May 4, 2010

Yay or Nay: Disclosure in Your Makeup Commercials and Advertisements

About two years old word broke in the UK that Penelope Cruz had a little drama surrounding her L’Oreal Telescopic ad which users felt exaggerated the effects of the mascara. Her commercial proceeded to pimp out lashes that were 60 x’s the volume and length. Mmmm obviously for beauty junkies we take all this with a grain of salt as we’ve tried so many products that promise similar and never really seen THOSE results right?


I was recently flipping through a celeb rag at my dentist office and came across Drew Barrymore’s latest ad for Covergirl mascara and imagine my surprise when I seen an itty, bitty, tiny print that Drew was sporting lash inserts and results would vary, yada, yada, yada…full disclosure.

Interesting right?

Basically the ad was fully disclosing that you weren’t going to see the same results. So wait…Drew’s super long, full lashes would not be mine if I purchased so and so mascara? What? GASP! Really?!

Seriously though, we all go into a mascara purchase (or at least most of us do) well versed enough to know that the claims are utterly and completely exaggerated and we probably won’t ever see the same results as those in the ad or commercial.

Flash forward several days later I see a commercial on TV for the new Covergirl mascara and a disclosure on the commercial as well! Wow…magazines and TV commercials?

All this got me to thinking about disclosures and whether I felt it was a yay or nay to disclose the results of products in advertisements and commercials.

I have to say I both yay and nay it.

First off I nay it because it does take the joy out of the product purchasing a tiny bit. I mean if I’m purchasing say a brand new eye cream that promises to make me look 50 years younger….I’m going into that purchased excited that maybe I’ll see results. Hell, if they proceed to tell me in small print that it probably won’t work it would be such a killjoy right?

And I say yay because I would honestly like to know if I’ll see the same results as the advertisement or the promise if I’m dishing out big money for something.

However, I don’t necessarily need to know that a model has lash inserts, well doh! BUT one thing I would love would be if they disclosed actual product used. I mean have you ever seen a glossy ad with someone looking utterly gorgeous and flawless and the ad turns out to me for some drugstore palette…..I’d love it if they disclosed that the product on the model isn’t the actual product you’re purchasing. As, hey, we all know that they are using other stuff to make her (or him) look that incredible. Or lipgloss ads where the model has incredibly full, shiny lips and you RUN to buy the product but obviously she’s wearing something else because no WAY are you getting those results.

Interesting to Muse over isn’t it?

What do you think of full disclosure in makeup commercial and advertisements?

Yay? Because you really want to know what you’re buying into.

Or Nay? Because you don’t want to joy taken out of the product before you even got the chance to try it for yourself.

Or both?

Share it!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • kelly

    I work in advertising as a TV producer. I can tell you that truth in advertising laws are getting really much more strict than they use to be. False, misleading and bs claims are resulting in legal action and government violations. To my knowledge (from my experience, which isn’t in makeup per se, is that the product must be used in the ad. However, other products are also always used. So while a lip gloss looks gorgeous, they aren’t telling you about the primers, fillers, additional pigments, liners and lipstick that is mixed into the actual gloss, that is on the lip. Then begins the retouching. I imagine getting those lashes in that Drew Barrymore CG ad are like what I go through to get pasta to look amazing on camera.

    I work with some food products and we have had to jump through crazy hoops when determining things like the official number of whole grains on the label and supers. It keeps a lot of lawyers very busy!

    I’m not surprised ads are starting to include these disclaimers and am ok with it. While I will continue to chase the dream, not everyone understands that it is an image. Sure WE understand that, but you would be surprised by who doesn’t get it.

    Where I would love to see some regulation is with magazine editor picks for product. I am fairly certain they don’t test those products, unless they talk about what the testers thought. They should be noted somewhere for the ads they actually are.

    • the Muse

      great post kelly! always curious about the advertising side of things. I gotta say I could totally understand those that simply don’t get it. It’s also understandable because people see it and instantly want the same effect, they don’t want to know about what goes into getting the look but simply getting THAT look. I agree 100% Teen Vogue, Glamour, Etc…those really need serious disclosure!

  • Lorraine

    Heh…this is a tough one for me. I seriously cannot fathom anyone believing that A) those are all Drew’s eyelashes and B) that the mascara will give them THOSE kinds of lashes!

    I don’t take the ads too seriously anymore…I just like them for the pretty pictures.

    However, I don’t necessarily like the government getting so involved with private business. As a capitalist, I think that these brands and magazines will eventually get exposed for their false advertising. Anyone who wants to see how the product TRULY works can go to Sephora, Makeup Alley, and a number of beauty blogs! I think that it provides the perfect balancing effect for false advertising.

    • the Muse

      hey lorrain!

      LOL too true but I imagine alot of people are suckered into it. I agree…alot of information available on the internet, blogs, forums, etc….so you can’t really be mislead however I do like the idea of some disclosure.

