What REAL beauty looks like: Inspiring women show off every wrinkle, blemish and shadow in portraits that put Photoshopped campaigns to shame

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  • Forty-seven women aged 18 to 75 showed off their natural beauty in series of unretouched photographs
  • Each has triumphed in their chosen fields, from Olympic cyclist Laura Kenny to author Malorie Blackman
  • The women proudly showed off their wrinkles, blemishes and under-eye bags in the stunning portraits
  • The images put to shame other beauty campaigns that use Photoshop to erase models’ imperfections

Read more: Stunning White Henna-Inspired Tattoos That Look Like Elegant Lace

Glossy images of impossibly perfect women dominate our magazines, television screens and social media feeds.

Each has been forensically examined and carefully edited, creating a warped idea of how women are ‘supposed’ to look. But this new campaign challenges those unattainable ideals. 

Forty-seven women – each a pioneer in their chosen field – showed off their natural beauty in a series of unretouched portraits for Lancôme. 

While many wore make-up, they proudly flaunted every wrinkle, blemish and double chin – the sorts of ‘flaws’ that would usually be erased from their face with Photoshop.

Some of the women, like Olympic cycling golden girl Laura Kenny or author Malorie Blackman, are household names, while others, like structural engineer Roma Agrawal, you are unlikely to recognise. 

However each is a woman of substance who has contributed to her industry and is distinguished in her craft. 

Here, FEMAIL takes a look at all 47 of the female pioneers, and reveals what makes them exceptional.

Author Malorie Blackman, OBE, left, has written over 50 books for children, including the highly acclaimed, best selling Noughts & Crosses sequence. In 2008 she was awarded an OBE for services to children’s literature. Right: German-born Professor Uta Frith is best known for her research on autism spectrum disorders. She was one of the initiators of the study of Asperger’s Syndrome in the UK and her work on reading development, spelling and dyslexia has been highly influential

Amanda Berry, left, is the Chief Executive of BAFTA. Her days are filled with identifying, rewarding and celebrating excellence within the film and television industry. She received an OBE for services to film in 2009. Right: Cathy O’Neill is a violinist, musician and composer. At the age of five she was selected to play for the Finnish Ambassador, at 13 won the Scléip Music Festival playing her own compositions and in 2016 played professionally, by invitation, at Disney World Florida

Paris-born Amandine Ohayon, left, joined L’Oréal in 1999. In 2010 she became GM of the Luxe division and the youngest on the management committee. Living in London, she combines motherhood with her passion for her work as Lancôme’s Marketing Director for UK and Ireland. Right: Alev Scott is a British-Turkish political journalist, often covering stories in the field in war torn countries. She moved to Istanbul in 2011, where she covered Turkey and the refugee crisis for British Press

Golden girl: Celebrated cyclist Laura Kenny, left, has won a total of four Olympic gold medals as part of Team GB. Right: Make-up artist Sumra Khan is a passionate force behind Lancôme and a passionate humanitarian and volunteer

Bunmi Olaye, left, is a Creative Director and Fashion Designer. In 2009 she co-founded luxury fashion brand Bunmi Koko, where she designed four critically acclaimed ready to wear collections. Right: Brigitta Freund is the creative force behind British design company Spinocchia Freund. Her luxury home designs found in cities all around the world

Chanya Button, left, is a prize-winning movie director and writer, whose work spans film, TV, and theatre. Her debut feature film Burn Burn Burn was a huge hit at the London Film Festival, and she is currently working on a new film starring Eva Green and Gemma Arterton, chronicling the love affair of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville West. Right: Sheffield University English student, writer and painter – Aisha Ayoade is focused on making her lifelong passion for artistic pursuits into a strong career

Janet Bolo, left, leads a dual life – partly working as a Business Executive with leading accounting firms in the UK, as well as volunteering in Africa, mentoring young women in Kenya as part of the Global Give Back Circle project. Right: Jo Tutchener is the founder of children’s clothing brand Scamp & Dude. The former PR exec was inspired to create a brand that helps kids feel more secure when apart from their loved ones after she spent time in hospital and was separated from her children

Joy Crookes, left, is a singer and songwriter from South London. She signed her first management deal at just 15 years old and now at 18 is preparing to release her music to the world. Right: Ade Hassan is a young entrepreneur who has created a brand of skin-tone lingerie for women of colour, founding her business in 2016. Her motto is: ’empowering women, embracing our colour’, letting women of colour know that their skin is beautiful, and she counts Beyonce among her fans

Jane Glover, left, is an acclaimed British conductor with over 40 years’ experience. She was Director of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music from 2009 to 2016 and has been the musical director of Music of the Baroque since 2002. Right: Dr Aarti Jagannath, of the University of Oxford, completed her DPhil in 2009 and won the prestigious L’Oreal-UNESCO ‘Women in Science’ award for her research into how the human body clock can lead to obesity, diabetes and mental health disorders

