New consumer trend for sexy cosmetics

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Npd group, Cosmetics

A new trend has emerged for racy brand named cosmetics with many
manufacturers opting to give 'sexy' names to their beauty products
in order to entice the more daring female consumer.

According to market research firm, NPD Group, major cosmetic giants, such as MAC, Nars, Playboy Beauty and Benefit Cosmetics have all targeted the trend, creating lipsticks, blush lines, and nail polish colors with sexy names such as Fetish lip color, Orgasm blush and Make Out lipstick.

Nina Sisselman, vice president of creative development for High Maintenance, the company with the beauty license for Playboy states: 'If you are in a shop with hundreds of choices in front of you, the name, the package and the color makes a difference'.

This latest trend has seen 20 per cent of all new color cosmetics shades launched in the first half of this year fall into the 'hot and heavy' category. Karen Grant, senior beauty analyst at NPD group, suggested that 2006 is the first year that a significant push towards racy brand names was seen, with more companies getting on board, indicating that more companies will follow forth.

Many niche companies that are viewed as being 'edgier' set the standard for racy cosmetics some time ago, with Nars Cosmetics launching 'Orgasm Blush' in 1999. Mac and Benefit previously introduced lines such as 'Velvet Teddy' lipstick and 'Dr. Feelgood' face balm.

However, more traditional brands such as Lancôme, Chanel and Clinique are tapping into the market and hitting the cosmetic counters with lines such as Exotic Kiss lip gloss, Nudey nail polish and Boudoir rouge.

'We all love telling each other what shades we are wearing, saying the names out loud makes you giggle, and I see customers really enjoying the shade names when they're at the make up bar in the stores'​ says Christine Beauchamp, CEO of Victoria's Secret Beauty.

Victoria's Secret has fully embraced the trend, with an entire team dedicated to creating a different 'personality' for each separate product line. First they invent numerous 'characters', much like a movie script, then they apply the most appropriate color to each different character.

However, names such as G, which Beauchamp says is titled for: 'G for gold, G for G-String, or G for whatever else you're thinking',​ are causing concerns that companies may push the boundaries to far and offend the more conservative consumer. Grant stated 'if companies go too far, shoppers intrigue will turn to repulsion'.

Playboy Cosmetics may be one such manufacturer that falls into this category, with names such as 'Tie Me to the Bedpost' blush and 'Mile High' mascara being amongst the more provocatively branded products. However, Sissleman states that 'if anyone can push the bubble, Playboy can push it. We're not for Sally Homemaker next door'.

Related topics: Packaging & Design, Color Cosmetics

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