beauty for cool kids: yikes, dume, or typo?

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the trendy, fun and affordable cosmetics brand Colourpop. Founded in 2014, the brand has taken off and become one of the most popular in the beauty industry. At the time of their founding, they were mostly known for their $6 matte lip paints. Since then, they have expanded to offer satin and metallic lips, as well as, lip glosses. They also sell highlighters, eyeshadows and more recently sculpting sticks. Sounds great right? Some true beauty geniuses…

Well, it’s not great. Let me tell you why.

Their recent launch of sculpting sticks (highlight/contour sticks more or less), had some interesting names to say the least. On top of the naming issue, they weren't offering the widest range of shades for women and men, but they were certainly off to a good start. Let’s review:

What is wrong with this picture?

Castle vs. Typo, Gummy Bear vs. Yikes, Illuminati vs. Easy Peasy, Venice vs. Dume.

Now, here’s a moment where I would have loved to be a fly on the wall and listen to the brainstorming session behind these names. How in the world did the names for the darker shades, seem appropriate? Who signed off on their release? I just have so many questions. Was there a woman or man of color in the room? Let alone involved in the design/naming process? Perhaps she or he could have offered some perspective and helped them avoid this embarrassment altogether.

Whatever the case, Colourpop went ahead and released these sculpting sticks with their problematic names for consumers to purchase. Except consumers weren’t here for these names, myself included. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love love love Colourpop's matte lippies. I'm always talking about how pigmented the colors are and how great the quality of the lippie is. I even made a YouTube video of various lip swatches (shameless plug here). So, to see a brand that I adore take such an L was disappointing. It begs the question, how much does this brand really value people of color and our contributions to the success of their brand? Perhaps it was just an honest error but, I’m cynical, so I doubt it.

The ill-naming of these sculpting sticks simply speaks to and illuminates larger issues in the beauty industry. Actually, issues our society faces in general. What am I referring to? This notion that darker complexions are not as beautiful, or acceptable because society has deemed the Western European aesthetic as the standard of beauty. As a result, we get brands like Colourpop subconsciously (or purposely) naming products things like “Yikes” and “Typo”.

Is there a solution?

Renaming the products is certainly a start.

Images: Colourpop

Jakira ShawComment