Much has been said about how noted communist-adjacent Frida Kahlo would just loooove to see all the keychains and tote bags plastered with her face. But imagine what she would say if she could see how her likeness has been manipulated and used to sell “glowy” (!!!) “highlighter” (!!!!!).
Earlier this month, Ulta announced a new line of makeup that is ostensibly inspired by Frida Kahlo—or more accurately, that was approved for sale by the Frida Kahlo Corporation, which licenses the late artist’s name and likeness to vendors. But ArtNet.com notes that the image of Frida Kahlo that appears on the makeup’s packaging looks pretty photoshopped. Specifically, her unibrow looks less unibrow-y and more like two distinct, but beautiful feathery brows.
Personally, I don’t mind the duo-brow so much—I think her monobrow has come to stand in for Kahlo herself, more so than even the body of work she produced over her lifetime—but what I do find deeply weird is that her lips look like they’ve been photoshopped to appear much fuller—at least when compared with a seemingly original black-and-white photograph of Kahlo. (ArtNet has a side-by-side comparison here.)
With her sleeked-back mid-part and bold lip, all this Kahlo is missing is a heavy contour, and she would blend in with the countless other beauty influencers on Instagram. It makes sense: This is the logical endpoint in Kahlo’s posthumous evolution, from under-appreciated artist to feminist icon and now beauty blogger. The transformation is just lazy revisionist history that’s a useful marketing tool for brands.
The Frida Kahlo makeup line seems to be available now on the Ulta website. If you must wear that lip stain, promise you’ll read up on how she housed exiled communist revolutionary (and Kahlo’s alleged former lover) Leon Trotsky in Mexico City, at the very least.