Spring has sprung. It is time to get fresh. As we step up our grooming game in anticipation of warmer weather, we pause to celebrate some of the best brand names in personal care. So if you find yourself tasked with naming a product or company, the examples featured here should provide ample inspiration.
And if you don’t have a naming need but, like so many, are simply curious about the wonderful and sometimes weird world of brand naming, we hope you find this collection of shaving, hair care, and other personal care names as refreshing as we did.
Born of a desire for transparency within the cosmetics industry, high-performance Indian skincare brand, Minimalist, prides itself on its mantra of “hide nothing”. Often referring to something stripped down to its essentials, the term, “minimalist”, aptly describes this brand which eschews unnecessary ingredients such as fragrances, sulfates, dyes, silicones, and parabens in its products. The company extends its minimalist mindset into marketing, packaging, and even price point.
Tip: When developing names, imagine how the mark might carry over into all aspects of a brand’s verbal and visual identity. This kind of thematic cohesion creates memorable brands.
Function of Beauty
Function of Beauty is a sustainable and cruelty-free personal care brand that creates unique products, individually tailored to the unique needs of each customer. Founded by two MIT engineers and a formulation chemist, the company’s name serves a dual purpose: it reflects not only its products but also the fact that in the world of engineering, the word “function” applies to a performable process, while in chemistry, it relates to groups of molecules. Both meanings apply to the cosmetics process. Function of Beauty therefore, neatly ties together elements of science, the credentials of the company’s founders, and the concept of functional beauty treatments.
Tip: Exploring a founder’s personal or professional interests and backgrounds can lead to names with authentic storytelling. When taking this approach, however, be sure the name can easily leap from the personal to the public in the event of a company sale.
The House of Creed has a notable history that is traceable for over 250 years. With seven generations that have shaped the company, the history of the brand isn’t just stories passed from one generation to the next; it is a matter of public record. As such, the name conveys something real, enduring, and true.
Tip: If you want to convey attributes such as “true”, or “real” in your name, avoid using those words directly – this can have the opposite effect. It can come across as disingenuous or too excessive to believe. Instead, find words that, as the case with Creed, imply or hint at these concepts.
Ladies, you have been there—perched on one leg as you shave the other. This brand name colorfully evokes that image. It also evokes the bird’s soft plumage which cues to soft skin. And yes, the razors come in pink. No surprise this name is strong. Flamingo is part of Harry’s, a business that made headlines by selling beautifully crafted razors and blades directly to consumers via a subscription program, rather than through retailers.
Tip: When naming, call up your five senses—the visual for sure, as the case with Flamingo—but don’t forget the other senses. Like visuals, they too can unlock interesting naming territory.
Verb’s the word. It conveys action. It has that “it” factor. As a word, “verb” is small but powerful. And it drives the imagination straight towards movement. Maybe it conjures up the swaying of your newly-washed locks. Or perhaps it summons up the sensuous pleasure of lathering, smoothing, and creaming. It might even suggest the energy boost we feel when our manes look magnificent.
The creators of Verb say that they “verb in their Verb.” These are professional-grade hair products that get the job done, with good ingredients and affordable price points, so you can get back to doing whatever it is that you do.
Tip: When naming, think of unique words not normally associated with your industry. As a name for a literary magazine, Verb would be less captivating because it is more expected. But for a personal care product, the name surprises. And surprise makes for memorability—a key consideration when developing a brand name.
Living Proof is a haircare company with products proven to improve hair health over time. It touts the strength of the science behind its products, which makes “proof” a great word. It has meaning to the layman, as well as to the scientist. The company uses patented technology originating from MIT. As its website puts it, customers are Living Proof that the science works.
Tip: Before you begin naming, be sure you have clearly defined your unique value proposition. Ask yourself, “what will differentiate my business from my competitors?” You may want to build your name around the answer, especially if you are in a crowded space, like beauty, where distinguishing offerings can be challenging.
Prosecco is a top-selling “crisp scent that celebrates the sparkling effervescence of Prosecco and Champagne.” It is lovely as a scent name but works especially well when paired with Antica Farmacista’s line of bath products because it works so well on a literal and figurative level. The tonality complements too—Antica is an upscale brand and Prosecco evokes luxury and celebration. You can almost hear the clink of crystal and see the glint of bubbles. And let’s not forget that bubbles in a glass pair very nicely with bubbles in the bath.
Tip: Trademarking is tricky, especially in crowded spaces like personal care. Thinking outside the constraints of your vertical, as Antica Farmacista did with “Prosecco,” often leads to names that can more easily surmount trademark obstacles than more monikers that more directly relate to the underlying goods and services of the offering.
Osmia Organics Skincare uses high-quality, raw plant materials to create natural product collections for the face and body. Its founder, Dr. Sarah Villafranco, takes pains to create environmentally-friendly product packaging, as she believes “how we treat our bodies and our planet are inextricably linked. ” The word Osmia sounds at once natural and scientific—not a bad choice for company committed to the science of nature.
Education is important to Villafranco. The company’s blog and social media channels are valuable resources for “conscious consumers.” No surprise, she also takes the time to teach people about the company name. Osmia is derived from “anosmia,” a term which means the inability to smell. In removing the Latin prefix “an”, Villafranco focuses our attention on osmia, a word that derives from the Greek osmē, meaning odor.
The name also works because the brand wants people to return to their senses, and to “soak up all the precious beauty that can be found in a regular old day.”