      It’s a yay or nay situation for me 🙂

  • Nunu

    soon we’ll get disclosures on clothing ads – “item will not look good on you unless you’re 1.78m tall and a size zero with breast inserts.”
    I work on the legal side of things and as in the nature of my job, I can argue for both sides of the coin:
    On one hand, the customer can say that the on screen/paper results equate to a fraudulent misrepresentation which led them to purchase the product on a false claim and as a result they suffered damages, or they can repudiate the purchase.
    On the other hand, the most important qualifier is reasonableness. Was the level of exaggeration in the advert merely that of reasonable puffing which is not legally binding? or was there some kind of guarantee offered on the results? Would a reasonable person in the position of the consumer have believed the exaggerated results shown as the true results or would they have taken into account that all advertising contain exaggerations?
    It’s questions like these that keep me in a steady supply of eyeshadow xD

    • the Muse

      LOL nunu great point 😀

      love the different views 😀 I’m a yay/nay girl myself on this point 🙂

  • Gen

    AS we (well i) get older, i know very much that i will not look the same or have the same effect as in a beauty related commercial.
    But very young girls do sometimes think the other way. teenagers a very into magazines and i think its impotant to have those disclosures to amke them realize that their lashes wont grow as far as the moon…..

    • the Muse

      gen true but I think we are also in a new generation and younger girl’s become smarter and smarter in all things including sex eep! 12 year old’s fascinate me with their knowledge levels!

  • JoElla

    I have to admit to having a mixed bag of emotions about this.

    I am a savvy enough shopper to realize this on my own, but isn’t part of the fun of “maybe, just maybe…” part of the illusion of beauty shopping?

    • the Muse

      joella my thoughts EXACTLY! I like that they disclose but I must agree it does ruin and kill the joy slightly LOL 🙂

  • Michelle

    NAY TO Disclosures! Obviously her lashes look flawless and some individuals are very gullible in believing your lashes will look like this. Many must understand that this is a model and your lashes will not look like hers, it is just a picture/commercial and big fuss is definitely uncalled for about something like this. It’s not misleading it’s an advertisment, you will not have the same lashes she does. Nobody says in the advertisments that the person who purchases the product is going to 100% have lashes just like the model!

  • Dana

    I think its a yay and nay too. It makes sense with people suing over more and more redundant things.

    I also think of it in this way. I DISLIKE those anti-smoking commercials where they pulled all those ridiculous stunts for shock value. I’m 25, so unless I have the attention span of a fly, I’ve been taught my whole life in school and home that smoking is really bad for your health. Then I think they might be targeting younger kids and people who don’t have access to the information for whatever reason.

    So this might be helpful for younger girls who are just starting to read Seventeen and think you have to be perfect to be beautiful. They’re watching “The Hills” and seeing that idiotic Heidi Montag thing and the rest of them and get the message you just have to be “attractive” and crazy to be “successful”. So if we teach kids younger to take ads and photoshopped images with a grain of salt and it helps them not judge themselves so harshly and we get less Heidi’s and more intelligent women, then its a yay.

    So its really a “for each his own” thing. I’m really pathetic and a sucker for the packaging. If the tube looks pretty I want it.

    • the Muse

      same here dana both yay and naying. and I’m hte same packaging totally kills me 😀 as well! and yes sadly youth is easily influenced but I do believe the generation is getting smarter and smarter and aren’t all about looks, attractiveness, etc…some girls, thankfully, are smart enough to know Seventeen or Teen Vogue or their fav tv shows and actors/actresses aren’t as perfect as they seem 🙂

  • laura r

    as someone who was and is hooked on magazines, i have to admit that at the age of 14 when i started getting into style and makeup, i assumed retouching but didn’t know enough to think, “oh, those lashes must be falsies or that shadow can’t be the same product.” i was instead bitterly disappointed in my own appearance and also craving whatever product they were selling.

    obviously i am past that point, but i do think for younger or more naive people that it’s not going to hurt to disclose that stuff in the small print. i admire CG for putting that out there voluntarily and it would make me more likely to support them by buying their products.

    i also see what you’re saying about the buzzkill- believe me i have experienced some serious killjoys in my life- but i think that since we all suspect that there are other things going on in a promo image, honesty is the best policy. maybe i’ll buy the set of falsies instead of the mascara! 🙂

    btw Musey, i noticed that there are no disclaimers on the last few reviews your posted, stating how you obtained the lip products. is there a reason for that?

    • the Muse

      laura which posts are those? I disclose in all reviews…? which are missing a disclosure?

      • laura r

        the Dior lip gelee one is where i first noticed it….maybe you moved your disclosure signature?

        • the Muse

          hmmm interesting laura. will check. perhaps I didn’t add the disclosure b/c I mentioned in the post that I purchased it 🙂


    not going to lie I always have known that in ads that they have shopped.
    not used the product.
    used a better brands stuff.
    I think we almost all know that drugstore makeups will enver give us that airbrushed porless look. 🙂

    But I am so angry whenever I read the fine prints because it is not as bad, but its so dishonest. For instance those drugstore serum for lash boosting the lashes like I couldn’t even figure out anything from the ads even when I did read the fine print. (I may be a makeup snob but generally I think higher ennd brands do less fishy ads.)

  • Brooke

    I agree with both. I can see where the disclosure would be a good thing to have because people are so crazy and sue happy now days it’s probably good to have everything covered. However, it does take the “fun” out of buying some products. I have fairly thin lashes and have come to the realization that they are never going to be full and gorgeous but it’s not going to stop me from trying thickening mascaras…haha.
    On another note, it annoys me on certain ads that it does not tell all products used. For example, on Sephora’s website they may have a model who I would like to know what blush she is wearing, but they are just saying that she is wearing shadow and liner because that is the product they are trying to promote…Only shadow and liner? Really? I’m sure she has that healthy glow everyday with no makeup at all…PLEASE! haha. Sorry, I’m off my soapbox!

  • kristen

    In the UK we have to have disclosures…though they can be hilarious
    “inserts used” “has post production” …I find the mascara adverts the most annoying as they are SO fake. The ads are there to make you want to buy a product because you believe the product will do what its advertising it will do. The fairy tale eyelashes in these ads though as are so unbelievable. The worst is Loreal and Mabelline. OH MY GODS they are SO fake.
    Id like to see the real effects of mascara on the models..Good lash looks can be achieved so why lie SO much. it would make me want to buy the product far more than some far fetched fake.

  • Lanye

    I say YES PLEASE! I am highly allergic to sunscreen, though I don’t know exactly which ingredients I’m allergic because I react to some and not to others. I would like to see in the Clinique ads that their ‘hypoallergenic’ sunscreen is only hypoallergenic for some people. I just recently bought some of the new formula and the reaction I get from it isn’t as bad, but I would get hives, blisters and swell up like a balloon from using the old formula that was marketed as ‘hypoallergenic’.

    This is definitely the case for some beauty products containing sunscreen. However, I’m a special case and I know this probably isn’t normal for most people.

  • Su

    I am totally into yay!!! lol..
    I feel I have to know that the product I am buying and what kind of result they will bring (even though it is hard since you cannot see from the advertisement) but at least I won’t be so over excited
    and it is important to tell people that hey if you want to be this pretty you need to use this and these and ya hell lot of photoshop
    I feel many young girls are easily taken in by what normal people are like and that gorgeous people in magazine are not exactly the same outside
    my younger sister and her friends are a bit similar to that..I remember telling them about after looking at mascara advertisement that they are not her real lashes and you cannot achieve that kind of result but what the reply they gave me was ” but her lashes are so beautiful and long..mine are so short ” yada yada… even though they know advertisement are photoshop they still feel that they are not up to beauty standard…sad case

  • Fuuka

    Yeah that is kinda sad but you should know better than to believe all that you see. I have really thick lashes, so I kinda expect those volumizing ads to help my lashes look like that, but that is because I have two lash lines. (lucky genetic mutation LOL me and sis got them)

  • Comrade_Garlic

    For me part of the ad is the fantasy. I know I’m not going to look like the model/actress whatever in the ad. It’s a tube of mascara, a foundation, shampoo, basically nothing that is going to cure cancer or end world hunger.

    I’d like to see the ads for debt cures, quasi medical products and those annoying $1 a day for life insurance ads gone. Those are the things that do hurt people.

    • the Muse

      I agree comrade! It’s def part of the fantasy and the disclosure totally kills it for me LOL! but I def agree that disclosure is a must so I’m a yay and nay girl on this. LOL true 😀 very very true!

  • DivaShop

    Big YAY! I think it’s about time they disclosed these things.

    • Charmaine

      totally OT, but you look familiar, Diva Shop. are you on MUA, Kaboodle, StyleFeeder, etc.?

  • SilhouetteScreams

    It annoys the crap out of me when they dont use the products theyre advertising >=| they can disclose all they want, but they should just use the damn products. And in this case, I’d love it if they didnt use false lashes. The ad might not be as attractive, but it’d be more endearing.

    • the Muse

      me too SS really hate that 🙁 as I buy the product assuming it’ll look like that on my eyes or lips and really they are NOT using the product at all GRR!

  • ruby

    full disclosure, yes please! 🙂 i know everyone is saying they dont really believe the promises made in advertising, but there is a reason why advertisements exist in the first place. they are cleverly designed to manipulate us into buying products. and you bet it works. some advertisements can be also informative (of course it’s useful to know that such and such product is available) and they can also be artistic and funny- so i dont wish them complete death. lol BUT we deserve to have all available information about the advertisement and the product, i would even push for full disclosure of ingredients and toning down unrealistic promises, especially concerning skincare products. also allergy warning for anything that is applied on skin or hair. If is much easier to ignore a tiny text than it is to find that information when it is needed.

  • Kelsey

    a lot of us are like “well, obviously…” but if there are those people who think it’s true then there’s a problem. it’s not always so obvious.

  • Charmaine

    2nd the yay and nay [yea and nay? I dunno], but right now I’m too tired to put in more than half a cent, zzzz….

  • twaigos

    I love the idea of FINALLY disclosing that the models are wearing false lashes or something along those lines, but honestly I would prefer if they stopped using falsies altogether and just used the damn mascara! I think just before and after shots (bare lashes vs with the mascara) would be enough for us regular folk.