a brilliant and hilarious ad campaign to get people watching and interested, and it works!

Whenever I see ads for makeup, skincare, or hair products, I just get embarrassed. It’s like the people working in marketing think women are dumb and only care about being pretty and nothing else. Can’t we mix it up? Can’t a company take a risk instead of placing some model on a Lazy Susan, rotating her around, and blowing a fan at her perfectly coiffed hair? Why are these ads so much more glamour obsessed than they need to be? It’s all been done before. What happened to creativity in marketing? What happened to trendsetting? Makeup is goop you put on your face. It’s face-goop. You cake it on when you get up, and wash it off before bed. It’s fun, but it’s not that serious. I would like a bit of light-hearted fun with beauty products.

Co-Washing Avatar

I feel like there is a lot of creativity in beauty ads, more so than most other industries. I enjoy seeing that creativity. However there is of course the unrealistic expectations it sets for women’s beauty.

Kgll Avatar

Well, I agree with the masses. Beauty ads are blatantly phony. Whenever I see ads that are too digitized, I automatically feel that the products do not work as they claim. Maybelline is not fooling anyone with those false lashes, Madonna does not look like melted candle wax, and natural hair will never flow like a unicorn tail . . . ever. Companies need to show how their products actually work. It really is not that difficult of a task.

Danielle Avatar

I really only look at beauty ads if they are trying to push a color product (i.e. eye shadow, lipstick, nail varnish, etc). But I never look at ads for skincare or mascara because I know they are enhanced or Photoshopped.

Veronica Avatar

Photoshopping in general annoys me, but there’s one particular use of it that infuriates me when I see it – using digital imagery or strong lighting to whitewash darker-skinned women so that they appear lighter. It’s SO degrading to both the model involved and the young women who are reading these magazines. It’s ridiculous that in the year 2013 Western culture is still trying to crowd WOC out of the modern perception of beauty.

Key Avatar

I’d much rather have honest ads that look messier/sloppier than most ads but actually show the product being used, how it looks and works etc than ads that are completely fake and provide no valid information

MJ Avatar

I don’t like the mascara ads that you can clearly tell the actresses in them have on false eyelashes. Nobody’s eyelashes can get that long with just mascara! Drives me crazy…

Lily W Avatar

Airbrushing and Photoshop in adverts is really annoying and can be very misleading but what I dislike even more is the meaningless and empty claims so many companies come out with. And to make it worse they will put in tiny writing at the bottom of their adverts ” 77% of 75 women agree” – why do they have such a small number of testers? Because the product they are trying to sell isn’t actually as miraculous as they claim. That is why we need this wonderful site.

Mariah Avatar

Yes! This is why Temptalia is like, vitally necissary. I mean, it’s a fun site, and there’s always new interesting things here, but just that Christine gives us REAL pictures and HONEST reviews means the most to me. I trust her opinion, I don’t trust ads.

Mariella Avatar

I like the ads to reflect what I can really expect from the product, rather than so much photo-shopping or other techniques that really falsify how the product will look/perform, etc. The first thing that comes to mind is mascara ads that are computer enhanced or filmed with lash inserts. I want to see what I can realistically expect from the mascara (and the same applies to other products as well – lipsticks, glosses, foundation….)

zainab Avatar

I guess my answer is that it depends a lot on the brand. I love the kind of campaigns Illamasqua and MAC run, because they’re often so unique and such beautifully shot images- they basically transcend ad copy and become art. A few high end brands have managed similar things, though their imagery tends to be a bit more conservative. My only issue with this type of campaign, though, is how they use the cosmetics they’re shilling; sometimes it’s really hard to tell which, if any, of the advertised products have been used. This becomes especially obvious when websites like Temptalia review the products and they’re awful, and the beautiful ad campaign seems to be showing you different cosmetics or body paint or something other than what’s being advertised.

Then there are the more prosaic beauty ads (skincare ads in particular) where you get some older actress who probably relies on more than the advertised product to stay looking ‘Hollywood middle aged’, or a highly photoshopped model, telling you that this product will make your skin *perfect*. And you know that the product has probably not been anywhere near the model in the ad. And the ad copy tends to use a ton of fairly meaningless phrases (like ‘advanced hyper light creme’) or sciency words (‘hydra’, ‘derived from enzymes’) to describe the product, but you never see a before and after shot, and they never really describe the product in any meaningful detail (like if it’s silicone based or uses fragrances or what-not). About the only positive things about these ads is that they work wonderfully as anticipation builders, but I don’t think there’s more than a handful of consumers who *believe* that the model looks good because of ‘Brand X wonder cream’. And they’re an interesting barometer of beauty standards.

