Because makeup shopping can be overwhelming enough even without the whole language barrier thing.
Maybe you’ve read my post about buying drugstore makeup in Italy, or maybe you’ve read my post about the differences between Sephora in the USA and in Italy, or maybe you haven’t read either of those, in which case I’m a little sad, but it’s ok. I’ll get over it.
Today’s post is going to be about makeup in Italy, or more specifically, about makeup translations. Makeup shopping can be overwhelming as it is, but it can be reaaaal stressful if you don’t even know what things are called. After living here for over a year, I’ve gotten my s*** together in terms of, well, terms, and I’m here to share some ~translations~ with you guys and a very amateur analysis of the etymologies if I can even figure them out myself.
Fun fact: “trucco” means “makeup” in Italian, and it also means “trick,” thus the name of my blog… Tricks & Trucco. I thought this was clever at the time. I really did.
This is where I like to throw my little disclaimer in: I’m in no way 100% fluent in Italian or an etymologist, so I acknowledge the fact that there is the possibility I might be a tad incorrect in some circumstances. If anybody actually speaks Italian (I’m talking like mother tongue status) or is cool enough to be an etymologist, please lmk #thx!!
1.) EYES = OCCHI
The first “category” of translations deals with the eyes, which literally translates to occhi. You’ll notice that most of the translations and categories come from the Italian Sephora website, mostly because it’s a website I know and love, and also because it’s really easy to navigate. You’ll also notice that some translations are literally the same – Italians like to adopt English words in some circumstances!
- Eyeshadow = Ombretto
- Primer = Base
- Actually speaking, I guess primer is a “base” for your face, so this one makes sense.
- Pencil = Matita
- Pencil literally translates to “matita” in Italian.
- Eyeliner = Eyeliner
- Mascara = Mascara
- Fake Lashes = Ciglia Finte
- (Ciglia = Lashes) + (Finte = False)
- Sharpeners = Temperamatite
- (Matite = Pencils) + (Temperare = To Sharpen)
2.) NAILS = UNGHIE
- Nail Polish = Smalto
- Smalto is actually “nail varnish,” which is a really old-school way of saying nail polish.
- Remover = Solvente
- Solvente is literally “solvent” (shocker), which is basically what a nail polish remover is, I guess??
3.) FACE = VISO
- Foundation = Fondotinta
- If you Google translate “fondo tinta” as separate words instead of one word, it translates to “tinted base,” which is basically a literal translation of what foundation does.
- Contour = Contour
- Bronzer = Terra Abbronzante
- Abbronzante translates to “tanning” (the verb abbronzare means “to tan”) so that part makes sense, but what doesn’t make sense to me is that Terra has a few translations. The first that comes up is “Earth/land” and the second is “dirt.” Maybe this literally means bronzing dirt?? Not sure tbh
- Highlighters = Illuminante
- Illuminante means “brightening” or “illuminate”
- Powder = Cipria
- Blush = Blush OR Fard
- So Sephora lists Blush as being “Blush,” however, I’ve also seen it written as Fard. According to Excite, which is a blog in Italian, these two are the same thing (“blush e fard sono la stessa identica cosa”) and the main difference is in the language (“è una differenza tutta di linguaggio”). Apparently, “Fard” a term used in French (“Fard è il termine utilizzato in francese”) while “Blush” is basically its English equivalent (“Blush è quello in lingua inglese”). I think if you asked for blush, you’d probably get what you were asking for – while I’ve seen Fard here and there, Blush is the much more dominant term.
- Setting Spray = Fissatori Trucco
- Literally “Makeup Fixer”
4.) LIPS = LABBRA
- Lipstick = Rossetto
- Liquid Lipstick = Rossetto Liquido
- If Lipstick = Rossetto and Liquid = Liquido, this one is pretty self-explanatory.
- Plumper = Rimpolpante
- Rimpolpante literally means “plumping” and rimpolpare means “flesh out,” which is pretty much the same thing, but much creepier somehow.
- Balm = Balsamo
- Lip Gloss = Lucidalabbra
- (Lucida = Polished) + (Labbra = Lips)
5.) EYEBROWS = SOPRACCIGLIA
This word was always really funny to me because Sopra means “Above” and Ciglia means “Eyelashes,” so eyebrows are literally “Above Eyelashes.” Heh.
6.) CLEANSERS = STRUCANTI
7.) BODY & BATH = CORPO E BAGNO
- Shower Gel = Gel Doccia
- Doccia = Shower
- Soap = Sapone
If you are ~so inclined~ here’s the full list:
|Fake Lashes||Ciglia Finte|
|Blush||Blush // Fard|
|Setting Spray||Fiassatori Trucco|
|BODY & BATH||CORPO E BAGNO|
|Shower Gel||Gel Doccia|
- Excite // “Blush o Fard, La Differenza?“