Lipstick by another name won't sell

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new lipstick lib AP What draws you to your favourite lipstick? Is it the colour, the packaging or the smell? Here, a model has lipstick applied during a fashion show.

London - What draws you to your favourite lipstick? Is it the colour, the packaging or the smell?

According to new research many of us are subconsciously swayed by the name on the bottom of the product.

A study found those bearing a moniker relating to food and sex were most popular with consumers with Triple Chocolate Parfait and Hot Mama outselling classic nude pinks or reds.

During the recession many cosmetics brands have had to be more imaginative in the the labelling department in a bid to set themselves apart.

MAC make-up boasts a spectrum of colours including Creme in your Coffee, High Tea, Popcorn and Reel Sexy while Bobbi Brown offers Salmon, Desert Plum and Rum Raisin.

The study’s lead author Professor Debra Merskin, from the University of Oregon, said: “The findings show, beyond simple colour names, that most of the lipsticks are named after food, beverages, sex, and romance. “

During the study titled “Truly Toffee and Raisin Hell: A Textual Analysis of Lipstick Names”, Merskin categorised the names of 1 722 lipsticks from 52 brands in order to “understand how meaning is constructed through lipstick naming”.

Food-related shades were most popular while variants named after birds and animals were least sought-after.

Merskin added: “Sugared Plum, Double Fudge, Vanilla Brownie and Raspberry Glace sound like temptations form a dessert cart, but instead these luscious sounding treats are names of lipstick shades.

“Estee Lauder’s advertisements for its Clinique brand, for example, invite women to taste ‘deliciously sheer’ shades such as Rich Cherry.

“Other advertisements invite the wearer to experience ‘seduction,’ be a ‘tramp’, or ‘X-pose’ herself.’

A spokesperson from, which stocks 15 000 beauty products online confirmed the trend.

“Within our 50 top selling colours, food-named lipsticks feature highly on the list. From Watermelon to Succulent Lychee, the names speak for themselves.” – Daily Mail



Food: 24%

Colour: 20%

Sex and romance: 10%

Elements and minerals: 9%

Emotions and characteristics: 8%

Other: 8%

People and names: 5%

Flowers: 5%

Places: 4%

Objects: 3%

Darkside: 2%

Arts and media: 1%

Birds and animals: 1%

Times and seasons: <1%

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