Then there are mascara ads, which earn a gold star in lying, a a special place of hatred in my heart. You always hope the mascara works like it says, even though you, and every other cosmetics user out there, knows it is total BS and the ad even says that the model is wearing falsies AND photoshopped.

Wednesday Avatar

You know, I used to love pouring over fashion rags and in particular the beauty section when I was younger, but I’ve lost the love over the years due to the ridiculous nature of most beauty ads. I would rather research products for myself, check out what is said in the beauty blogs, or even watch a complete stranger on youtube, than try to make an educated decision from a beauty ad. I hate false lashes on models for mascara ads, I hate OTT airbrushing that renders features almost indiscernible. On the other side of the coin, I can appreciate the incredible vision and artistry behind some seasonable beauty campaigns. They really can bring the whole story together and create cohesion, a solid vision, but they do not influence my beauty buying whatseover. This is precisely what happened this summer with the Dior campaign. I thoroughly enjoyed the promo photos, but did not buy any products from the collection surprisingly.

reena Avatar

also dislike extreme photoshop commercials/ads! such as revlon, they use Emma Stone in their ads, and she is soooooo airbrushed! in reality she has freckles all over her face, but the ads shows extreme flawless face!

Yellowlantern Avatar

The only pet peeves I’ll list here is that I hate the plastic skin look in ads. I also hate it when a model has been photoshoped to look like they barely have a nose. It creeps me out in a vaguely uncanny valley sort of way. Guerlain and Estee Lauder ads are some of the worst when it comes to the plastic-skin-no-nose look.

The ad for Guerlain’s Maxi Lash mascara is pretty much the epitome of everything that annoys and freaks me out about makeup ads. (It even looks like her head is just floating above her neck rather than actually being connected.)

Jackie Avatar

Mascara ads have gotten ridiculous. Every single brand is guilty. Just show me how it will actually look on my normal, natural lashes, please.
Also, ads that don’t have a list of every product the model is wearing. So many times I’ll see an ad for one product but really love something else she’s wearing, and there’s no way to find out what it is.

Lindsay Avatar

Honestly? I wish beauty ads focused less on making women feel like they NEED to buy a product because the way they look without the product somehow isn’t good enough. I wish beauty ads were less about what is wrong with the way we look (“You need to have fuller lashes! Plumper lips! Less wrinkles! No dark circles! Smoother skin! And here is something you can buy so you don’t offend anyone with your inferior lashes/lips/skin!”) and more about expressing yourself with makeup or having fun with it or celebrating all the different ways women can be beautiful. And this site is an example of the alternative! With thorough information, comparison, and honesty, consumers can make informed decisions about what’s the right (or close to) product for them! And we don’t have to be made to feel bad about ourselves or feel pressured to look a certain way in order to want to buy makeup! That’s what kills me.

Christina Avatar

The ridiculous photoshopping and airbrushing to the point where the look on the ad is unattainable for normal women or even the very models photographed in reality. I remember when I was 10 years old and I saw an ad with a beautiful blonde woman wearing a Loreal lipstick. I put that ad on my wall and looked at it everyday with the strongest conviction that if I got that same lipstick, I would look as beautiful as she did. When my grandma finally gave in and got me that lipstick, needless to say, I was extremely disappointed and got my reality check. I feel like these models are beautiful enough, that a few flaws here and there would make them (and the products used) far more appealing to the masses, without putting an unrealistic face of “beauty” out there.

Mariah Avatar

I hate that, at least in America, the ads can make ridiculous claims without repercussion. My mom will believe anything, she literally buys ANY product that swears they will straighten your hair. And I don’t feel like she’s all that stupid. And if she believes the claims, then how many other millions of others do? She thinks they can’t make false claims, because the government would stop them. But they don’t have time for that! I actually had to coach her for years to make her realize mascara ads ALWAYS use false lashes.

BUT I do appreciate when they do fun color combos or interesting looks! Even if I know their colors aren’t realistic, it inspires me, and I know I can re-create those looks with better products. And I like when they make colorful and fun looks more mainstream!

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