One Hundred Colours of Dove


Ever watch a TV ad an go, ‘Eh, what now?’ Only ALL THE TIME, right? Whilst planning a post on how many completely non-related products can hop on the World Cup bandwagon (Listerine, I’m looking at you) an advert for Dove’s Invisible Dry deodorant made me sit up and frown.

There on the screen was a woman twirling around in red, holding red dresses up in front of her, red hair and red lips glistening under the lights. Guess Scarlet’s* favourite colour.

(*May not be the name they used, but probably)

Scarlet: I love red and now I don’t have to worry about deodorant marks on my favourite clothes.**

Voiceover: Dove Invisible Dry will protect one hundred colours from dry white marks.**

(**Or something like that.)

More like Dove will cause insomnia and deep frown lines as I’m not convinced that there actually are 100 colours.

Dove, I challenge you to name them.

Ok, it’d be freaky if Dove sent a colour expert to my house to list them, but surely via the medium of Google there’ll be a list? Because an advert wouldn’t possibly lie about something like that. Right?

Besides, I’m especially dubious as Scarlet likes red, which seemed to be a fairly broad spectrum in itself. Can Dove really come up with another 99 colours like that? Or does Scarlet actually like crimson and burgundy, magenta and…errr…scarlet? Her favourite colours, plural, not colour, singular, if they’ve truly got 100 colours up their sleeve.

Dove actually remained quite tight-lipped on the specifics of their one hundred colours. ‘From black to white and all colours in between’ was as far as I got. Lots of other waffly guff, but not a lot of actual clarification of their colour range. What if you have a buff blouse that’s not on their colour chart? Would you be risking deodorant disaster?

It’s not good enough, Dove. It’s not going to let me sleep without waking up at 3am shouting ‘Chartreuse!’

Clearly I’m going to have to compile my own list.

I know. I’m sad like that.

Lets start with Dove’s own colour range:

1. Black
2. White

Well, it’s a start. 98 to go.

The rainbow covers a fairly broad spectrum:

3. Red
4. Orange
5. Yellow
6. Green
7. Blue
8. Indigo
9. Purple

We’ve not even hit 10 and have gone through the spectrum.

But they’re primary and secondary colours, right? I’m sure Blue’s Clue’s had a song about tertiary colours! (Never let it be said I’m not educated. Even if it is by the medium of kids’ TV.)

I had to venture further into Google however to find out what they are. I found out that there are different types of tertiary colour. (I won’t bore you with it – you can look it up yourself if you so desire, or maybe you know all this already and I just went to a failing school.) But, even discounting things like red + orange = red-orange (come on, that’s got to be seen as an early cop-out. It can only lead to things like red-red-orange, which surely are only padding. I want names, damn it) the multiple systems provide a greater yield. Even if I suspect they may just be using different words to explain the same thing.

10. Vermilion
11. Amber
12. Chartreuse
13. Teal
14. Violet
15. Magenta
16. Cyan
17. Azure
18. Rose
19. Spring green


Hang on a minute. Before we go into realms of Is That a Colour Really or Just a Foodstuff? there are surely some basic toddler-friendly colours that haven’t been included:

20. Pink (How could I forget pink?! Has it not been demonised enough?)
21. Brown
22. Grey

Do metallics count? Best say they do.

23. Gold
24. Silver
25. Bronze

Ok, we’re 1/4 of the way there. Just another 75 to go! Time to call in the quaternary and quinary colours! Thanks, Google!

26. Russet
27. Slate
28. Citron
29. Plum

Or are they more tertiary colours? I’m getting confused!

30. Sage
31. Buff
32. Blue-grey
33. Khaki
34. Grey-brown

Blue-grey? Grey-brown? Don’t these colours get a name if their own? Lazy!

And it’s still not enough by a long shot. Besides, I can do better than grey-brown, although God knows where these fit in on the colour wheel:

35. Scarlet
36. Crimson
37. Burgundy
38. Lilac
39. Mauve
40. Aquamarine
41. Turquoise
42. Beige
43. Peach
44. Lime
45. Lemon
46. Mustard
47. Cream
48. Olive

See, I told you I’d get to a point where it was just food.

