The Sweetest Cosmetics on my Vanity

Last month I wrote a post on The Sexiest Cosmetics on my Vanity.  I honestly wasn’t surprised by how many products on my dressing table were labeled using sexual innuendos. In the article I discussed here, Merskin (2007) found that advertising in the beauty industry often uses product variant names inspired by sex and romance. However, she also notes that, more often than not, they use product names inspired by food and beverages to appeal to the “essential components of human survival and desire.”

This is really interesting. Sure, sex probably sells products that are marketed to both men and women, but why use decadent desserts and beverages to market products specifically designed for women. I find this particularly intriguing, because I’m not sure that this approach would be effective for men.


I think the most obvious reason is related to body image issues. Women are constantly bombarded with television and magazine ads featuring the latest fad diets or exercise routines. In terms of body size, the most popular fashion designers seem to ascribe to the idea that less is more. Given this, it is actually pretty brilliant (and maybe a little twisted) that advertisers would use high calorie foods to market cosmetics to women…

With respect to naming products after food and beverages Merskin (2007) writes:

“This suggests that cosmetics companies and advertisers optimize women’s emotional connections with food, particularly desserts and rich beverages, through lipstick in two ways: (1) by symbolically consuming the forbidden fruit and (2) by transforming oneself into the consumable…”

Further….she states that “Rather than directly applying her dessert to her hips (an old saying) a woman can instead “apply” the dessert to her lips.”

Merskin’s (2007) study only examined the product names of lipsticks. In the spirit of Valentines Day and all things sweet ❤ I decided to do a quick inventory of the sweetest cosmetics on my dressing table!

See below a list of some of my favorite dessert inspired products:

Too Faced – Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer


This is my all time favorite bronzer! I usually use this for contouring, it is very matte and bendable. The best part is that it smells like chocolate!

Too Faced Cosmetics are actually pretty on-point when it comes to this marketing strategy. I don’t personally own any of these other products, but I am a little impressed by their creativity here…

I mean, who could resist Chocolate Bon Bons, White Chocolate Chips, (Milk) Chocolate Bars, or Melted Chocolate…and if chocolate isn’t your thing, there is always Sweet Hearts or Sweet Peach!

Buxom – Eye Shadow Bar

I’ve already raved about these eye shadows, but they are definitely at the top of my favorites list. For the sweetest list, the winner here goes to:
*Champagne Buzz*

Laura Geller – Baked Gelato Swirl


Mmmm. I love Gelato! I also love this highlighter. My favorite is Gilded Honey! 

Anastasia Glow Kits

I’ll be honest, these aren’t my favorite highlighters. I only have the Gleam Kit, pictured on the left. They are great quality, I just don’t love these colors on my skin tone. The names are great:
Hard Candy
Anastasia more recently released a Sweets Kit, pictured to the right. Check out these fabulous colors:
Sassy Grape

Now onto
Lip Sticks!
(There are so many…)

Sugar makes some of the most amazing tinted chap sticks. These are definitely a staple on my dressing table in the winter months.
Right now I am loving the colors “Rose” & “Honey

On the top left, Bobbi Brown’sChocolate” has been a winter favorite of mine, lately I’ve been pairing this with Clinique’sBlack Honey” gloss!

The bottom two lipsticks here are by Bite Beauty, and they definitely take the cake for the sweetest lipstick, and possibly cosmetic brand…they at least come in at a close tie with Too Faced.

The lipstick pictured on the bottom left is
Bite Beauty
Amuse Bouche Lipstick; in this product I have tried 

As I was looking at their website, I noticed that every color they have created is named after  a food or beverage!
Here are some of the sweetest colors I found:

Lavender Jam
Sugar Cane
Cotton Candy
Black Truffle

On the bottom left, you will see Bite Beauty Multi Stick in “Macaroon.
There are so many other great names, here are some of the sweetest and most decadent lipsticks I saw from this brand: 

Crème Carmel

I am honestly not sure how much this marketing strategy has influenced my purchase history, but the inventory on my dressing table seems to suggest that it has had some influence. This is just a little food for thought…I always enjoying trying to pull research down from the ivory tower and look at how it applies to my every day life.

That said, I hope you all have the sweetest day today! Whether you’re getting all dolled up for a Valentines Day date with your favorite Black Truffle lipstick or simply enjoying Chocolate Bon Bons and Champagne with your girlfriends-

Don’t forget to treat yourself well! 