Sushma Sagar, left, works full-time in the fashion industry and practises reiki in her spare time. Right: Structural engineer Roma Agrawal spent six years helping to design The Shard and has been hailed one of the Top 50 Women Engineers in the UK

Patricia Bright, left, is a Nigerian make up and fashion vlogger. She broadcasts to over a million YouTube subscribers as well as blogging full-time to an audience of 64,200 Twitter followers and 509,000 fans on Instagram Right: International music mogul Helen Coates lives and works between London and Ibiza. She’s managed some of the industry’s most sought after acts

Gurinder Chadha, OBE, left, is a celebrated film maker, writer, director and producer. Gurinder is the first female Indian feature film director with box office successes under her belt like the BAFTA nominated Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice. Right: Mika Simmons is a British stage and screen actress. In 2014 Mika founded the Gynaecologicial Cancer Fund with a group of friends. The campaign – known as Lady Garden – aims to raise funds for research into gynaecological cancers

Sonia Bronstein, left, is a stylist, fashion consultant and founder of London-based label Les Glorieuses. She has also worked with Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Etro and Ozwald Boateng. Right: Samata is an entrepreneur, designer and published author. She founded THE TRIBE – a global collective, created for women to empower and celebrate each other – in 2016

Kanya King MBE, left, is an internationally renowned entrepreneur. She founded the MOBO Awards in 1996 and continues to act as CEO. In 1999 she was awarded an MBE and has further been named one of London’s Most Influential People. Right: Chicago-native Bonnie Greer, OBE, is an American-British playwright, novelist, film writer and critic – and was the first American and first African American Deputy Chair of the British Museum

Radio anchor Julie Adenuga, left, brings the UK’s music culture to the rest of the world through Apple’s Beats1 Radio. She’s also an outspoken champion of independent and unsigned talent. Right: Lifestyle blogger Estée Lalonde broadcasts to over a million YouTube subscribers. In 2016 she launched her first book – Bloom – a celebration of life, work, travel and more

PR professional and fashion and style blogger, Xenia Xenophontos, left, currently leads the communications team at Cath Kidston Right: Janet Fyle is a trained nurse and midwife from Sierra Leone with a Masters in Women’s Health. She’s been recognised for her transformational work and campaigning against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Kathryn Fielding is a Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher at Equinox and Core Collective. In 2012 she trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition to become a Registered Therapist with a focus on the mind-body connection; covering stress, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders and weight management. Right: A lawyer and human rights expert, since 2015 Jessica Jones has been legal advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights

Civil Engineer Joanne Sui, left, is a Civil Engineer at London Bridge Associates. She studied at University College London and was named in Management Today’s 35 women under 35, shortlisted for the First Women Awards and highly commended in the Asian Women Awards. Right: Former Tech Banker June Angelides founded the UK’s the first child-friendly coding school, Mums in Technology, back in 2015 whilst on her second maternity leave from Silicon Valley Bank

DJ and Producer Nikki Beatnik, left, is one of the UK’s most celebrated female MCs. She’s worked around the world with some of the most renowned artists and acclaimed events including The British Fashion Awards and Glastonbury. Right: Oti Mabuse a professional Latin American and ballroom dancer, with many titles in her dancing career. She is best known as the professional partner on Britain’s most loved TV celebrity dance contest, Strictly Come Dancing

Zen Cho, left, is a lawyer and critically-acclaimed author of 2015 fantasy novel Sorcerer to the Crown. Right: Sophie is a British television presenter, model and disability issues campaigner. In 2011, Sophie was chosen to be the face of Stella McCartney’s campaign for her 2012 Adidas Olympics collection and was also one of the presenters of the 2012 Paralympics

Nutritional Therapist Sam Bourne, left, is the founder of feel good, healthy lifestyle brand FoodSpa. She’s also the author of NutriKids – a series of children’s books that aim to educate parents and kids alike on nutrition. Right: Dr Tesca Bennett is a headmistress in South East London and a passionate advocate of science. With a joint honours degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a PhD in liposomal drug delivery, Tesca maintains her passion for science through teaching

London-based Lucy Montague, left, is a patient coordinator in Chelsea. She sees cases through their entire journey, to final follow up. Naturally, healthcare is one of her main passions – along with beauty. Right: Tolulope Popoola is an award-winning author, publisher and writing coach. In 2008 she left her job as an Accountant to pursue her passion for the written word. Tolulope’s first novel Nothing Comes Close was named ‘one of the best books of 2012’ by Africa Book Club

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