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Yves Saint Laurent sells hope in a jar with Forever Young Liberator

By February 16, 2012 5 Comments

Women don’t really fall for the outrageous claims of beauty products… do they?

You know that saying “There’s truth in humor”? Well, it’s never been more accurate than in the hilarious send-up that positions Adobe Photoshop’s technology as a fancy, Euro (“by Adobé”) beauty product.

Fotoshop, by Adobé, isn't real, but then neither are society's standards of beauty.

What’s so great about the spoof (as further detailed in this post by About-Face’s own Jennifer Berger) is how it pokes fun at the conventions regularly found in real beauty ads to show just how absurd they are.

There’s the expensive, flawless (and no doubt Photoshopped) high-quality images that make the product look so perfect they ignite that feeling that you’ve simply got to have it sitting on your medicine cabinet shelf.

Then there’s the heavy use of legitimate- and important-sounding science-y words (“pro pixel intensifying fauxtanical hydro jargon microbead extract” as in the Fotoshop video) that play on our underlying desire to believe that somehow, somewhere a relatively inexpensive cure for aging that doesn’t involve needles and scalpels has been found. And finally, they trot out the ol’ promise of a miracle fix (“Finally, look the way you’ve always dreamed.”).

Ha ha. Whatever. Savvy 21st century women don’t fall for crap like that anymore. Right?

Um, wrong, actually.

According to a British newspaper, the new Yves Saint Laurent Forever Young Liberator skincare line (which debuted in January 2012) had a waiting list in the UK of 5,000-plus women before its launch.

And how did YSL convince so many women to line—or rather queue—up?

Exhibit A - full of the important-sounding "Glycantif"

Well, let’s see. First they busted out some high-quality, perfected images of the shimmery, luxe-looking bottles that make the product look like something you just have to have.

Then they came up with some of those science-y words like “glycomics” and “glycobiology” and the brand’s new patented ingredient called “Glycantif.”

Now, I don’t know much about chemistry—but then again the average YSL consumer probably doesn’t either. So as real as “glycomics” might be, I think YSL’s tactical usage of these words is more about hoping to impress buyers than actually conveying information that they expect them to use.

And finally, to really get women opening their wallets, YSL claimed that its Forever Young Liberator is “one of the most amazing scientific breakthroughs we have discovered in relation to anti-aging.” In fact, they go so far as to call it the “Holy Grail” of skin care.

So as smug and sassy as the Photoshop send-up that we all love was, sadly, there’s another beauty product manufacturer that’s laughing all the way to the bank—at our expense.

Audrey D. Brashich is the author of All Made Up: A Girls Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty.