Max Factor escapes 'foundation is better for skin than without' ad ban

The Coty-owned brand defended the skin care claims after consumers complained to the ASA advertising watchdog


UK watchdog the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has ruled in favour beauty giant Coty, after one of its adverts for Max Factor received seven complaints.

The ad, which promotes Healthy Skin Harmony Miracle Foundation, features a model applying the product on her face. A voice-over said: “Who says foundation can’t be good for your skin?

“Healthy Skin Foundation is better for your skin than no foundation.”

Alongside the model, on-screen text appeared stating product benefits, including ‘hydration’, ‘SPF 20’, ‘Shine Control’ and ‘Added Vitamins’.

Complaints challenged whether the ad was misleading and if the claims could be substantiated.

Max Factor lays the foundation on claims

However, Coty stood by its ad and said the campaign did not not suggest that there was a health benefit to wearing the foundation in comparison to not wearing it, beyond benefits listed on-screen.

It provided independent clinic reports to prove the benefits of SPF, as well as the evidence to back-up the claim that SPF20 was in its product.


Meanwhile, in support of the claim ‘hydration’, Coty provided an internal evaluation of hydration of skin treated with the product, versus untreated skin.

The results indicated that the group tested with the product had higher levels of hydration compared to the control group after 24 hours.

Coty also provided evidence to support its ‘Shine Control’ claim and the vitamin content was accounted for with the presence of B5, B3 and E in the foundation.

ASA sides with science

The ASA ruled in favour of Coty and Max Factor. It stated: “consumers would be likely to understand the claim ‘Healthy Skin Foundation is better for your skin than no foundation’ in the context of the ad to mean that there were features of the product that were beneficial to the skin.

“We considered that the basis of the claim was made clear in the ad.

“The ad connected the voice-over statement, ‘better for your skin than no foundation’, with the on-screen text statements of ‘hydration', ‘SPF 20’, ‘Shine Control’ and ‘Added Vitamins’, which followed directly after that claim.

“We therefore considered that consumers would understand that those claims were related to the general claim that the product had featured which were beneficial to the skin.”