Jean-Paul Agon, 63, claimed Instagram is good for business by encouraging young women to buy more cosmetics to look like their filtered and digitally enhanced selfies.
The Frenchman, who is CEO and chairman of the parent company of Maybelline, Garnier and Lancôme, said the makeup industry is benefiting from social media features that digitally enhance one's appearance.
In an interview with MarketWatch, Mr Agon said: “The more you make yourself look really great online, the more you have to work on yourself when you go out, because if, when people meet you, they discover that you are completely different from what they thought, then you have a problem.”
He added: “If they want to use filters to look better online, they have to do something in real life also to look better, and that is why they use more cosmetics, more makeup, more skin care, more everything.”
Social media filters are good for the beauty business which he described as “pretty immune to crisis”.
“That is why, by the way, as you know, the price-to-earnings ratio of a company like L’Oréal is pretty high. . . because investors and analysts acknowledge the fact that, whatever happens, L’Oréal will be able to keep growing, keep developing, and keep increasing its profitability.”
If they want to use filters to look better online, they have to do something in real life also to look better, and that is why they use more cosmetics, more makeup, more skin care, more everything.L'Oreal CEO Jean-Paul Agon
“It’s an admission that (L’Oreal) are very happy that young people feel pressurised to look good and they are very willing to use that as a marketing ploy for their products.
“There are enough pressures on young people as it is and the idea that people are happy to make money on the back of a fake life is really sad.
“I think people should be happy in themselves and be able to live the best real life they can, they need to understand that filters and the pressure to lead this perfect life is just a mirage.
“People that play up to that should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves and look to behave responsibly.”
The L'Oreal boss has been with with the French beauty conglomerate for more than 40 years since he was recruited by in 1978.
It's not the first controversy to hit the cosmetic giant.
Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto claimed L’Oreal whitened her skin in an advert campaign.
In 2009, the Indian actress signed a lucrative contract to be the face of the French cosmetic giants.
And outspoken model Munroe Bergdorf was sacked by L’Oreal for saying that all white people are racist.
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