We already know that beauty companies are out of original product names. But as one Guardian reader wrote in to “Ask Hadley” columnist Hadley Freeman, we sometimes forget that our favorite brands use names that are often incredibly inappropriate. The reader specifically raised issue with MAC’s Tinted Lipglass [sic] Underage. Freeman reminds us that some of the most popular brands out there also have some of the more, er, eye-catching names, from Nars Orgasm to MAC’s own Kinky and Please Me Lipglass. MAC’s branding team clearly enjoys their jobs. I’m pretty hard to offend, but when I imagine young girls at the Sephora at the local mall spending $15 on a lipgloss named “Kinky”? Not so cute.
“Perhaps even more than giving their products insane names, the beauty industry is infamous for its frankly deranged obsession with youth. Moisturisers routinely promise to give grown women “baby soft skin,” as though the problem with adults is that they’re just not enough like two-year-olds. But really, why focus on babies, when they’re practically geriatric already, what with all that exposure to the outside world and everything? Terribly ageing, you know. No, if I’m going to spend more than £20 on a moisturiser, I need it to promise that I will have the skin of a newly conceived foetus.”
Freeman also managed to get in touch with Terry Barber, Mac’s director of makeup artistry, who explains away the name. According to Barber, “Mac Underage Tinted Lipglass [sic] is a gorgeous baby pink which looks really youthful (hence the name) if worn in the right way. It’s a white pink, so quite simply don’t put too much on. Go with a micro thin layer and tap it to the edge of the lips with the fingertip for a plump, juicy nude. It’s great with black kohl on the eyes. Think young Bardot.” Unfortunately, young girls today don’t have Brigitte Bardot as a style icon anymore. They have Kendall and Kylie Jenner, who are underage themselves, remember?