Here's What All Those Beauty Brand Acronyms Actually Mean
Here's a fun game: ask your friends (IDK, your BFF Jill?) whether MAC, NYX, or OPI can be found as an abbreviated term in an Instagram caption, or in your makeup bag. Depending on how versed they are in the beauty realm, the answers could prove to be pretty entertaining. If you scroll through our group text thread with our friends, you'd probably lose count at how many times we abbreviated something that probably didn't need to be shortened. Beauty brands have been in on that game long before this era, but at least in their case, the acronyms are warranted. Below, we've outlined some of the most popular abbreviated beauty brands, and exactly what each one stands for.
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With textures, color payoff, and insanely-good limited run collections unlike any other brand out there, it should come as no surprise that MAC is short for Makeup Art Cosmetics.
Eyes, lips, face—it's what every product in e.l.f.'s lineup encompasses.
Funny enough, NYX isn't an abbreviation for anything—it's a nod to the Greek goddess of the night, who shares the same name, and would likely be down with the extensive rainbow of products that complement any occasion she might be headed to.
The coolest hair brand of the moment pays homage to its four lead stylists and founders Franck Izquierdo, Leo Izquierdo, Aaron Grenia, and Chase Kusero.
Short for Good Hair Day, GHD's tools are so infamous in their native England that the brand name has taken on verb form. When you overhear someone say that they're going to get their hair GHD-ed, you know what's up.
Fun fact, the meaning behind your favorite nail polish brand actually doesn't have anything to do with nail polish. Short for Odontorium Products Inc., the company was originally geared toward dental supply until Suzi Weiss-Fischmann came onboard and worked with biochemist R. Eric Montgomery to create an acrylic system, which was to local nail salons. The company pivoted toward nail products and closed out the dental sector, and began producing nail colors in 1989.
SK-II, short for Secret Key II, was created after the brand founders visited a sake brewery and noticed that the hands of the elderly workers still looked super-young. The ingredient in the sake responsible for their youthful appearance was that of pitera, which was then singled out, patented, and incorporated into all of SK-II's formulas. Pretty safe to assume that pitera happens to be that secret key to hydrated, glowy skin.
Considering that the brand creates insanely-intricate manicures season after season every Fashion Week, it's no question as to why the name is short for Creative Nail Design.
This cult favorite natural brand was so named for its creator, makeup artist Rose Marie Swift.