L'Oreal has a problem: the UK face of the brand, Cheryl Cole, has been revealed to be wearing hair extensions in a commercial. Parents and industry watchdogs are not impressed.

Cole, 26, appears in a television ad in which she sings the praises of L'Oréal Elvive Full Restore 5, a shampoo and conditioner range. "My hair feels stronger, full of life, replenished with a healthy shine. It's got its mojo back," she says as she parades in a red dress.

It could prove nigh-on impossible for viewers to get the same result simply out of a bottle, however. Cole owes her look to hair extensions, which cost up to £1,000, to give her hair more volume and bounce.

During her TV commercial, a message flashes up, saying her hair is "styled with some natural extensions", but it remains on screen for fewer than two seconds of its 30-second duration. In magazine advertisements, the hair extensions are mentioned in print 2mm high.


Viewers of the ad have lodged complaints with Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), saying that the tiny script was "misleading" and the commercial leaves the impression that it is Cole's hair that is swinging and shiny with the help of the product.

Among those who have complained that they are misleading is Daisy Goodwin, the television producer and occasional Sunday Times columnist.

Goodwin, 47, said last week: "My daughter, aged nine, has been saying, ‘Please can we buy the shampoo because I want to look like Cheryl Cole'. But her hair is not her own. The reason her hair looks fabulous is because of hair extensions. I didn't even see the reference to them in the ad."

She added: "Women are being taken for a ride. It is not the same as having your own hair. It's bonkers."

The ASA doesn't believe the commercial is problematic, and point out that the extensions are mentioned in the ad, and are presumably being treated with the product. But is that really what passes as truth in advertising?

L'Oréal Row Takes The Shine Off Cheryl Cole's Hair [Times of London]