Bren Lee
December 29, 2015 5:17 pm

It’s a well-known fact that many makeup companies alter their product ads. Some companies have come under fire several times for using false lashes in mascara ads, while skincare brands have been accused of overly airbrushing and making their models’ skin look too perfect and unrealistic.

Recently, Buzzfeed highlighted a different issue in ads, asking the question, “What if beauty ads only used the actual product being advertised?”

The resulting answer was a series of beauty ads Photoshopped to showcase only the product it was advertising. The website posted several ads with a before and after photo: the before photo shows an ad with a model promoting a beauty product.The after photo has been digitally altered to remove what the graphic designers at Buzzfeed consider extraneous product placement — so in an ad for nail polish, most of Gwen Stefani’s makeup was removed. You can view a video slideshow of the videos below.

In Gwen Stefani’s ads for OPI, does it really matter whether or not she’s wearing eyeliner if the ad is, presumably, more about the nail polish? In the after-photo, her liner, mascara, brow filler, lipstick, and blush have been removed, and flyaways are put back where they were.

To be honest, in the ad without her eyeliner, I barely notice her nail polish. In the original photo, the graphic black lines of her eyeliner do a better job of drawing the eye to the graphic lines of her polish. Besides, Gwen Stefani is well known for experimenting with her makeup looks. Seeing her in a beauty ad without looking done-up doesn’t feel right.

Many viewers of the ad and readers of the post seemed to be confused as well. As one Youtube commenter pointed out, makeup is about the whole look.

@BuzzFeed You are doing it wrong: What’s misleading about advertising is photoshop not the additional make-up we use with a single product.

— m (@maicastaneda) December 19, 2015

On the other hand, in the ad with Janelle Monae for CoverGirl, the effect actually seems to work. In the after photo, her eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, brow filler, lip gloss, and blush have been removed, and the eye is drawn to her smooth skin. Since the focus of the ad is on foundation and skin, it makes sense. Maybe less is more when it comes to skincare. However, for makeup, most of the ads simply prove that more makeup generally makes for a much more fun photoshoot.

(Image via Youtube)

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