Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | September 10, 2009

The Pout that Launched an Economic Recovery

The Lipstick Index

The Lipstick Index

During economic downturns, retail sales suffer and consumers opt for less expensive lifestyles.  But the truly fashionable always have a way to cope with a downturn and we all want to be beautiful.   So, what is the easiest and most cost-effective way to look hot?  Lipstick, darling.  That’s right ladies– go out on a shopping impulse and find the perfect shade for your pout, and the existence of financial troubles would be invisible.  It’s the new way for women to cope with the recession.  (Hmm… is THAT right?)

According to Estee Lauder’s Chairman, Leonard Lauder, lipstick sales increase during hard economic times.  He termed this phenomenon as the Lipstick Index, the economic indicator of a depression.  Lauder affirms that “In stressful times, many consumers are reaching out for those small indulgences that provide momentary pleasure.”  Basically, the premise behind this concept is that when lipstick sales sprout we are suffering from financial despair and we purchase lipstick to mask the melancholy that overwhelms us; we want to plaster the underlying need to feel beautiful by applying lipstick. Let’s call it a financial/beauty pick-me-up if you will. 

To be honest, I’ve never been much of a makeup girl – That is…I don’t get the same adrenaline rush/impulse that I get when I crave a handbag!   My exception to this is my lipstick and my mascara, especially when the lipstick is a Liptini stain (which I was introduced to by the makeup goddess and celebrity makeup and hair artist Terri Apanasewicz) or a luscious Christian Dior.

The beauty of beauty products other than the obvious is that they are some of the most accessible fashion items in a recession.  A tad more affordable than indulging in a Fendi Spy Bag, wouldn’t you say?  Ah, and strategic substitution can also be a girl’s best friend in these trying economic times.  Normally use Lancôme mascara?  Maybe opt for Maybelline mascara instead.  Normally use Smashbox lipstick? Check out your lipstick options at your local RiteAid.  They are almost always aggressively priced and these days they run more sales than your local used-car dealership. Everyone has a take on the lipstick Index. 

Jessica Bennett states in her article, What Does the Lipstick Index Really Say?, “ This recession around, it’s flawless skin—not rosy lips—that has become the female pick-me-up.”  Each to their own…but I must say that a skincare routine is a much pricier investment than 1 lipstick- I’m going on record by saying that taking care of your skin is not only a fashion must, it’s also healthy…Are you wearing SPF by the way?

Glossy, glossy, glossy!

Glossy, glossy, glossy!

And don’t forget the sage advice of Jerry Seinfeld, “Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not color, but to accept God’s final word on where your lips end.”


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