Illamasqua released this set of ads over a month ago as their "I'm Not Dreaming of a White Christmas" promotion. Some blogs have been deeming it "racist and gross" as they believe it is depicting a woman in blackface. Some have gone as far as to say the pale lip color on the black-painted picture suggests that of a black woman's.
Illamasqua has issued a statement via blogger Phyrra that the ad was focusing on color "ON the skin and not OF the skin," which I have to say I also found. The definition of blackface includes trying deliberately to imitate a black person as well, which I do not see the model doing in either picture.
What it comes down to for me is this. First of all, I see it as special effects makeup. It's an obvious solid black tar color, and, for that matter, the white picture is obvious paint as well. (Not to mention, why isn't the white picture considered to be imitating whites?) Secondly, look at the products that are being promoted;
As you probably noticed, they are all, yes, extremely colorful or dark and dramatic! In fact, the lip colors offered in tubes are the ones on the model in the two ads. I gathered that it was meant that Christmas was not to be white, boring, and plain, but bright, exciting, and dramatic, which is what Illamasqua's products are all about! So don't be a scrooge over a simple ad (which happens to include the blushes and lip colors it's advertising), get in the holly jolly spirit and pick up some beautiful products!
And no, I'm not dreaming of a white Christmas either.