Thursday, 9 January 2014

Who's having an Orgasm?



"Which one would you like to have?"

"I'd like to have an orgasm please."

The cashier rings it through the till, hands in a little black box with the magic tube inside, and the woman walks off wearing a naughty grin. Why not? She asks. She just treated herself to an Orgasm.

via sheknows.com
If I caught myself overhearing such a conversation, I'd surely be inching closer to find out more as what she was looking for was something we don't publicly admit and declare the desire for.

But any makeup junkie would know that she was simply asking for NARS' iconic shade of lip gloss  which is part of the cult favourite Orgasm range.


via narscosmetics.co.uk
 NARS Orgasm Lip Gloss

This prompts me to ask: since when have lipstick names evolved (or devolved) from nondescript colour codes to risqué overtones of sexual references?




What's in a Name?

ASOS, one of the UK's biggest online-only fashion stores selling high street, designer, and own-brand clothing and accessories, sent me a voucher for a 20% discount as a treat for my birthday.



It's the new year, but because I have no intention to edit my wardrobe by adding unnecessary purchases, I diverted my attention to my makeup. 

I was initially looking into trying out a new cream-to-powder foundation and settled for NARS as it's sold on ASOS. I'll deal with Bobbi Brown at the airport duty free. I then realised that I was running out of my MAC blush, so I googled the counterpart of MAC Peachykeen (how sweet and innocent) at NARS. That's when I ran into that Orgasm. 

As any woman who can't decide on a single pot of anything without going through the whole lot, I finally made a staunch decision to purchase a new show-stopping red lipstick. I've heard of NARS Fire Down Below way back when I first purchased MAC's Russian Red. I'm a big loyal MAC fan, but the names of shades of NARS have lured me to peek over the neighbour's fence.

Do the names of reds live up to its fiery streak, or do the nudes have deceiving names that clash with its colour personality?

Let's play the name game.

Here's a roll call of some of NARS' very suggestive and sex-themed reds, pinks, and peaches for the lips and cheeks:

NARS sheer lipstick in Manhunt (sheer poppy red)
NARS velvet gloss lip pencil in New Lover (gold infused strawberry pink)
NARS velvet matte lip pencil in Sex Machine ("innocent" pink mauve)
NARS sheer lipstick in Sexual Healing (shimmering pink blossom)
NARS blush in Orgasm (peachy pink with goldern shimmer)
NARS blush in Deep Throat (flirty sheer peach)
NARS blush in Super Orgasm (peachy pink with gold glitter)


On most online stores now, it's standard to suggest matches with your purchase for link selling. Had Orgasm blush been out of stock, I'd be reveling in Deep Throat or having multiple Orgasm with Super Orgasm. NARS didn't stop at that. It was also suggested that Orgasm lip gloss complements Sexual Healing sheer lipstick. And NARS say they're all perfect for me! An orgy of colours needless to say.

 
via narscosmetics.co.uk

 NARS Sexual Healing

Can I try Deep Throat over lunch? Will Super Orgasm give me a flushed just-got-out-of-bed look?

MAC could only rival the above (and I don't think they're even attempting that) with shade monikers such as Carnal Instinct (deep brick red with gold pearl), Instigator (deep blackened plum), and Please Me (muted rosy tinted pink).


via shopping.rediff.com
MAC Please Me lipstick


I do prefer names for shades rather than numbers, as I can't seem to remember number codes unless it's my PIN. Six years ago, I used a red shade from Lancome the colourway of which never registered in my head. Was it 205 or 250? 

 Stretching my curiosity, I checked other brands' shade names, and I must say that NARS is the naughtiest. It's been a very cheeky introduction for me to the brand.

Revlon was my very first proper lipstick purchase, and I picked the classic red-brown shade called Toast of New York. I thought it was a sexy, sophisticated, and celebratory name which made me look years beyond my teens in the 90s, which was my goal. I think Revlon's Toast of New York is one of those shades with a name that matches the personality of the colour, or at least the colour has a slight association with the name (toast, thus brown). You know when people say that a woman doesn't look or sound like a Samantha or a Sophie or a Jennifer, or even a Marjorie? This one looked and felt like she's the Toast of New York.


via allure.com
Revlon Toast of New York


For nostalgia, I browsed Revlon's line-up and picked two shades whose names are very witty, playful, and true to its colour: Super Lustrous lipstick in Gentlemen Prefer Pink (it's baby pink!) and Mauve It Over (it is mauve. period). The pink one, I assume, is a tribute to Marilyn Monroe's 1953 film 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', and the mauve one is just a play on the word move. NARS sells shades called Belle de Jour, a sheer beige typified by Catherine Deneuve's lip colour in the 1967 French film 'Belle De Jour', and Last Tango through their cinematic range, inspired by the 1972 steamy Franco-Italian romantic drama 'Last Tango in Paris.'

