Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I’m a makeup addict. So what’s my one-stop shop for every over priced product to slather all over my face? Sephora, of course! It has truly become a problem. I spend so much money at Sephora that I’ve reached their highest level of membership (Very Important Beauty Insider ROUGE, thank you very much).
I know you’re probably hardcore judging me right now, but seriously, they have everything you could ever want or need. Need a sumptuous satin-like skin cleansing balm infused with diamond shavings and the oil of an entire coconut? Check. How about a gravity defying, triple-the-length, long-lasting mascara that’ll have people confusing you for Bambi? Also check. And, as every makeup guru knows, no trip to Sephora is complete without a shiny new red lipstick to add to your makeup bag.
But alas, my dear Sephora sometimes makes me take a step back and catch my breath a little bit, especially when I take a second to look at the name of the color of whatever product I’m buying. Last week, Sephora came under fire from media and consumers after selling a new Kat Von D red lipstick called “Underage Red,” which is described as a “matte fire engine red,” and a “cult favorite.”
This isn’t the first time Kat Von D (originally famous for her appearances on “Miami Ink” and “L.A. Ink”) has encountered controversy over the name of her makeup products. Back in 2012, she and Sephora came under fire for a lipstick called “Celebutard.” Von D also has another lipstick in her line entitled, “Lolita,” causing one Twitter user to ask if she has “a whole sex offender line.”
When addressing the controversy, Von D responded in a now deleted tweet, “At the end of the day, it’s just a [expletive] lipstick.”
However, Kat Von D is incorrect. It’s not just lipstick. It’s playing into one of the beauty industry’s darkest sides — the appeal of sexualizing young girls, evident even in the perfume my mom used to wear when she was my age, called “Love’s Baby Soft.”
Red lipstick has an undeniable maturity and sex appeal about it. Von D is obviously playing into that by naming her red lipstick “Underage Red,” something so reminiscent of youth and innocence. In the same way that girls are encouraged to remove any visible body hair from a young age, we subliminally tell girls that the only way they can be sexy is if they make themselves as young as possible. However, this stark juxtaposition of sex and youth isn’t as edgy as Von D may have intended it to be. Instead, it’s simply gross, creepy and wrong.
So, no, Kat Von D, it’s not just lipstick. It’s a continuation of a really terrible standard we hold young girls to, and honestly, it glamorizes statutory rape.
Until Von D (and Sephora — you’re not off the hook either!) apologizes and removes the lipstick from her line, I know exactly which makeup kiosk I’ll be skipping on my next Sephora visit.