Tip: Share the meaning behind your name as a way to build your brand and foster connections with customers. Today’s consumers want to shop from a brand that stands for something. A company’s purpose and social and environmental footprint matter and often affect people’s purchasing decisions. If possible, build a story around your name that will help shoppers understand your ethos.
Willow & Water
This bubble bath by Library of Flowers sounds earthy and magical. All the brands products are created in small batches, a trend in personal care and perfumery. They also feature lovely hand-drawn illustrations. The name works because it is on-brand and pleasing to the ear. It transports you to a place of beauty and solace, which is exactly what the bubble bath is intended to do. Moreover, willow trees are mad about moisture, which is why they often grace the banks of rivers and shorelines of ponds.
Tip: Your name should sound like your brand. That may seem intuitive, but it is worth taking the time to consider the tone of voice or personality of your brand. Are you free-spirited, like Willow & Water, or hip and youthful like Verb? After you have a list of potential names that convey your main messaging, check each contender against your brand voice. And when developing a name, try whenever possible to root poetic image in scientific fact. It’s a winning combination.
Better Tomorrow is a face cream for men that hydrates and reduces the look of wrinkles. It makes a promise to the shopper—buy me and you will wake up looking younger. The direct approach aligns with the vibe of the product creator, DTRT, an acronym for Do The Real Thing. This literal name cuts to the chase—no metaphors or hidden meaning. But as a phrasal name, it escapes the less than exciting feel of a name that is overly descriptive.
Tip: A direct name can work, but to avoid being bland, be sure it has a hint of style. And remember your target consumer. A name is not successful—no matter how musical or clever—unless it appeals to your audience. DTRT exemplifies this with straight-forward, no frill names that speak to male buyers.
This playful skincare brand name invites customers to make every day feel like Saturday. Its packaging and digital presence exudes youth and energy, which jives nicely with the brand’s mission: to give you radiant, rested skin that looks and feels like the perfect weekend.
Tip: Play with alliteration, but don’t force it. This tactic, straight from the poetic’s playbook, works well for Saturday Skin and Willow & Water.
The Ordinary is taking off as an effective yet affordable alternative to high-priced skincare lines. The brand was created to bring integrity to skincare by communicating truthfully, and in plain English.
Whereas many beauty brands capitalize on people’s willingness to believe, The Ordinary vows not to overpromise or mislead. The Ordinary positions itself as an industry pioneer, determined to fight back against the inflated claims of care products, especially those touting exotic ingredients. These guys are confident enough to take an understated approach. The refreshingly minimal product packaging also reflects this positioning. It is ordinary, sure—but the absence of hyperbole is refreshing.
Tip: To “the” or not to “the,” that is the question. Adding “the” before a name can be an easy way to add a sense of weight and importance to a brand name. It can also make it possible to secure a strong URL. But don’t tack on a “the” without a purpose. Definitely consider whether or not adding the definitive article really strengthens the name. Otherwise, it will look like nothing more than a desperate attempt at securing a top-level domain.
This facial clinic company specializes in fast and effective laser therapies. The treatment is competitively priced and only takes 15 minutes. Plus, there is no down time. This makes it easy to make it a regular part of your skin routine… as regular and simple as, say, throwing in a load of clothes.
Referencing something as mundane as laundry is risky, but here, it works. The brand wants people to become comfortable with laser facials, a new concept for many. Laundry is familiar and necessary. How great for the brand if people see laser facials this way, too. And of course, “laundry” instantly conveys the idea of cleaning and freshening—two other great associations between the name and the brand.
Tip: Consider words with multiple meanings and associations and what those words could mean in the context of your brand. And don’t be afraid to stray from industry orientations. Laundry breaks from traditional spa names and messaging that usually focus on beauty, luxury, and calm. The word “laundry” also stands out from the namaste-saturated world of spa names. Naming a piece of software after a yoga term could be unique (Asana anyone?). But a spa? Much too expected.
Tokyo Milk Dark
This product line is by the same creator of Library of Flowers, Margot Elena. It is interesting to observe how Elena brands each of her collections differently, yet they all still feel like her. And while Tokyo Milk has existed for a time, this more recent brand line—Tokyo Milk Dark (and Tokyo Milk Light) introduces a new element to the brand.
Elena offers “day to night” and “light to dark” products, ranging from sugared mint lip scrub (sounds quite light, no?) to Tainted Love and Everything & Nothing Dark Fragrance (a bit moodier and well, darker).
We imagine the line is inspired by the streets of Tokyo—a place that hums with energy and mystery, a center of commerce by day, and an international playground by night. Milk, too, has been known since time immemorial as a skin benefiting ingredient and also evokes the pure, flawless skin we often associate with Japanese complexions.
Tip: When creating a new brand line, be sure the words you add sonically enrich the original name. The word “dark” does this very well, as it repeats the ‘k’ in “Tokyo” and “milk”. The result? Highly memorable music.
Cowshed breaks our rule for featuring names launched in the last ten years or so, but this one is too intriguing to pass up. Naming a skincare brand after a rustic shed more commonly associated with pungent brown pats or pies (e.g. dung) is an odd choice. But oddity isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it can invite fascination.
That said, oddity in and of itself isn’t enough to make a name great. An odd name should also contain a drop of sense. In this case, that sense is found in the word “cow” because cows conjure up the idea or image of milk—a rich and nourishing liquid that since time immemorial has been used to hydrate, cleanse, and moisturize the skin.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to develop names that feel jarring or strange. But should you go this route, be sure the name also contains a hint of connection to your brand, even if that connection requires an imaginative leap to find.