 I have no clue of the sales record of the above shades, but I know very well that one of my favourite reds, MAC Russian Red, is one of MAC's bestsellers and is always in the top ten list of fashion and beauty magazines' best buys, owing to its bluish red colour which apparently suits any skin tone. 

via realsimple.com
MAC Russian Red



The Scholarly Lessons of Lipsticks

In a 2007 study by Professor Debra Merskin of University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication, entitled "Truly Toffee and Raisin Hell: A Textual Analysis of Lipstick Names", she cited that colour name is the second top motivational factor on why women are drawn to a particular lipstick (click HERE for the Huffington Post article that featured the said study). To add Russian (in reference to the Red Army I suppose) to an already bold and bright colourway lends a striking name for easy recall.

A study based in the US, Professor Merskin compiled 1,722 names of lipsticks from 52 national brands, and broke them down into several categories that mark the influencing factors behind names. Using the theory of concept of presentation of self and impression management, the results showed that the top three categories are food, colour, and sex and romance.

Revlon alone has a ColorBurst Lip Butter range with all variants named after food items or desserts: Pink Truffle, Raspberry Pie, Peach Parfait, Cotton Candy, Cupcake, Strawberry Shortcake, Creme Brulee, Macaroon, Wild Watermelon, Juicy Papaya, Pink Lemonade, Red Velvet, among others. Amongst makeup bloggers and review sites such as Makeup Alley, the range has received rave reviews. For £7.99, it is indeed a steal.

As for sex and romance, we already know that lots of women are having an Orgasm at this very moment for £17.50 a pop.

In her study abstract, Professor Merskin wrote, "Understanding how meaning is constructed through lipstick naming is an important step toward apprehending the role of cosmetics in conflating femininity, self-esteem, and body image..."

That little tube of magic is a woman's shield and armour, comfort zone, mood indicator and enhancer, buying power index, confidence booster, a personal head-turning tool that adds to her charm as a serious whistle bait, and a girl Friday who saves the day when a shot of caffeine can't perk up a woman.

With all these things a lipstick (or lip gloss for those who prefer to go au naturel) can do for us women, it's no surprise that we pay that much for one. It just gets the job done.

 
In case you're wondering what I got myself with the ASOS voucher, here's one of them.



I couldn't weigh the reason whether it was the colour or the name that clinched the sale, but it's one of those purchases that ticked all the boxes. I'm a Year of the Dragon baby, I'm partial to matte red, and it's my birthday. Was it the cleverly crafted name? Was it the colour? Partly. But more than that, it's the sentimentality attached with the name, and the statement that's spoken by the colour. 


We could come up with fifty shades of reasons and be enticed by brands' marketing strategies to grab a new one, but sometimes the only excuse we need is that we deserve a little luxurious treat.  


What is your favourite makeup, lipstick, or lip gloss shade name, and the most suggestive you've come across?




19 comments:

  1. i remember when Nars first came out - it was the bar equivalent of ordering - sex on the beach!
    nars was very much the sign of the marketing times - it was also around the time of philosophy and their fun names. I can not remember numbers - ridiculous. Lancome loses out that way and Revlon I think make up good business because they do have fabulous names. I am like that with paint. Funny enough it is very pwerful because I wanted a paint color but it was called dead salmon so that aint going on the walls. Stupid and irrational i know but i just dont want to have something called dead salmon in my house!! But proves that names are very very important...x

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    1. Wow dead salmon...I was gonna ask how a paint could be ridiculously named when everything else I mentioned isn't angelic and has nothing to do with the colours. I completely agree with you, I wouldn't allow a dead salmon on my walls either :) I already thought of kinky names should I ever start my own makeup brand, but of course I won't say it here :)

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  2. Interesting facts. Nars' names would probably stick in my mind :) but most of the time, whether it's names, titles or numbers, I do not remember them. Because nowadays not only make-up has labels, but also bags, shoes and even furniture. It's just too much to handle for my mind.

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    1. NARS is stuck in my head, you're right. I'm gonna try Orgasm for sure. See how it measures up against my favourite MAC Peachykeen :)

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  3. My first thought when I read the title of your post was "oh my, isn't that a bit risqué?" (yes my internal monologue is the voice of a little 50 old lady from the 50's)
    The Dragon Girl shade that you picked out is an absolute little stunner, the colour is wonderful! :)

    Hayfa
    www.londonloafers.com

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    1. I know, I know. I deliberated about the title of the post. But then, like the lipstick shades I was talking about, it's all about branding sometimes :) Thanks Hayfa, I used Dragon Girl already and it's one of my top reds :)

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  4. Haha, love your wit so much. I was like, ohhhh, then the makeup taking. With names like truffle and Russian red, I want to try some new hues. I'm a huge customer of NARS and love their products. :-) Happy weekend.

