Sassy Says – the Lipstick Effect

Written by on June 27, 2020

At this point, I think we have accepted the fact that things aren’t the same as they were last year at this time. I also am not even sure what the “new normal” is. I am not going to get into all kinds of studies and politics. I am a writer. I write about the glamour industry. I write about makeup, skincare, fashion and occasionally things OTBP (off the beaten path). I inform my readers about things like lipstick colors, good moisturizers, seasonal pedicure colors and shoes. Occasionally I will write about my love of coffee and my appreciation of nature. And to be honest with you, that is what I am going to continue to do.

I do, however, want to talk to you about something I have noticed over the past four months. Something that I learned about MANY years ago and never had the chance to see it in action until now. I was told that if I wanted to work in an industry that was recession-proof, I should get into the makeup industry. Why do women (and yes, some men) feel the need to shop extensively for beauty/self-care items when times are tough? Since the end of March–when the world had gone into a “pause” because of this pandemic–I have seen people all over the world not just talking about makeup but also buying it. A LOT of it! Money is tight for some, many people are out of work, others haven’t left their homes in months. Yet I continuously get questions about what is the best foundation, lipstick, nail polish, skin care and so many others in my inbox. If I am not going out for anything other than medicines, groceries and the occasional walk, would any others want to know what my favorite eyeliner is right now? The answer is simple… it’s called “The Lipstick Effect.”

Taken from, the definition of “The Lipstick Effect” is explained as follows:

The economy is slowing down, and as a result, we are tightening our financial belt. For instance, we were going to buy season tickets to see our local football team, but now we’re just going to upgrade our cable package instead and watch the games at home. It gets its name from the phenomenon that the chairman of Estée Lauder noticed after 9/11: the company’s lipstick sales were going through the roof even while the economy was tanking. The theory here is that people can’t necessarily afford the luxury items they would’ve bought before—like, say, a diamond necklace—so they compensate by buying a smaller, cheaper luxury item. Like a designer lipstick.

I am going to take that and put my own Sassy spin on it. A huge number of us may have lost our jobs due to closings or have had hours and/or pay reduced. Any money we have is being put aside for necessities: housing, food, medications, utilities and other bills. Essentials. Things like the plans for a new couch, repairing the deck or getting a new stove are all put on hold. It is not a priority right now. But by nature, we thrive when we can give ourselves a bit of luxury now and then. An example might be that you would be going to your local pharmacy to get your blood pressure medication and grabbing a glitter eyeliner & a face mask while waiting at the checkout. That’s why it’s there. It is a quick, inexpensive impulse buy that makes you feel good. And, of course, some are more expensive than others. After being shut down for three plus months, some people need a “fix”—something that isn’t really needed, but isn’t too expensive to feel guilty about buying. The thought of getting it home and putting it on will make us feel lavish and somewhat alive again. You can’t justify or even afford a pair of Louboutin heels but you CAN find a way/make a way to get that Chanel Lipstick in shade 92-AMOUR or the new Jeffree Star 420 hand mirror. You may not even have to go anyplace special, but when you use it you will feel special. And that is important for some people’s sanity during this time.

So is there anything wrong with that? It’s on you. Everyone’s situation is different. No matter how you justify it, excuse it or deny it, the fact remains that since the Great Depression, The Lipstick Effect still happens during rough times. Especially right now. Makeup and skin care industries aren’t flourishing with profits at this moment, but they are seeing that definite trend. Because of the expansion of the glamour market, this phenomenon now includes many more things like fake lashes, shadows, and even perfumes. Things that don’t get hidden with a mask! Prices of these items vary, but for a good shopper you can find that most will not set you back much. Do you really need these little splurges? That’s your call. Do what you think is right for you, for your wallet, your budget and your sanity. But know this: you aren’t alone. At all.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to head to my office and try out my new waterproof mascara with my goth eye palette and lip gloss. Then I have to fix my toilet seat cover with my new wrench. Hey, a girl’s gotta do…*smile*

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