Beauty Ad Models Are About as Diverse as 'Bachelor' Contestants, Says This Study

Beauty Ad Models Are About as Diverse as 'Bachelor' Contestants, Says This Study
Source: Canva
Source: Canva

Few would argue that there's not enough diversity in media and advertising, but even fewer could have guessed it was this bad.

Design firm Canva took the faces of models from some of the beauty industry's biggest brands and created a composite representing the average face for each brand. The results were uncanny — which is to say they all look almost exactly alike.

Read more: Here's What the Ideal Man Looks Like in 19 Different Countries

On the firm's site, Canva's designers explain that while they couldn't capture every spokesperson for all the brands, each average is a mashup of at least 10 different faces.

From L to R: Covergirl, Dior, L'Oréal, Maybelline, Proactiv, Proactiv-Female, Proactiv-Male, Rimmel London
Source: 
Canva

"Many facial features remained somewhat consistent across the board — facial structure, lip and eye shape, eyebrow curvature, and nose width were all stunningly similar," reads the project explanation. In other shocking news, high cheekbones, defined jawlines and pink lips also made the cut across the board.

The closest thing to diversity is the composite for Proactiv's male spokesmodels — for obvious reasons. Ms. Proactive, however, bears no notably-distinguishing features.

Canva's also created composites of the models representing five other industries: car insurance, clothing, electronics, food and beverage and retail. Their project echoes Perceptions of Perfection, a two-part series of photos a group of doctors had Photoshopped to represent female and male ideals of beauty across the globe. 

Canva's message, while similar, is less about the variation of beauty standards and more about stubborn persistence of a single definition of beauty.

The designers concluded, "While American standards of beauty are constantly changing as society shifts and evolves, the aesthetic draw of brand models remains a constant facet of effective advertisement and provides an interesting look at the perspectives of marketers and their take on their American consumers."

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Marie Solis

Marie is a staff writer with a focus in feminist issues. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

President Donald Trump turns Boy Scout Jamboree into campaign rally

The president discussed health care, Hillary Clinton, Obama, big yachts and more to 40,000 Boy Scouts and volunteers

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Driver charged with human trafficking after 30-40 people found locked in fatally hot tractor-trailer

The charge against James Matthew Bradley, the alleged driver of the vehicle, could carry a punishment as severe as the death penalty.

Charlie Gard’s parents end legal fight to continue treatment for terminally ill son

The parents have withdrawn their request for Charlie to receive treatment in the U.S.

10th person dies after 38 found locked in sweltering tractor-trailer outside Texas Walmart

8 were found dead at the scene; 2 more died after being rushed to the hospital in critical or serious condition.

Dozens killed in deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

President Donald Trump turns Boy Scout Jamboree into campaign rally

The president discussed health care, Hillary Clinton, Obama, big yachts and more to 40,000 Boy Scouts and volunteers

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Driver charged with human trafficking after 30-40 people found locked in fatally hot tractor-trailer

The charge against James Matthew Bradley, the alleged driver of the vehicle, could carry a punishment as severe as the death penalty.

Charlie Gard’s parents end legal fight to continue treatment for terminally ill son

The parents have withdrawn their request for Charlie to receive treatment in the U.S.

10th person dies after 38 found locked in sweltering tractor-trailer outside Texas Walmart

8 were found dead at the scene; 2 more died after being rushed to the hospital in critical or serious condition.

Dozens killed in deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.