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Can’t (Re)Touch This: Now’s The Time To Stop Pursuing Porelessness

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert12 months ago
View Verity Douglas's profile
close up of a dark skinned model's face showing her texture

...along with all the other unattainable ‘ideals’ we’re meant to strive for. For too long, beauty has been synonymous with a narrow, prescribed set of unrealistic and unrepresentative standards which, thanks to the ‘always on’ nature of our social media feeds, are increasingly — and harmfully — pervasive. The repercussions of these pressures, coupled with our intrinsic tendency to draw comparisons, is taking an ever more frightening toll — which is why we’re aligning with Dr. Luke Evans  and signing the Body Image Pledge to initiate change and push for greater transparency and authenticity when it comes to the imagery we consume every day. 

Society has fetishised specific characteristics — youth, thinness, flawlessness — and has openly encouraged the pursuit of certain attributes while demonising anything beyond the strict parameters of ‘perfect’; from cellulite to body hair and scars to signs of ageing — ‘beautiful’ has often meant adapting to a mould that wasn’t made for us.  

As prominent players in the beauty space, we know that we’re part of the problem — perpetuating these ideals and reinforcing certain expectations — which is why we’ve decided we’re perfectly placed to initiate change and to take the first, critical steps towards making the industry better — and safer — for everyone. OurCan’t (Re)Touch This campaign coincides with the launch of our Summer of (Self) Love, in which we're committing to never retouching or altering a model's appearance on our in-house imagery (not that we ever have). This means you’re able to trust that the skin, hair and bodies you see on our site (and our socials!) are reflective of what’s really there — in all of their beautiful, unretouched glory.  

dark skinned model smiling and looking to the side

And because we feel that’s not enough, we’re rolling out a watermark — Beauty Untouched — across our in-house model imagery to make it instantly apparent that the photo can be trusted, as well as scoping out a labelling system for third-party, brand partner and influencer imagery to signal that the image is authentic. We’re on a mission to broaden what ‘beauty’ looks like and make the space more representative of you and your ideals — which also means committing to diversity when casting models, as well as reviewing our language to reframe the ‘flaws’ we’ve historically vilified.  

There isn’t a quick fix, and we don’t expect to magically erase the beauty bugbears that can compromise our confidence; we all have a ‘thing’ that we wish was a little more this or a little less that, but we firmly believe that they ought to be yours to define — not for the industry to dictate. 

Shifting the damaging narrative is an uphill climb that requires a concerted, collaborative effort. Which is why we’re appealing to our industry friends to subscribe to the voluntary Body Image Pledge, as well as to you, as consumers, to sign this petitionand show your support for the image transparency movement. We hope your signatures will galvanise fellow brands, corporations, influencers — hopefully even the Government — to implement similar safeguarding measures and look at revised legislation surrounding image authenticity.  

To learn more about the campaign, the Body Image Pledge and the petition, you can read our open letter, as well as our Q&A with Dr. Luke Evans, who explains how his experiences as a GP — and now an MP — inspired him to initiate the pledge and the Digitally Altered Body Images Bill. There’s a great deal of work to be done so join us as we take the first steps towards positive change. 

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...