The Unpronounceables


Natalie Meehan has been brushing up on her beauty vocab. She’s here to ensure you never berk-out on counter again


Now, I don’t want to teach Granny to suck eggs, but I’m sure we’ve all been there – you saunter up to the counter in a beauty hall and search the shelves for the product you’ve been after for weeks. It’s not there. You need to ask someone to find you one, but terror stops you in your tracks.


You need to ask for a product with a really tricky name.  Something unpronounceable.


So what do you do? Do you risk getting it wrong, fluffing your line and feeling like a div? Or do you do as I have done, and instead clam up and walk away in the hope you’ll find it again on the shelf another day and you wont have to try and say its name?


Well, I’m here to help. I’ve put together a list of the most commonly mispronounced brands and I’m gonna tell you how to say them without looking like a muppet.


Aesop – Definitely not ay-sop. You need to ask for EE-sopp.


Anya Hindmarch – Ok, this isn’t beauty, but I’ve heard this brand pronounced wrong SO MUCH and it drives me mad. It’s ARN-YAH Hind-mark.


10004959Bourjois – How many times have I heard bore-joys? Way too many. It’s BORE-jwah, people!




Chantecaille – This is a tricksy one if you’ve not heard it spoken. You need to go at it with some confidence. – there’s no room for nervous wobbling. SHANT-eh-kai – see! EASY.


Clé de Peau – I had to research this one extensively (ask Sali). It’s Clay-de-POH.


Eyeko – This may look simple enough, but I’ve heard ‘ee-ko’, so it’s worth including. The ‘eye’ part has the same pronunciation as ‘love’ in Japanese – ‘ai’. Aiko means ‘little loved one’. Cute! Pronounce it Eye-koh.


GivenchyJee-von-shee. Definitely NOT give-on-chee. ARGH. And make the ‘J’ sound soft like in ‘Frère Jacques’, not hard, as in ‘Jam’.


Guerlain – Gerrr-Lan. Gerrrr-Lan. Say it. Roll it off the tongue. Gerrrr-Lan.


Hermès – Her-meez it is not. It’s Ehr-MEZ!



IllamasquaIll-ah-mass-ka – easier to say than to spell.


La Roche Posay – Another French one here, ask for La-rosh-POH-zay


Laura Mercier – The Laura bit is easy enough. The surname isn’t mer-see-er though, as is commonly spoken. It’s mer-see-AY.


L’Occitane – This one is a personal bugbear of Sali’s, and I’ll admit I’ve tripped up in the past. It’s pronounced LOX-it-ANN, you guys.


Kevyn Aucoin – Don’t let the ‘coin’ throw you off – it’s or-KWAN.


Shiseido – Not SHISHEIDO, people. There is no extra H. It’s shiss-AY-doh.


Stila – We’re all on the same page with this one, yes? Steelah


Suqqu – I was stuck on this one for a while. I’ve been reliably informed that it’s SOO-koo.


Shu Uemera – I genuinely backed out of buying eyelashes from here as I couldn’t pronounce it. I’ve since learned it’s SHOE. WAY. MORA. EYELASHES FOR ALL!


Vichy – And our final brand is yet another French one. Go with VEE-shee and you’re laughing.


So there we go – are there any other brands or products you find a nightmare to pronounce? Let’s share horror stories of that time we went to a YSL counter and asked for a ‘TOUCH-E-CLIT’. No, just me? Oh.




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