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    1. Thanks Madison! Might try Revlon again coz of the names. I just wish that it doesn't taste like perfume anymore. That's one reason i dropped the brand. Aside from brown-red not being my colour anymore. Have a lovely day!

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  5. Happy New Year to you! Names are so much more memorable. I always have to check the numbers of my favourite Lancome lipsticks before going out to buy them again. I've always been intrigued by the names of nail polish too particularly Essie and often wondered about the people who think of them! They do make me smile but it helps if the name vaguely hints at the shade.
    PS Thanks for the comment about festive Dubai - enjoy your time there!

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    1. Completely agree, it really helps if the name has at least a bit to do with the shade. Can't imagine Russian Red being other than red. I wouldn't think of Orgasm as peachy but it's marketing of course. Thanks miss b! Enjoying Dubai again. Plus Abu Dhabi :)

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  6. I'm curious to know whether the marketing director is a man or a woman, I'd be interested to know, either way I bet that marketing meeting was exciting! I love a bit of fun so I'm quite attracted to these lipsticks just because of the name. I've never considered Nars cosmetics, but now I am, so the marketing has worked although generally I'm a sales and marketing person's dream - very gullible. The only thing is the longevity. Initially I think it works as a great strategy to hook a new customer base (like me) but after a while the novelty slackens off - I think it needs to be a limited edition so women don't get annoyed about repeatedly having to ask for an orgasm, especially off a department store assistant.

    I rarely wear lipstick but I mix it up, I don't have a favourite brand. The last lipstick I wore was YSL on new year's eve - I know it was red, but that's about it!

    Have a lovely weekend xx

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    1. Or they probably don't even have meetings about the names. Maybe a list is drawn up by the advertising and PR agency handling the account, and voila! Everyone's having an Orgasm. You've got a point about making it a limited edition so you don't keep coming back to ask for that name over the counter. But it looks the range is garnering a more loyal following as the range is getting bigger. I might as well try it to see if the product name lives up to its hype xxx

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  7. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I love playing with makeup and must admit to a slight preference for Nars and MAC products, and not just because they have the most unforgettable names :D Speaking of names, I think Nars Orgasm and Deep Throat take the cake for being the most provocative. (Both are pretty blushes, though, so I think the Marketing Director knew that he had products worthy of backing up such controversial names :) I think you should check out BeneFit Cosmetics, they are the original when it comes to naming products with quirky names :)

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    1. Ahhh...Deep Throat. The Marketing Dept just went straight for it. Haha. I have some BeneFit cosmetics and that's actually why I was attracted to the brand: the name and the packaging. The names are very witty and funny but not overtly sexual as some of NARS' products. I just really prefer MAC and Bobbi Brown because it looks more grown-up and suit my makeup bag better. Oh listen to us women, we can make a long topic out of makeup shades. Hahaha. Thanks Rhona x

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  8. T'is me again - just thought you should know, I just went out and bought "Dragon Girl" and "Cruella"… and "mysterious red". So I'm officially never going back to Space NK. Not to mention that I went in to buy shampoo. AND that I forgot to buy said shampoo. Not cool man. Not cool at all.

    Hayfa
    www.londonloafers.com

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    1. Hahaha...you made me laugh Hayfa. That happens to me as well! I go into Boots and forget what I went in for. I was checking out 'Cruella' coz it's a deeper red than 'Dragon Girl'. I'm so happy with the texture and velvety (as the name says) feel of the stick, I'm gonna try the other colours. Would love to see you wearing them in your next posts! :D Thanks for the goss x

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  9. I just loved this Ms. Madge "An orgy of colours needless to say." This just rounded up the whole play of words! :P I'm not so much of a make-up person, let alone the lippie kind of gal. The closest to it would be my lipgloss from Prestige. Anyhow, I actually have Mac's Russian Red. I used to put it during job interviews, to give that certain oomph to my persona (red lips and all..hahaha). Anyway, NARS definitely had an effective marketing and branding. It makes them stand out, despite the sexual connotations.

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    1. Nice to see you here :) Thanks for your comment! Wow, you wear Russian Red to job interviews? I wouldn't dare. Hahaha. I'm just uncomfortable to come on too strong. Good on you :) Have a lovely week :)

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