Make Up For Ever: Unretouched my bum

So earlier today I posted about Make Up For Ever’s apparently unretouched advert. But since then I’ve spotted another version of the ad floating around, in which the model appears to be wearing different makeup, but in an otherwise-identical photo.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two images, both found on the Huffington Post – click for bigger (image one, image two):

I’d like to see an explanation of this discrepancy that doesn’t involve retouching. It’s possible that the difference in make-up colours could be accounted for by colour-correction – but what about the image on the camera screen? On the left-hand photo, no image on the screen. On the right, a faint image of the girl. Colour correction or not, that image has definitely been retouched in.

I guess once again we’ve all been sucked in by a load of hot air. Unretouched? Like hell it is.

12 thoughts on “Make Up For Ever: Unretouched my bum

  1. Emm says:

    Adjusting color or tone isn’t considered retouching. They are claiming they didn’t change any ‘flaws’ on the models skin.

    It seems the picture brightness has been adjusted so there is better clarity of what the model is sitting on. You can see it’s a brown couch instead of a shadow.
    If anyone has ever adjusted photos on a mac or another photo program you can see the kind of adjustment that’s been made isn’t retouching.

  2. Jessie says:

    It looks like there’s been a filter added to the picture on the left like a “hard light” filter or something which can take out details. So the image on the camera screen could have been wiped out due to adding layers and darkening colours since it is so faint in the original ad photo anyways.

  3. Nic says:

    It’s very easy for people to grab official photos of products or brands and post-edit them in Photoshop. Agree? A person could easily take a photo from the Dove Real Beauty campaign, for example, of a woman with freckles, Photoshop her skin clear and then post it back online. That would be out of Dove’s control and they don’t have to claim responsibility for that. 🙂

    If both those photos up there were published by or official photos snagged from Make Up Forever or established cosmetics product reviewers then I would feel the same way you do about this campaign. But that isn’t the case. Dig up the REAL raw image and the published one used in print ads and have faith in this movement again! It’s still a really great one! 🙂

  4. Emily says:

    It’s very tempting to go looking for evidence of lies on the part of the advertiser..but you haven’t found any here. The brightness has been adjusted on the whole picture is all. Every tv and computer screen shows images with different contrast and brightness levels, is only one of those screens showing a truthful image?

    Well done MUFE for showing real glamour, and not telling us we may all be fat frumps but we’re beautiful anyway. (bite me, Dove)

    • copybot says:

      Emily, I agree that it’s been lightened but I don’t think that alone would explain the colour difference. Look how much pinker her makeup is on the left. That’s more than lightening.

      • Emily says:

        We’ll have to agree to disagree then as I think you’re wrong. Your blog though so have it your way, I’m done with it.

  5. Sheesh says:

    Look at those two images again, people. Now which one resembles a typical make up ad and ask yourself why that might be?

    First things first, the in-camera image is actually there, so you’re wrong, copybot, that it was retouched in. You’re right though that the first image is darker, but lighten it up and it still doesn’t match the printed image. That one has been colour balanced selectively to get rid of the magenta (pink) on her face and also on her fingertips. Would a mischievous person think of adding warmth on her fingertips too? I doubt it. It is in fact a natural thing in photos – hands and feet often look pink. So did they press a button to just remove magenta perhaps? Nope, because the lips would turn orange and the rest of the skin would look more yellow. I reckon the highlight on the underside of her arm has also had tone added.

    All nicely balanced skintones to make the product look good, just like retouchers of make up ads always do, that’s why it looks like a typical make up ad. And if you think colour correction isn’t retouching, I can assure you that beauty images can be utterly transformed with colour correction alone. By a skilled retoucher, of course.

    More obvious to the public perhaps is that the top of the image has been darkened down to make their copy read. Look at the top left corner of both images above her middle finger – consistent woodgrain background all the way to the top on the pink faced image and it vignettes to dark on the printed image. Definite, localised colour alteration. Purposefully changing the image to suit their ad’s requirements. Somebody worked on this image, end of.

    So overall, in my professional opinion, I agree with you. I spy a big, fat, attention-grabbing, advertising lie. You’re not looking at the world’s first unretouched make up ad, you’re looking at a selectively altered image.

    I just find it incredibly sad that people are so desperate to believe that they haven’t been fooled by a large company trying to sell them something. Pink faces all round then.

  6. Layne says:

    I think the real point is that her actual face – the part of the photo where the makeup *that they are selling* was applied – was not airbrushed or tampered with. Yes, the tone was adjusted, but both photos showed no lines, pores, circles – whatever it is that we rely on makeup to conceal.

    If they’d used the magenta toned one in their ad, I would still have been impressed. I’m shopping foundation, not color.

  7. Audra Elizabeth (@ohaudra) says:

    Oh honey, get your head out of your ass. When they say “unretouched” they are referring to the MODEL. It doesn’t matter that they added a little blip pic onto the back of the camera or they simply adjusted the color/tone of the pic. If you looked at a picture where they physically adjusted & retouched a model, you’d be shocked at the difference. I have friends who model, and some of them don’t even recognize themselves when their ads are printed. This is next to nothing, and somewhat of a genius ad because they only use their makeup to “retouch” her face. I love Makeup Forever & I buy it frequently.

  8. fashion photographer says:

    Your reaction is a little over the top but fair enough, you don’t know the details of how photography and retouching work these days and you see a drastic difference.

    A lot of the difference is down to a different level of contrast and having images that are significantly different from the actual ad. The image on the left has been over-adjusted with too much contrast being put in and that will give you the dark camera back (yes, the image would have been there but becomes undefined black when the contrast is pushed). It will also exaggerate colours and saturation and that’s why the pink/magenta colours are so prominent in the left image. The shot on the right is washed out and too lacking in contrast. Neither is representative of the actual shot that can be found elsewhere online ( with higher resolution images and that looks very natural.

    The darkening at the top is a layout thing, to make the type stand out, and people wouldn’t generally regard that as “retouching” when talking about a beauty photo.

    I’ve worked on plenty of hair and make-up shoots and also do retouching and I can say that the image I have seen displays all sorts of “flaws” that would definitely be retouched in any regular ad of any kind. They have perhaps decided after the shoot that the makeup was a bit too pink or looked that way the way that image was processed and adjusted that colour (something that can be done in the processing of the raw file and that they would obviously argue falls outside of what is considered “retouching”). Of course global and local colour adjustment is typically part of retouching as well but I think the point is that they perhaps haven’t done any local colour adjustment here and certainly haven’t cloned out any details.

    What they’ve done is use a model with naturally good skin and clear eyes (there are plenty that don’t have these) and then lit her reasonably (it’s not that great or the most flattering light they could have used) and kept adjustments to the basic level any photo would have. It’s akin to what’s considered acceptable in photo-journalistic photos. They can adjust colour, contrast and dodge and burn (though that would have been unacceptable here if it altered the skin appearance) but not change the “content” of the image. Those things are allowed and images are not considered “retouched”.

    I don’t think there’s the deliberate deception that you’re worried about but yes, they’re using “natural” as a selling point and trying to stand out in a crowded market and it’s right to consider if they’re being honest in their claims. They realise how cynical the public is now with their public notary claim.

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