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What’s In A Name? | Brands With Memorable and Sometimes Controversial Shade Names

controversial memorable makeup cosmetic lines

Cosmetic companies have come a long way from giving their products bland boring names or shade numbers, and these days some of them are pretty darn memorable! What was once an industry full of fuddy duddy names has now spawned into some hilarious, cute, raunchy and even potentially inappropriate names. While some brands have been doing this since the dawn of their lines, others are making waves for themselves with rather risque titles, creating mixed reactions .

In a world where Too Faced Cosmetics have a mascara called Better Than Sex and Nars boast blush shades named Orgasm and Deep Throat, it seems the cosmetic industry has caught on to the old adage “Sex Sells”.

But does it though? Kat Von D’s line has gotten into hot water a few times for the names on her lipsticks. Her Underage Red shade is apparently one of the brands cult favourites, yet caused an uproar not long ago with critics saying it sexualized children (I mean, who would ever look at a shade of red and say, “that screams ‘underage’ to me”?). A couple years back there was a backlash against her for naming another shade in her range Celebutard, which was eventually pulled from the lineup. 
MAC’s Rodarte collection of 2010 caused controversy after one of the nail polishes in the limited edition collection was called Juarez, after an impoverished Mexican factory town that had become notorious for the large amount of women between the ages of 12 and 22 who had been raped and murdered without police recognition. Not so classy.
While were talking about what’s in a name, there are some brands that have been in the creative name game for some time now. Whilst MAC has had their share of bold and boundary pushing collections over the years, they also have some fun shade names in their line. The shadow All That Glitters just sounds gorgeous before even seeing it, and shades like Smut, Phloof! and Beauty Marked has you wanting to see what colour could possibly be associated with it.
Other brands like OPI love a good pun or play on words. Polish shades like Did You ‘Ear About van Gogh and French Quarter for Your Thoughts not only come off as fun, but are memorable! 
Urban Decay is another line that has pushed the beauty norms with bold, sometimes risque shade names. Shades like Booty Call, Half Baked and Midnight Cowboy all have connotations past the beauty world, as the founder of the brand wanted them to stand out in the world ‘enslaved of pink, red and beige’. 
One of my favourite blush lines is by Illamasqua, which owns names like Nymph, Lover, Hussy and Tremble. Slightly sexualized, yet minus the porn connection (ahem, looking at you Nars).
So the question is, are brands upping the ante with cringy, politically incorrect and sometimes inappropriate names for shock value? As a consumer does the name catch our attention enough to ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ a product?
Are you more or less likely to purchase a product you might be embarrassed to tell you Grandmother about, when she compliments you on your new lipstick?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to get a respectful, healthy banter going about this topic!


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