Tag Archives: COVID

The Lipstick Effect…

2 Jun

As I was checking my website this morning, I realized that I haven’t posted anything to my blog since February of 2020. Yeah, I know, I have been slacking. But I honestly have a few good reasons. First and foremost, a week after my last post, I got sick. I mean REALLY sick. COVID was just beginning to be discussed and the symptoms of the virus were just coming to light. I went to the ER because the fevers I had were horrible, I ached from head to toe, and I had completely lost my sense of taste and smell. At that time, the only test they could give me was a flu test. That came back negative. Once they saw that, however, I was IMMEDIATELY sent home. I was sick for almost three weeks. When I finally felt good enough to regain my regular routine, the country had gone into shutdown mode and my place with the tattoo shop had temporarily closed until further notice. Now, three months after that… I am home. Still. *sigh*

I am not going to get political or medical in this post. I am not here to bitch and complain. I will not take a personal stance on what the country is going through, what my out of work friends are dealing with or my thoughts on the state of our society. I am a writer. I write about the glamour industry. I write about makeup and skincare. I write about things like lipstick colors, good moisturizers and shoes. Sometimes I 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 write about.

So before I get into future posts about what products I’m loving, needing, appreciating or feel just meh about, I want to talk to you about something I have noticed over the past three months. Something I learned about MANY MANY years ago, and never had the chance to see it in action until now. Why do women (and yes, some men) feel the need to shop extensively for beauty 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 questions about what is the best foundation, lipstick, nail polish, hair dye and so many others show up on my social media throughout the day. If I am not going out for anything other than medicines and groceries, why would someone want to know what my favorite eyeliner is right now? The answer is simple… it’s called “The Lipstick Effect.”

Taken from shmoop.com, 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 lipstick.

I am going to take that and put my own Sassy spin on it. A huge number of us 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. For example, before the pandemic, it might have been a case of going out to get a gallon of paint for the garage door and coming home with that AND the big new gas grill that was at the store’s entrance at the same time. On a lesser level (but no different), it would be going to your local pharmacy to get your blood pressure medication and grabbing a bag of candy and a magazine while waiting at the checkout. That’s why it’s there. It is a quick, impulse buy that makes you feel good. And, of course, some are more expensive than others. Now, after being shut down for 3+ months, many of us feel we need a fix. A fix of something that isn’t really needed, isn’t too expensive but will make us feel lavish and somewhat alive again. Normal. 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. You may not even go anyplace special, but when you wear it you will feel FABULOUS. And that is important for some people’s sanity.

Is there anything wrong with that? That is 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 at this moment, but they are seeing that definite trend. Because of the expansion of the glamour market, this phenomenon includes many more things like nail polish, mascara, eye palettes, serums and even bath items. Prices of these items vary, but for a good shopper you can find that most will not break the bank. Do you really need them? That’s your call. Do what you think is right for you. For your wallet and your sanity. And keep smiling.