What Color Lipstick Is Your SOUL?


My fascination with beauty product names began with Havana. It was the early 2000s, I was copy editing at a teen magazine, and as I read the beauty pages I saw that a blush had the absurdly long name of Lancôme Blush Subtil Shimmer Shimmer Mocha Havana, and I thought, This name can't be right, because A) "Shimmer" was in there twice, and B) Havana has café au lait, not mocha, and as a young copy editor I was extraordinarily literal. I went to the beauty editor, who, quite rightly, looked at me like I was being a pedant, and assured me that Lancôme Blush Subtil Shimmer Shimmer Mocha Havana was an entirely reasonable name for a blush.

The thing is, she's right. Beauty companies come up with these intensely long names for their products; you've got to get the brand name in there, then the name of the line, then the name of the shade. Even a pretty reasonably named product winds up being something like—and I'm just grabbing the nearest magazines here—Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm in Strawberry Shimmer, or Laura Geller New York Eye Rimz Baked Wet/Dry Eye Accents in Enchanted Forest, or...Lancôme Blush Subtil Shimmer Shimmer Mocha Havana. Even without trying to be ridiculous, they become exactly that.