Until next time,

The Sexiest Cosmetics on my Vanity

I’ve always heard the saying “Sex Sells” and I never gave too much attention to it.  I won’t pretend to be an expert in advertising or marketing, but I did spend a great portion of my time in grad school researching sex and sexuality. That said, this topic is particularly interesting to me. I have been thinking a lot lately about how brands in the beauty industry market sex to sell more of their products. Much of the research I have found on this topic examines how visual ads use symbolic messages and sexual innuendos to boost sales. Much less research has focused on print advertising. For me, I don’t buy a lot of magazines or even watch TV, so I am someone who is probably most influenced by product names, packaging, etc.

I think it is particularly interesting how brands market what is called “product variants” with the use of creative names, say for example in lipstick or nail polish colors. I know I have been guilty of buying a product just because I like the name. I have also noticed that this usually happens within particular brands that I already love or have made a commitment to.

It took me a little digging, but I found a really interesting study that examined the names of 1,722 lipstick colors across 52 brands (Merskin, 2007). The study utilizes textual analysis and finds that product variant names for these lipsticks brands most often fall within one of three categories: food, beverages, and sex/romance. The author proposes that part of the marketing strategy here is to appeal to the “essential components of human survival and desire.” The author suggests that this type of marketing and advertising is especially effective because it plays on and evokes strong  emotions in the consumer. Merskin (2007) writes that these product names evoke especially strong emotions among women because of the associations that women have tied to food, eating, weight, desire, sex, and sexuality.  I agree that this strategy is likely very effective, as society has historically controlled women’s sexual expression and body image. You can read the full article here.

In a more recent study, Lindstedt and Nilsson (2014) examined how product variant names within a particular brand influenced buyer intentions to purchase a particular color of nail polish. They categorized the variant nail colors into sex/romance, geographical, and animals/nature names. Unexpectedly, the sex/romance category faired the worst. That is, it did not significantly impact consumer’s purchase intentions. The authors theorize that the market may be saturated with these types of ads, thus lending consumers to become habituated to sexual messages in advertising.  You can read more on that here. This is actually not surprising, as the discourse around sex and sexuality is increasingly becoming more normalized (i.e. less taboo), especially over the past decade.

 While these are very interesting findings, these are only two studies. I’ll also note that no study is without its limitations, so I recommend taking each with a grain of salt.

I can say that, personally, I don’t know how many times I have purchased an eyeshadow or lipstick simply because of its name! With all that said, I wanted to share some of the sexiest cosmetics on my vanity!

Spoiled Sexymatte deep mauve
Lingerie Lovermatte mauve
Feather Boamatte pastel pink

(I will admit that I initially picked out these shades based on their names. However, I have always loved Buxom shadows – these have been a major staple in my makeup wardrobe for years. Also, these first three colors blend really well together for a simple every day look!)

Silk Sheetschai luster
Satin Seductionbisque luster
Wild Nightsshimmering sugar plum

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara


(How could I not have this mascara!? I love the name and the packaging. Honestly, the product is not my all time favorite, but I do like it. I actually preferreed their “lashgasam” mascara, however, it seems that it was discontinued 😦  !”

Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection

(How adorable is this palett? I love the packaging so much and the colors are really nice. This is by far the “sexiest” product on my vanity. Still, it is not my favorite. I prefer the Buxom shadows. However, with primer these are fairly comparable!”

Here are the colors!:

In the Buff
Satin Sheets
Birthday Suit
Fuzzy Handcuffs
Sugar Walls
Lap Dance
Garter Belt
French Tickler

Urban Decay – Naked2 Palette
(This is actually the first ‘nice’ eyeshadow palette I ever bought. I haven’t used it in ages, but there are some pretty scandalous names here!)

Here are some of my favorites:
Booty Call

NARS Lip Gloss

rgasmpeachy pink w/ shimmer

Colors I’d like to try: Baby Doll, Easy Lover and Strip Tease!!!!

NARS Blush

rgasmpeachy pink w/ shimmer
Colors I’d like to try: Super Orgasm, Sin, Seduction, Sex Appeal

(There was a lot of hype about the NARS’ product variant, Orgasam. As far as I know, this color was only made in a blush and lip gloss. After all the fuss, I had to try each of these products. I was reasonably pleased with both, however, I will say that they are not on my list of go-to cosmetics.)

NARS Lipstick
Sexual Healing
metallic peachy rose

(This is my least favorite product of those listed here. I literally only bought this for the product name. I am a big fan of NARS lipsticks, but sadly this shade is not compatible with my skin tone. I probably even knew this as I was purchasing it. This is actually the perfect example of how much advertising can influence consumer purchasing.)  

Side note…I would love to know WHO has the job of naming these products, and how I get that job!? I think it would be so fun.
Stay tuned for a post on the most sweet and decadent cosmetic names from my dressing table!
Until next time-