Highsnobiety

An advertisement for Bioré pore strips — a go-to for drugstore beauty shoppers — is fueling TikTok's latest controversy.

Last week, influencer Cecilee Max-Brown posted a TikTok sponsored by Bioré, which began rolling out a Mental Health Awareness Month campaign in early May. In the video, Max-Brown discusses struggling with anxiety in the aftermath of the shooting at Michigan State University, where a gunman killed three students and injured five others in February.

Max-Brown, who recently graduated from MSU, goes on to announce her decision to partner with Bioré – a skincare brand owned by Japanese cosmetics company Kao Corporation — to "strip away the stigma of anxiety." After presenting viewers with a box of Bioré pore strips, she encourages viewers to "get it all out — not only what's in your pores, but most importantly what's on your mind, too."

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Tiktok.

To many, the quippy slogan trivialized the gravity of Max-Brown's first-hand brush with gun violence. Critics' concerns are understandable — after all, the advertisement uses a school shooting survivor's trauma to peddle a beauty product.

On Sunday, Bioré apologized for the video. "For the past 4 years, we have supported mental health alliances, working with social media influencers who experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions to amplify their authentic, unscripted stories in an effort to help reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health," a statement posted to the brand's Instagram reads.

"This time, however, we did it the wrong way. We lacked sensitivity around an incredibly serious tragedy, and our tonality was completely inappropriate. We are so sorry."

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Unsurprisingly, netizens are questioning how Max-Brown's video was approved in the first place. A spokesperson for Bioré told The New York Times that it reviews all creator content, but as a general rule does not "edit or censor" it.

Max-Brown, who has since deleted the video, issued an apology on her TikTok page. "I am so sorry about this partnership video... This partnership was not intending to come off as the product fixing the struggles I've had since [the shooting]," she wrote, explaining that she intended to raise awareness of the mental health issues she and her classmates are grappling with. "I take accountability for this and will ensure to be smarter in the future."

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Tiktok.

Offensive, yes, but Bioré's fumble isn't completely surprising. For years, beauty brands have positioned their products as a means of "self-care," a way to improve both the appearance and overall wellbeing of consumers. Gen Z, more likely to report having poor mental health than older generations, is particularly susceptible to these marketing tactics.

As writer Jessica DeFino told Highsnobiety during an interview on the increasing crossover between beauty and mental health earlier this year: "There are a lot of beauty founders who really do want to make women feel better, and are looking at the world that we're living in that punishes us for not living up to an ideal of beauty...  They have great intentions, but they're working within a really harmful and predatory system."

We Recommend
  • What's Going on With TikTok's 'Veneer Techs?'
    • Beauty
  • On the Prowl: Enter the Eclectic Biome of the Equinoxus Humanus
    • Culture
    • sponsored
  • TikTok Songs We Can't Get Out Of Our Heads
    • Culture
  • The Irony of FKA twigs' Banned Calvin Klein Ad
    • Style
  • Salehe Bembury's Latest New Balance Collab Is Pre-Heated Flames
    • Sneakers
What To Read Next
  • The Jordan 4 Looks Like a Chunky Skate Shoe Now
    • Sneakers
  • CUPRA Formentor and CUPRA Leon Are Coming In Hot
    • Lifestyle
    • sponsored
  • It's Bottega Everything for A$AP Rocky (Even for Graduations)
    • Style
  • New Balance's Revived Dad Shoe Lights Up the Streets (& Skies)
    • Sneakers
  • Josh O'Connor Is the Anti-Fashion Babygirl We Deserve
    • Style
  • Maybe Supreme Really Is Dead
    • Culture
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.