Lipstick to Get Ahead: The Economic Lipstick Effect

Lipstick to Get Ahead: The Economic Lipstick Effect

It is a consumer trend that has been witnessed throughout recent history with each economic downturn; when the going gets tough, the tough buy lipstick. Whenever the economy has struggled and consumer companies report decreases in product sales, cosmetic giants such as L’Oreal actually report an increase in sales of their cosmetics. A frivolous commodity perhaps when times are tough and economies have to be made on food and lifestyle? Evidently not as this pattern is so well-observed that it even has it’s own name; The Lipstick Effect.


Studies have been done on this so-called ‘Lipstick Effect’ in the past and have reported that women’s motives for buying cosmetics during times of uncertainty were to secure financial stability through snaring a partner. I know right! You’d like to think that attitudes had moved on from the sexist 50’s and thankfully you’d think right…

New research from the University of Notre Dame has shown that while this might sometimes be the case, women also buy cosmetics in an economic downturn to increase their chances of success at work. I don’t know about you but I find this much more relatable; if I’m stressed at work or have a big presentation to give I head straight for the beauty counters. Confidence is key right?


When hitting the beauty counters for a little pick-me-up the women in the study reported that their motive was to create a favourable impression at work, as a means of securing financial stability for themselves, more often than reported hitting the lipstick to find a partner to provide that stability. And let’s face it, we don’t wear lipstick for men anyway, at least not until we can find one that will appreciate the difference between cheap and cheerful and Charlotte Tilbury not to mention the artistry that goes into the perfect pout 😉

What do you make of this study? Do you hit the beauty counters when times are tough or you need a boost at work? Would you spend your last pennies on a new bold shade? I know I would 😉


Original study: