Monday, August 25, 2008

Are you a Brunette or a Brownette?

John Updike wrote an article for this week's New Yorker about Max Factor.  I'm looking forward to reading that and this book, mentioned in the article,  that calls Max, "the inventor of modern makeup."

I haven't opened the New Yorker yet this week and was pointed toward the article by Jezebel, which has posted a few adorable vintage ads for Max Factor makeup.  In one, lipstick colors are named for the haircolors they are meant to flatter:  Blonde, Brunette, Brownette, and Redhead.  The Jezebel writer, Dodai, is not familiar with the term, but I am.  In the days of yore, the term Brunette was reserved for ladies with only the very darkest shades of brown or black hair.  Brownette came after because there wasn't really a special term set aside for the medium-hued category.  I hear people referred to as blond(e)s or redheads often, but brunette isn't used as much anymore.  Personally I vacillate between shades of brownette and blonde, and definitely prefer my blonde with the 'e.'

Update:  even as I wrote, The Beauty Brains were throwing the term Brunette around with abandon.  And in a piece on DIY beauty versus mass-produced, no less.