L’Oréal: We Didn’t Lighten Beyoncé. Honest.

Looks can be deceiving. Apparently.

Yesterday, a new print ad for L’Oréal Paris’ Feria hair color surfaced, featuring a seemingly paler than usual Beyoncé Knowles. Today, the French cosmetics giant is adamantly denying that it gave its longtime spokeswoman a case of the Michael Jackson’s.

Beyoncé Knowles has been a spokesperson for the L’Oréal Paris brand since 2001,” the company said in a statement, after coming under withering online attacks suggesting the ad (on right, above) lightened more than just the hair color of the brand’s famous face.

“We highly value our relationship with Ms. Knowles. It is categorically untrue that L’Oréal Paris altered Ms. Knowles’ features or skin-tone in the campaign for Feria’s hair color.”

A rep for the 27-year-old Knowles declined to comment beyond the L’Oréal statement.

The ad is appearing in this month’s Elle. So far the magazine has said anything about possible Pantone issues.

In any case, color us embarrassed.

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