Remember #Lashgate? You should, since it was only a month ago that beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira found herself at the center of the latest TikTok scandal after wearing false lashes in a mascara advertisement. In a still-available TikTok (a bold choice, if you ask me), Nogueira raves about the reformulated L’Oreal Telescopic Lengthening mascara as she applies a single coat. She says she’s going to add another coat, there’s a jump-cut, and suddenly, her lashes are much fuller than they were. Like, suspiciously so. Nogueira herself even says that her lashes look fake, and her critics agree, except they believe her lashes actually were fake.
The fact that beauty brands are using false enhancements to sell products doesn’t come as a shock. In reality, aka outside of BeautyTok, the use of falsies in mascara ads has been widely contested for over a decade.
On September 6th, 2013, the National Advertising Division called a Maybelline mascara ad “literally false” because “the photograph is not an accurate depiction of the volume that can be achieved by applying the mascara alone without the use of lash inserts.”
Source: The New York Times
After the original Lashlighting (that’s gaslighting + lashes) in 2013, Covergirl chose to discontinue the use of false lashes in advertorials without clearer disclosures, and many others followed suit. But with these sponsored scandals on the rise, it feels like we're backsliding into murkier waters. One of the biggest draws to influencers like Nogueira has been the parasocial relationship that comes with them; it feels like they're your friend. And friends don’t lie to each other, right? Well, it turns out that these friends will, especially if the price is right. In an age where de-influencing is picking up steam, you would think that #ads would get more honest, not less.
Source: James Charles
It’s been over a month, and Mikayla has yet to make an official statement on whether the lashes were real or not. As the original video currently sits at over fifty million views (that’s over six times the population of NYC), it doesn’t really matter what you believe; the controversy hasn’t made a dent in Nogueira’s influence. In fact, it’s the opposite, meaning that once again the only real victim here is my TikTok algorithm.