Make Up For Ever: The Unretouched Ad Campaign for Spring 2011

20 Apr

MUFE Unretouched #1

Towards the end of class on Friday, we touched on the idea of beauty represented through photography and advertisements, but most importantly, the techniques of using photoshopping and airbrushing to better these photos and ads. This reminded me of a popular make-up ad from not too long ago…

In the spring of 2011, famous beauty blog Temptalia featured the popular make-up brand Make Up For Ever’s (MUFE) launch of their new foundation, the High Definition (HD) Invisible Coverage Foundation. Accompanying this launch was their advertisement claiming to be the first unretouched, non-airbrushed ad in the beauty industry. I remember this product being the craze when it came out that spring. I walked into a Sephora with my older sister, and representatives from MUFE were there testing the foundation on customers and claiming that this was the new top-selling foundation on the high-end market at Sephora. (Apparently, they are also the “exclusive beauty retailer for this product.”)

Right now, their HD line is called “HD Unretouched,” which can be found on the MUFE website featuring the same photo of the model on the left as well as a re-emphasis on the “*Not Retouched” next to her photo. This model’s ad is not the only one MUFE released for their product. The brand also created ads including women of color, as seen below.

The most intriguing part of these ads are their taglines: “You’re looking at the first unretouched make up ad,” and, “Real life is unretouched, just like this ad.”

By applying their foundation on women of color, they show that their brand is versatile in shade range, but the main objective is not targeted towards having that “natural” or perfect look. Rather, it elicits this sense that all women can achieve that retouched look.

It provokes the idea that you don’t need airbrushing or photoshopping to look perfect, but you need this foundation. You still need make-up.

…So, what is “real life”? Should we look “retouched”?

MUFE Unretouched Ad #2   MUFE Unretouched #3


Posted by on April 20, 2013 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Make Up For Ever: The Unretouched Ad Campaign for Spring 2011

  1. victoriadan

    April 22, 2013 at 1:20 am

    At first, I definitely thought “Wow! That’s so great. Women who put on makeup don’t have to feel like they need to live up to an unrealistic standard.” But your last note really prompted me to think about this ad campaign differently. The line under the main tag in the ads still say that you can look flawless with their product, which upholds high expectations of beauty for women. This makes me think of the nature vs. artifice juxtaposition. Is this makeup ad “bad” because it promotes an “unnatural” look, or is an au naturel appearance overrated? I personally think the line we draw between acceptable and unacceptable is a bit arbitrary, especially when it comes to skin. After all, lots of women use various creams, moisturizers, scrubs, cleansers, and toners to treat a variety of skin imperfections. Not necessarily to have perfect, flawless skin–but wouldn’t that be a bonus if it were possible?

  2. laurenkchow

    April 23, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I agree with a lot of what Victoria is saying, but I’d like to call into question exactly what we are defining as “perfect” or good – why is achieving a “retouched” look good in the first place? Why are we trying to have “flawless” skin with no visible scars, moles, or even pores, honestly? I feel like the makeup that these ads are promoting might help women ‘bloom’ (as Bordo would say) within conventional beauty norms, but not ‘transcend’ them which I think would ultimately lead to more people’s concept of beauty being changed.

    Also, even though the two ads at the end of Lilly’s post feature women of color which is AWESOME – don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic that we have any representation at all since that’s a rare thing – but they do feature women of color who embody features that approximate traditionally white and/or normatively beautiful features. For example, they are both very light-skinned and extremely skinny (also apparently both naked? We could talk a lot about the fetishization of women of color…). The Asian woman has pretty large eyes, and the one on the right has blue-ish eyes. These women still have features that MANY people could never achieve without digital “retouching”, although the ads say otherwise. What significance does that have?

  3. xiaodiw

    April 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I have always been a big fan of photography, especially commercial portraits like these beauty ads. During my internship in a photography studio, I learned a lot about lighting which was really powerful, but what was more powerful was the editing process. The fashion industry focuses on “photoshopping” a lot. It almost seems impossible to have a untouched beauty shoot appearing in the market. However, what is funny is, as my teacher from the studio told me, the highest level of using photoshop is to make it look natural in a way that it was never retouched. How amusing! These photographers are trying their best to do so that their work cannot be seen. Just like what women do with make ups.

    It seems weird to me that when makeup meets photoshop, photoshop seems like the bigger villain when both serves to perfect one’s face. This reminds me of the discussion of paint and facial enhancement we had in class where paint is treated like a fake mask while facial enhancement was just considered as an improvement to the original condition. This will go back to Victoria’s point of natural vs artificial. If “retouching” is not natural, then why can make-up be?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: