Media Urban Decay L'Oreal

Urban Decay's "razor sharp" post causes a stir on social media


By Laurie Fullerton | Freelance Writer

August 24, 2016 | 3 min read

Edgy beauty and cosmetics company Urban Decay is creating a stir on social media today with a recent post that has been garnering criticism on Facebook and Twitter.

from Urband Decay facebook page
Urban decay

The controversy erupted when a line of eyeliner called "Razor Sharp," which comes in a number of colors, was featured in a post depicted with colored swatches appearing across the wrist of a model's hand along with the caption "Ready for some Razor Sharp Swatches, UDers?"

The swatches are drawn thin across the two large arteries on the wrist, and for many viewers the image seemed to depict "slitting ones wrist.

The hundreds of responses are claiming that the swatches on the wrist are "in bad taste. One said, "Wow this is in super poor taste Urban Decay Cosmetics. Do you really think it appropriate to pimp your makeup and make it look similar to cutting and call it 'Razor Sharp'? Seriously?! I work with people who cut everyday. This is not cool." Others wrote "you just lost a customer" and "this is insensitive."

Although the company was not available for comment at press time, an additional tweet above the photo said the following: "We swatch on the inner arm to show texture & shades. We didn’t intend to reference self-harm as the product is named Razor Sharp Eyeliner," but Urban Decay did not take the original post down.

Although makeup swatches are typically splashed across a wrist when checking on color and how it might look on the skin, most standard photographs of swatches across the wrist used in advertising show the whole arm and not just the wrist with lines across the artery. They are also not called 'razor sharp' and are generally depicted in broader strokes. As one observer notes "When you hire someone to make your product appealing you shouldn't end up with an ad that repulses some viewers."

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