49. Lavender
50. Ultramarine
51. Taupe
52. Peuce
53. Fuchsia
54. Maroon
55. Salmon

Is Greige a colour? Or is it the Brangelina of the colour world? I’m desperate though. I’ll take it.

56. Greige


And…? I’m still 44 colours away and I feel like I’m barrel-scraping, to be honest. Is Barbie Pink a recognisable colour? I feel like we’re either going to be going down paint chart territory (I’ve not seen Elephant’s Breath suggested anywhere outside of a Farrow & Ball paint chart though) or we’re looking at shades rather than actual colours. Surely Slate grey, for example, is still just grey? (Oh no! Now I’m going to start wondering what the other 49 are! I’m never going to sleep again!) What’s the difference between a colour and a shade anyway? I’m sure it’s significant, and Dove definitely said colours.

I start looking at Pantone charts – surely the definitive purveyors of colour. But now my eyes are starting to go funny and my head is starting to spin.


That’s a lot more than 100 colours! Even if they have unromantic names like Pantone 1935 C.

‘Scarlet’ would love her options here, surely.

I can only suppose that Dove have decided that 100 is a nice round number after a colour brainstorming session around a table. They don’t seem to be concerned about the specifics of their colour choices (should we be worried that their deodorant remains invisible on 1925 C, but not 1945 C?). And isn’t the fabric as significant a factor as the colour?

Should I just put it down to advertising nonsense? After all, these are companies who label their deodorants as 48hr and body creams as 7-day, but then in the small-print state that this only works if you apply them daily. i.e. It’s all a load of bollocks.

The only thing I’ve come out of this knowing is that I desperately want to buy the kids’ book Pantone Colours.



How cool is that?

I’ll report back if it turns out the book contains 100 colour suggestions. Then we’ll know where Dove got its inspiration.


12 thoughts on “One Hundred Colours of Dove”

  1. You know what this is? This is one of those things where the word “red” has been coopted to mean something entirely more specific than what it means in common usage. So “red” actually refers to a specific shade that falls on the spectrum just between “firetruck” and “ruby”.

    Although it sounds like there could arguably be more than a thousand colours that way, so hm.

    This is tricky!

    1. Exactly! Either there are fewer colours than 100 or a hell of a lot more. If it’s the former then Dove are just liars. But if it’s the latter and Dove have only taken a small sample of that 1000+ colours then all of our wardrobes are at risk! Possibly.
      Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. 😉

  2. My two year old is in the “What’s that?” phase. (Seriously, I hear this question at least 700 times a day.) Today he was “what’s that?”-ing his Crayons, of which there are multiple shades of each color. I tried a short-cut and said “blue” when he pointed to the blue crayon and also when he pointed to the blue-green and the blue-gray. He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.

    1. Haha. Yep, I know the feeling there. I had similar colour confusion with 2-year-old Noodles just the other week:
      I also tried to placate an argument between Boo and her friend once over whether a crayon was purple it lavender. ‘It says on the side ‘soft lilac’,’ I told them. ‘It’s purple, but not purple purple.’ Needless to say, they too looked at me like I was a crazy lady.
      With the blue bowl that my dad and husband also think is brown ( colour causes far too much stress in my house! 😉

  3. “From black to white and all colours in between”?!?!?!?! perhaps they should have just called it 50 shades as the ONLY colour between black and white is GREY! They’re not even colours, they’re “tones” and I know this because it is something the art teachers at school liked to drill into our brains.

  4. Also, I read somewhere (all right, it was a ‘fact’ page on Twitter but I’m counting it anyway) that the human eye can actually ‘see’ over a 10million different colours. 100 out of 10million really doesn’t seem like much.

    1. Well, exactly. I don’t reckon that much of anyone’s wardrobe is safe against deodorant stains. Certainly it doesn’t seem to be something they should be bragging about.

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