Earlier this week, I was scrolling through Twitter (like I do every day) when I saw this tweet:
YIKES is right.
As you can see from the screenshots, photographer Pax Jones noticed that the makeup brand ColourPop was giving its sculpting sticks for dark skin tones some pretty offensive names, like “Yikes” and “Typo.” While ColourPop’s sculpting sticks for light skin tones have some weird names as well — like “Gummy Bear” and “Illuminati” — the names for lighter sculpting sticks don’t have the negative connotations that the names for darker sculpting sticks do. Who wants their skin to be called a “Typo,” or worse, “Yikes”??
Other people added their voices to Jones’:
BuzzFeed points out this isn’t the first time ColourPop has named its lipstick something offensive — a while back, they named a liquid lipstick “Gypsy,” but changed the name to “Calypso” after customers complained.
“I feel like ColourPop needs a better marketing/PR team as they’ve also messed up when they named their liquid lipstick Gypsy, which is a derogatory term used against Romani people. To name darker shades Typo and Yikes made me feel uncomfortable due to it being similar to my own skin tone,” 17-year-old Han told BuzzFeed.
“It’s extremely telling that the only negative names of the bunch were the three darkest. What’s even moretelling is the fact that not a soul involved in production was able to spot that, call it out, and change it,” beauty blogger Tiss, 20, added.
“The shade Dume was named after a place — but the most basic of research, a simple Google search, reveals that it is also a vile racist and ableist insult. If enough people of colour were involved in the naming of these products, I highly doubt that this would have been overlooked.”
The beauty industry in general has a lot to work on with racism and colorism. Many brands don’t even offer a wide range of foundations, choosing to offer only one or two shades for dark skinned people while offering dozens for white people — like Marc Jacobs, who not-so-coincidentally recently sent white models down the runway in faux dreadlocks:
As Refinery29 points out in an article published earlier this year called “How The Makeup Industry Has Failed Black Women,” for decades, black women and other dark skinned women of color have relied on makeup brands made specifically for women of color, such as Iman Cosmetics and Black Opal. Mainstream makeup brands are only just beginning to make makeup for dark skinned women, with Neutrogena and L’Oreal expanding their color ranges only in the past few years, and there are often major missteps when they do so.
ColourPop has apologized, changed the foundation names, and promised to “review our naming process to ensure this does not happen again” — let’s hope they follow through with that.
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