Beauty News: Debenhams Calls for a Ban on Airbrushing Model Shots

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Airbrushing has long been a debated topic and it’s well known that the beauty and fashion industries favour the practice. However with the rise of eating disorders and the awareness of body dysmorphia growing, many have called for the use of airbrushing to be stopped or at least reduced.

Until now, the notion of using unadulterated images in advertising campaigns has been scoffed at by beauty industry insiders. It’s easy to see why fashion and beauty companies would not want to let go of this technique. It allows their products to create an illusion of perfection that everyone wants to buy into. However, the extensive use of airbrushing has caused huge backlash because what these companies are advertising is, in effect, impossible to achieve. They create an ideal that doesn’t exist and in doing so cause consumers to feel miserable about their looks.


In a revolutionary move, Debenhams have placed a ban on airbrushing lingerie shoots and call for other retailers to follow suit. A spokesperson for Debenhams said,

‘We want other retailers to follow suit and encourage positive body-image through minimal retouching rather than bombarding them with unattainable body images,’

The Head of Lingerie buying and design at Debenhams, Sharon Webb says,

‘As well as being a positive from a moral point of view, it ticks the economic boxes as well. Millions of pounds a year are spent by organisations retouching perfectly good images,’

‘As a rule we only airbrush minor things like pigmentation or stray hair and rely on the natural beauty of models to make our product look great.’


The before and after shots are quite shocking and while we are all aware that airbrushing happens, it’s quite enlightening seeing the image as it was and the finished result contrasted next to one another.

Similar campaigns have happened in the past but as a retailer giant, it’s great news that Debenhams are championing natural beauty. We think this is a fantastic move, yes, it is great PR for Debenhams but the root message is a positive one.

What do you think? Will it take off or do you think this is merely a PR stunt?


Hannah Reynolds

Guest Blogger for Cheltenham Fashion Week and all time fashion fan. Find her personal style blog at Eve Wanted a Wardrobe.

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