The Comprehensive Guide to Sex in Beauty Products

Rachel Krause
The Comprehensive Guide to Sex in Beauty Products
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Sex sells—that’s a fact. According to excellent academic source Wikipedia, sex has been selling since at least 1871, the year Pearl Tobacco first featured a “naked maiden” on its package cover. “Good idea,” said everyone, and so the advertising industry was never the same.

Predictably, the world of sex and the world of beauty products have always overlapped—women have used cosmetics to enhance their perceived attractiveness for mating purposes since, like, the actual dawn of time. And so the beauty industry has long harped on that connection, starting with subliminal suggestions (take, for example, Herbal Essences) and working allllll the way up to overt sexuality. That’s how we got products with names like Orgasm and Foreplay and Lost Cherry, and even less conspicuous mentions such as Rule34, which is an Urban Decay lip gloss as well as an Internet “rule” that states, “If it exists, there is porn of it, no exceptions.”

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Some of the biggest brands out there consistently overlook the chaste in favor of becoming repeat offenders, with a significant portion of their products given names you’d be embarrassed to say in front of your dad. NARS has Orgasm to thank for its surge in popularity, Too Faced‘s Better than Sex mascara is a perennial best seller, and Urban Decay has basically made a brand out of being risqué. Sex—and any mention of it in marketing—has proven time and time again to be a successful selling point, and it’s also a really, really good way to spice up the average Sephora visit. And if you say you’ve never chosen a nail polish at the salon based almost on the name alone (Topless & Barefoot for me), you’re a liar.

It would be impossible to round up every single beauty product that’s ever alluded to sex, so consider this list carefully curated. Each one of these 22 picks is a fantastic stand-alone product, but give them a name like Sexer or the Climax and they’re practically unmissable. Go on, quit clutching your pearls—and if you believe in things like the bewitching power of red lipstick, some may even help you get laid for real.

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