Does the Economy Affect the Colors You Buy?

Published in: Just For Fun, News

At a recent meeting of The Fashion Group International, an event sponsored by MAC and Cotton, Inc., attendees like InStyle Beauty Director Amy Synnott discussed 2009 beauty trends and cosmetics use in a down economy.


They talked about the Lipstick Index, a well-known financial barometer that says cosmetics (lipsticks in particular) sales rise as the economy slows down.

Well, the index has jumped. Quarterly figures from makeup giants L’Oreal and Estee Lauder show that despite strain in most areas of US department store spending (with the exception of Wal-Mart, which is doing great), lipstick sales are on the rise. When money’s tight, women spurn expensive new clothes and shoes in favor of more modest retail therapy.

What can we expect to see in 2009?

Signs point to even more sheer neutral shades, fewer bright reds and more pinky browns and rosy taupes.

“People are really buying wearable neutrals in beauty,” Synnott says, “like the version of lipstick that is ‘the little black dress’ of lipstick. They are buying a lot less of the ‘out there’ colors. Classic looks are strong.”

Does the economy affect the colors you buy?

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Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Brittany says:

    No, the economy doesn’t affect the colors I buy. I typically don’t buy “strange” lip colors or cosmetics anyway. If I’m trying a “crazy” new color of eyeshadow, like bright purple, I’ll try to find a really cheap version like Wet’n’wild before I splurge and buy a similar color from a more expensive brand. I’d rather spend the extra $2 on a cheap version before investing in the real version. I try not to buy things I won’t ever wear.

  2. Vivian says:

    Believe it or not, it does change the colors I buy. Normally, i go for sheer or tinted lip gloss. now, I buy those red lipstick i’ve never bought before or those fancy lip palettes sitting in my drawer; I dared to wear them lip colors at long last. I even bought some NYX bright (think sky blue and hot pink) eyeshadows before I can invest my money in expensive versions. So, there are some truths in lipstick index, but it doesn’t apply to everyone!

  3. Brenda says:

    I think it affects it, but not the way this article states. I still buy bold colours (Just because I love them <3) and I still buy a lot but in terms of which brand of products I choose the economy there is a difference. While the economy was up I wasn’t afraid to get a few Dior, Guerlain, and Chanel products but now that it is down I don’t even look at luxury brands! MAC will always be my first choice because it’s a brand that works for a decent price, drugstore brands sometimes cost almost the same here so why not just get something that works? I do find myself looking at drugstore brands more though.

    Brenda´s last blog post..Pre-Birthday FOTD! Smokey eye~

  4. Catherine says:

    I can’t really tell since I just started wearing lipstick. Like yesterday. This may be a little weird and a little gross, but wearing lipstick is the only thing I’ve found that keeps me from picking at my lips and making them more chapped. o_o I only have two… though, and I feel like TBS one isn’t long-lasting enough to really count. I do kinda want to get a red and a nice purple-plum though, hehe. I’ve actually already got my eye on two more MAC lipsticks. =X

  5. cloudburst says:

    I’m not sure because I’m not that conscious of that effect…plus I’m always on the lookout for the perfect neutral/nude lipstick! But I can see the economic downturn resulting in more lipstick sales – it’s a good, relatively cheap fix.

  6. Holly says:

    I would love to be able to blame economic uncertainty for my makeup addiction but im pretty sure that only counts if you buy like a lipstick to cheer yourself up rather than, like me, spend £200 on MAC in a week oops! And I just know im not going to be able to resist Clarins on gift with purchase tomorrow in work too arghh!! And to top off my week of reckless spending im going to finally give up and buy my mum a Sublimage Eye for Christmas tomorrow too!!

  7. Lisa says:

    Oh, gosh. I am buying more lipstick/gloss now than before, but I’m buying cheaper brands than I was. I have found some really good buys that I love and have become new favorites. I figure I waste a few dollars in trial and error, but I can’t afford to waste $25 on a tube of lipstick I won’t like. I buy a lot of Avon these days and am loving their 25 Karat lipsticks that just came out (the ruby in gold is an HG lipstick for me). And no, I’m not a rep. I also found a great LA colors and wet n’ wild gloss that I wear daily now. I am still buying funky colors though. Neutrals don’t look so great on me, but corals, reds, spring tones do. 🙂

  8. Music_Is_Freedom says:

    I wouldn’t say that the economy has affected my makeup. I still buy dramatic coloured lipsticks and glosses, but I always have. I might add a few softer pink shades for variety, but I always end up topping them with a shade of gloss that pretty much negates the “softness” of the lipstick.

  9. lexi says:

    I think my mood dictates my color choices than the economy – I don’t know if that’s good or bad – maybe I should try to save some money instead of finding that perfect berry gloss that doesn’t make my lips freak out!

  10. Katee says:

    The economy only effects what I buy if the economy effects the colors that are released by the cosmetics corporations.

    Katee´s last blog post..Happy Sunday! Giveaway Reminder

  11. Elena says:

    Hey Karen,

    It certainly doesn’t affect me color-wise, though it does brand-wise. For a few months I downgraded 100% to drugstore brands only, but to be honest, they worked pretty subpar and I ended up spending more money than I had hoped trying to find decent products. I ended up switching back to an even mix, and just bought products I knew worked well from both ends of the spectrum. I suppose you could just say I experiment less to save money.

    I find it funny that they mention neutral and sheer shades given that all I heard about for Fall was black and deep red lipsticks…

  12. Nutty says:


    i dont think the bad economy influences my choice of colours or brands. I now just make sure I really need the item (i would give myself a day to think about it) or I would only buy one item from a collection or only the limited edition items only. If any item makes me go OMG! then its a purchase…if anything is unsure…i dont buy.

    But it sure helps that lately I have been too busy to go near beauty counters! Seeing those pretty items in real life shakens my resolve.

  13. Jian says:

    Hi Karen,

    The lipstick index eh? I’d never heard of that. =D

    To be honest, the economy going down the toilet hasn’t affected us at all – we’re all STUDENTS! So I still buy what I bought before. Teehee…

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