Cosmetics advertising

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Actresses Gong Li and Andie MacDowell have both appeared in many advertisements for L'Oréal.

Cosmetic advertising is the promotion of cosmetics and beauty products by the cosmetics industry through a variety of media. The advertising campaigns are usually aimed at women wishing to improve their appearance, commonly to increase physical attractiveness and reduce the signs of ageing.


Many campaigns have come under fire through their alleged use of pseudoscience and their promotion of unrealistic goals. Moreover, many campaigns are accused of inducing harmful habits on people (such as bulimia and anorexia), and leading to destructive plastic surgery practices.

In addition, cosmetic advertising is often accused of excessively using photo manipulation to enhance the appearance of models, instead of using the cosmetics themselves, creating an unrealistic image of the product's benefits, Estée Lauder for example.

Cosmetics are a major expenditure for many women, with the cosmetics industry grossing around 7 billion dollars a year, according to a 2008 YWCA report.[1] Cosmetic retailers design advertising to alter women's attitudes toward cosmetics, encouraging them to buy more products.[1] Many advertisers shape this attitude by encouraging women to feel dissatisfied with their appearance.[1] According to sociologist, Jean Kilbourne, adolescents are particularly vulnerable because they are new and inexperienced consumers and are the prime targets of many advertisements [1].[2] Study after study has proven that repeated exposure to ideal beauty as portrayed by the media causes detrimental psychological effects in children and adolescents ranging from distorted body images and lowered self-esteem to eating disorders and steroid use.[3]

This thin ideal represents less than 5% of the American population leaving 95% of females with a beauty norm that is impossible to meet.[4] Not only is it impossible to meet, but often times the model in the advertisement has been photo manipulated.[5] The flawlessness of advertising woman is, in fact, an illusion created by makeup artists, photographers, and photo re-touchers.[5] Each image is painstakingly worked over: teeth and eyeballs are bleached white; blemishes, wrinkles, and stray hairs are airbrushed away.[5] Media images convey normative information as to what an attractive body looks like that prompts women to evaluate their own body against this normative standard.[6] According to Kilbourne, the number one wish for girls ages 11 to 17 is to be thinner, and girls as young as five have expressed fears of getting fat.[7] Eighty percent (80%) of 10-year-old girls have dieted, and at any one time, 50% of American women are currently dieting [2].[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Influence of Advertisement on Women & the Attitude Toward Cosmetics". Retrieved 2016-04-21. 
  2. ^ Kilbourne, Jean. "Beauty...and the Beast of Advertising". Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Hoffmann, Aimee. "The Beauty Ideal:Unveiling Effects of Media Exposure to Children" (PDF). Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Harrison, Catherine; Robinette, Kathleen (17 March 2012). &Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf "CAESAR: Summary statistics for the adult population (ages 18–65) of the United States of America" Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Retrieved 21 April 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Rea, Jason (Fall 2012). "Actual Results May Vary": Toward Fiercer National Regulation of Digitally Manipulated Cosmetics Advertisements". William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Gurari, Inbal; Hetts, John; Strobe, Michael (2006). "Beauty in the "I" of the Beholder: Effects of Idealized Media Portrayals on Implicit Self-Image". Basic and Applied Social Psychology 28 (3). Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Eating Disorders: Body Image and Advertising". HealthyPlace. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 

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