Before the days of Millennial pink packaging, free sticker sheets, and models embracing a “glowy, simple girl” aesthetic, there was another fail-safe way to bait shoppers into buying beauty: sex. The old Mad Men adage of “sex sells” might finally be waning from car commercials and cigarette ads, but if you look around makeup shelves, it’s—almost shockingly—still prevalent.
Brands like Nars and Too Faced have long made practice of naming their products something tantalizingly provocative. Desire, Deep Throat, Afterglow—at a certain point, you’d think it’d make a girl want a refractory period. But seeing the success of calling a pinky-peach blush “Orgasm” or claiming that a mascara is actually Better Than Sex, brands are continually trying to bank on the hope that a racy name will grab our eyes.
And yet, all the naming innuendos are comically thirsty right now. It’s transcended lipstick and blush, where sexy naming conventions got their start. Now, highlighter, eyeshadow, and even setting spray are bringing the conversation to the bedroom. Mascara names especially wouldn’t sound out of place in an erotic novel. Bad Gal Bang? Maneater? Climax? I haven’t had sex in months, but my makeup bag is raunchy AF.
On the flip side, the argument could be made that there’s nothing wrong about wanting to feel yourself. If having Orgasm on your cheeks puts you in damn good mood, why shouldn’t you partake in that pleasure? So for one week, I put all the sex-themed makeup to work with one question in mind: Does sexy makeup actually make you feel more sexy? Or is it all just a ridiculous marketing ploy to get you to buy more stuff?