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Olay Is the Latest Company to Quit Photo Retouching

By Keith Noonan - Updated Feb 19, 2020 at 2:42PM

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P&G's skincare brand has made a commitment to have zero skin-retouching in its ads by 2021.

Olay is moving away from digitally altering the appearance of models featured in its ads. The skincare brand, which is owned by Procter & Gamble (PG 0.91%), announced at a conference held on Wednesday that it would phase out skin retouching in its advertisements by the end of the year.

Olay is kicking off the transition by including a "Skin Promise" graphic on its ads to let viewers know that the women featured have not had the look of their skin altered using photo-editing software. The company says that it will be the first mass skincare brand in the U.S. to feature zero skin retouching in its advertising materials.

Actress Busy Philipps in an ad for Olay Regenerist skin cream, along with the brand's 'Skin Promise' mark and the text 'My skin is confident with my Olay.'

Image source: Olay.

Brands are seeking a natural image

Skincare, apparel, and cosmetics brands have faced push back in recent years for digitally altering the appearances of models used in their ads, with critics stating that the use of editing software promotes unrealistic beauty standards and misrepresents the efficacy of products in some cases. The backlash has prompted some companies to move away from the practice -- and also highlight their use of advertising that's more true to life as a factor that differentiates them from competitors. 

American Eagle's Aerie stopped using editing software to change its models' appearance in 2014, and the brand's body-positive approach helped it capture market share from Victoria's Secret, according to CNBC. Other notable proponents of the no-retouch trend include Unilever's Dove brand and pharmacy-retail chain CVS. With natural images in vogue and customers being able to put pressure on brands through social-media campaigns, there's a good chance that more companies in the fashion-and-beauty industry will move away from heavy digital retouching -- and those that don't may increasingly find themselves in the crosshairs. 


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