Six Empowering Beauty Campaigns That Prove Beauty Isn’t Just Skin Deep

Noël Duan
·Assistant Editor
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For decades, beauty ads were more about capitalizing on women’s insecurities than making them feel good about themselves. The idea seemed to be that if consumers didn’t feel pretty enough they would buy more to makeup to achieve whatever they thought was lacking. With increasing dialogue on gender inequality around the world and a feminist movement that even celebrities talk about, companies are finally realizing that women deserve more.

Related: #likeagirl, It’s A Good Thing

Dove was a pioneer pairing ads and empowerment. Their Campaign for Real Beauty, which launched in 2004, ditched models in favor of real women—with a range of happy, confident women with very real body types. It was unlike anything we had seen before. The campaign was named the #1 Ad for the 21st century by Ad Age. Today, top brands have realized that empowering ads that show women as strong, unique, and powerful are the way to really connect with women. In the past year, beauty companies, like Pantene and CoverGirl, have created pro-female ad campaigns. Some of them are even sparking dialogue about the status quo. Below, here are the videos that prove that beauty on the outside just isn’t cutting it anymore:

CoverGirl #GirlsCan

Ellen DeGeneres, Janelle Monáe, Queen Latifah, Katy Perry, Pink, and other inspiring women speak up about the put-downs they endured as girls. These powerful women prove that, in fact, #GirlsCan do anything.

Pantene Philippines Labels Against Women

This campaign cleverly compares and contrasts the way that men and women are perceived for the same roles. While a man is a boss, a woman is bossy. While a man is persuasive, a woman is pushy. While a man is neat, a woman is vain. The campaign urges women to not let labels hold them back.

Always #LikeAGirl

Show me what it means to run like a girl. Show me what it means to fight like a girl. The director Lauren Greenfield asks people to act out what those phrases mean. For many, running like a girl involves flailing your arms and worrying about your hair, and fighting like a girl means pantomiming a catfight. The director then asks young girls to act out the same motions—and we see that they associate the phrase with being strong and powerful. It’s proof that something happens during puberty to affect girls’ self-esteem. The ad, which played during the Super Bowl, is a step towards changing perceptions about what it means to be #LikeAGirl.

Gillette Venus #UseYourAnd

“If someone says you’re smart, say yes—and. If someone says you’re pretty, say yes—and.” This social media campaign urges girls and young women to defy labels and celebrate their complexities. Girls aren’t one-dimensional, they can be pretty and smart, and strong and sensitive.

Dove Real Beauty Mothers and Daughters

Dove invited mothers to sit in front of a Google Hangout and describe themselves to Gil Zamora, a FBI trained forensic artist. He could hear the women but couldn’t see them from where he was sitting. Dove then invited the daughters to describe their mothers to the artist while he drew. The two pictures are then shown side-by-side to the mothers and daughters. Said one mom, “It’s nice to know that someone thinks you’re that beautiful.”

Dove Hair: Love Your Curls

Young girls talk about how they don’t like their naturally curly hair and wish they had straight hair because it’s “prettier.” Dove asked friends and families of the girls to help out and celebrate curls by wearing their hair naturally—because what you’re born with isn’t something to be ashamed of.