Some People Are Calling Out Makeup Companies For Crossing The Line Of Cheeky Names To Racial Tropes
We’ve never worked in the cosmetic industry, so we can only assume that finding the perfect name for a product can be tricky to say the least. There are products with hilarious, and even NSFW names —NARS we’re talking to you. Apparently, the more scandalous the product is named, the better. Even some of the most trendy cosmetics have cheeky names, so it seems like in the world of beauty, anything goes. From cheeky, to ridiculous to just down-right offensive, here are some names that left us wondering; who approved these?
1. Chantecaille Foundation in the shade; ’Banana’.
As opposed to the cute names appointed to lighter shades, such as “Aura” and “Vanilla;” the darker shade was named “Banana”. Now, maybe it’s just me, but giving a darker skin tone the name ‘banana’ sounds like a good enough reference to the monkey comparison. Comparing dark-skinned people to monkeys is a racial stance as old as America and we’d love to find out what the Chantecaille team was thinking when they gave that name to a dark skin tone —smdh.
2. Color Pop Cosmetics’ “Yikes” and “Typo” sculpting stix.
In the same way, as we noted in the previous example, here the lighter skin tones had names like “Castle” and “Dove,” whereas the darker ones were titled “Typo” and “Yikes.” Yikes, is there anything shocking or alarming about a darker skin tone? Nobody’s skin is a typo, Color Pop.
ColourPop issued an apology statement and quickly renamed the deeper shades. The Sculpting Stix as a whole has since been discontinued.
2. MAC Cosmetics’ “Vibe Tribe” Collection.
I mean… do we have to keep saying this? Indigenous cultures are not fashion —or in this case beauty— trends. This 2016 collection was instantly accused of cultural appropriation and enforcing Native American stereotypes. The packaging of the collection featured ‘tribal’ patterns and the shades had names such as “Arrowhead” and “Call of the Canyon.” What’s worse, the campaign featured models wearing Native American headdresses —which we’ve established time and again, is disrespectful AF.
3. MAC Cosmetics x Rodarte “Juarez” polish.
Ciudad Juarez is a city known for the phenomenon of female homicides, called feminicidio in Spanish. The city has been—famously, may I add—plagued by the violent deaths of hundreds of women and girls since 1993. MAC and fashion house Rodarte collaborated in a highly anticipated collection inspired by Mexico in 2010. One of the nail polishes in the collection was named ‘Juarez’, which disturbed customers and social media users.
MAC apologized but kept the product on its shelves —guess they weren’t that sorry. The makeup brand did, however, “give a portion of the proceeds from the MAC Rodarte collection to help those in need in Juarez.”
4. The Balm’s “Meet Matt” eye shadow palette.
Every shade in this eye shadow palette, which is still available under the site’s bestseller section, was named for a different “Matt,” and many found it’s choice of last names questionable.
The brand paired the last names Lin, Lopez, Kumar, and Ahmed to yellow, brown, brick red, and black shades, which a lot of customers —ourselves included— found racist.
5. Ben Nye’s Cream Character Base.
Back in 2015, Ben Nye, the special FX and stage makeup brand, sold a deep complexion base cream called “Minstrel Brown”. FYI —and get ready to have your mind blown— Minstrels were theatric shows performed by white actors in blackface during the 19th century. The shows were specifically intended to mock and degrade black people.
Ben Nye renamed the shade —and every shade in the collection— but the brand never apologized or commented on the incredibly inappropriate name.
6. “Iris I Was Thinner” OPI nail polish
Because women need to be reminded of the toxic beauty ideal that we ‘should strive to be thin’. This nail polish is a no from me, dog.
7. “Miso Happy With This Color” OPI nail polish.
We’ll admit that some of OPI’s nail polish color names make us giggle. But not when they’re making puns that suggest a stereotype of how Asians speak. According to portrayals in pop culture, an Asian face must mean an Asian accent — and often, the accent is for comedic effect in movies and television shows.
8. Fenty’s “Geisha Chic” highlighter
Ok, we love queen RiRi but more often than not, Asian targeted racism gets glossed over and we’re not here for this name. A Geisha or ‘Geiko’ is a Japanese woman who entertains guests through talents such as dance, music, and singing —the tradition can be traced back centuries, and it’s not fair to minimize it.
Fenty team members personally messaged the people that left comments about the product on Instagram and quickly pulled the highlighter from their online store. “We wanted to personally apologize. Thank you so much for educating us,” read their apology.
9. Wycon’s “Black As A N***a”
At this point, I feel like brands are using racial insensitivity as a marketing ploy. Because in what world does it seem right to give a product —or anything else for the matter- this name? A quick scroll through the Italian beauty brand will leave you pressed to find any representation of people of color —but of course hip-hop culture is up for grabs when it comes to the naming of product shades for the brand, which also uses names like “Drop it Like It’s Hot” and “Bootylicious.” #cancelled
10. Kat Von D’s “Selektion” lipstick shade
Kat Von D has been accused of anti-semitism time and again, and I guess we’ll never know if it’s a real claim or if it’s just a product of Twitter users’ machinations. But one thing is true, her eponymous makeup line launched a lipstick shade with the name “Selektion,” which in German simply means “screening,” or “picking.” However, the use of the German word in English speek has become taboo due to the use it had by Nazis in the selection of prisoners for death in concentration camps.
Whether the name was a deliberately insensitive pick or just an honest mistake, we would’ve erred on the side of caution and steered clear of a polemic word.
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