L' Oréal has been forced to pull ad campaigns that featured Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington, following the advertising watchdog upholding complaints by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson that the images had been liberally airbrushed.
Swinson has been waging a long-running campaign against "overly perfected and unrealistic images" of women in advertisements, and has lodged complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority about the magazine campaigns for L'Oréal-owned brands Lancôme and Maybelline.
The ASA ruled that both advertisements were in breach of the advertising standards code for exaggeration and were misleading. The advertising watchdog has banned the advertisements from future publication.
Roberts feature in a two-page L'Oreal advertisement that promoted a foundation called Teint Miracle. The advertisement claims the product creates a "natural light" that emanates from beautiful skin.
The advertisement was shot by renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino.
Turlington featured in an advertisement for Mayelline, which promoted a foundation called The Eraser, which claimed to be an "anti-ageing" product. The advertisement shows parts of Turlington's face covered by the foundation while other parts are not, to show the product's effect.
Swinson complained that images of both celebrities had been digitally manipulated and were "not representative of the results the product could achieve".
L'Oréal UK admitted that digital retouching had been carried out on Turlington's image to ''alighten the skin, clean up makeup, reduce dark shadows and shading around the eyes, smooth the lips and darken the eyebrows". However, the company said, signs of ageing, such as crow's feet were still visible, and the image "accurately illustrated" the achieveable results.