Make-up influencers make young people too insecure, the cosmetics industry believes

Young influencers are crucial for cosmetics companies. If a mascara or skin cream goes viral, the product is likely to be successful. However, the Dutch Cosmetics Association attempts to limit these advertisements: “Brands are unaware of how their products affect the self-image of young people.”

On social media, many girls can be seen smearing themselves layer by layer in front of the camera so that at the end of the video they can walk the red carpet. Almost unrecognizable.

According to TeamAlert statistics, the videos target young people who spend an average of three hours per day on social media. Companies pay influencers to promote their products online for a reason. If a company’s foundation goes viral, there is a good chance that the company’s revenue will increase.

However, the Dutch Cosmetics Association (NCV) regrets this sport’s existence. According to Marjolein van Oostrum, manager, “influencers and brands have not fully understood the impact of advertisements.”

The consequences for adolescents can be substantial. “The self-image of adolescents is fragile and impressionable,” says assistant professor Anne-Mette Hermans. Her research indicates that young people can be critical of idealized content, but that they also partially adopt the ideal image.

Personal obsession with appearance is also a factor.

It is difficult to determine the impact of online advertisements on the self-esteem of young viewers, as there are always multiple contributing factors when someone becomes extremely insecure. Personal qualities also play a part. “The preoccupation with physical appearance plays a larger role in society. However, the cosmetics industry responds positively to this,” Hermans explains.

Van Oostrum states, “We believe that everyone should have a positive self-image and should not be negatively influenced by advertising.” “Young people, in particular, are so beautiful in and of themselves.”

According to Van Oostrum, the goal of the cosmetics industry is not to have all young influencers spread negative information. She deems it “worrying” that so many make-up videos have made young people so insecure.

In January of last year, the advertising code for cosmetics was tightened. “We have agreed, for instance, not to focus on children who are too young,” says Van Oostrum. Influencers must adhere to this as well.

Additionally, advertising directed specifically at children, minors, and vulnerable consumers must be created “with care and respect,” according to the code. According to Hermans, the ambiguity of this provision makes it difficult to enforce the code. It is nearly impossible to determine which advertising causes an adolescent’s obsessive behavior.

The Media Authority (CvdM) recently concluded, based on random checks, that in many instances it is not sufficiently clear that advertising is occurring. The Advertising Code Foundation investigates advertisements only in response to complaints. And there are few complaints, please inform the foundation.

There is no single body type that should be favored.

At the same time, Hermans observes that many companies, including Dove, are committed to a more realistic image of the appearance. For instance, advertisements now depict a significantly greater variety of body types.

Additionally, the advertising code states that no one body image may be given preference over another. Hermans concludes, “I find this ironic because the cosmetics industry is largely dependent on idealized body images.”

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