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    Lipstick Effect In Economy – What Is It?


    By Preeti Kumari

    How much time each one of us takes to find the exact shade of lipstick that matches with our complexion? And how much pain we have to bear to choose one out of the three exact shades? Oh god, such a tiresome task it is, isn’t it? But ever thought that this whole exercise can be used as fodder to research the increase in sales of some product?

    Now, that’s something you may call weird.

    Well weird or not, this is what economists do to understand the “Lipstick Effect”.


    Lipstick effect refers to the increase in the sale of beauty enhancing products during the time of crisis or unstable environments.

    The phenomenon was first noticed in 2008 recession, when the sales figure of L’Oreal were on a roll, registering around 5% increase in growth. Because it is WORTH IT!

    Wondering, why this happened?

    Wars are moments of most intense romance

    Raging adrenaline and thumping hearts- aren’t they the perfect combination of features required in both war and romance? Well, a market crisis does not witness the sound of gunfire, but the situation definitely resembles war. Same level of uncertainty, the same level of anxiety and fear and the very high-risk quotient. With no care of the world, we witness brewing up of intense emotions. Now after all these analogies won’t you want to look your best? After all, physical attractiveness is the first step towards your very own love story. Go buy some hot-shot beauty product- this is how the human psychology works during times of crisis.

    lip 1

    Following the genes

    Another prospect that can be linked to such behavior is the way our very own genetic strings are wired. The survival of the race depends upon their reproductive capabilities so the need of survival overpowers every other need (courtesy: animal instincts). And this is how manhunt starts. Seen not only in impoverished women instead it applies to all women (either financially weak or strong). Probably this applies more profoundly to women race because even today resources are concentrated in the hands of men.

    Time to throw blazing shots of competitiveness

    Women have got more competitive streaks than men, is something I definitely believe. So how can they stay behind when it comes to looking more attractive?

    Boosting the ‘male ego’

    Times of crisis are not only for women to showcase their ‘talent’; men also get equal opportunity and share. A harsh economic climate might also lead better off men to flaunt their wealth and themselves.

    Financial desperation

    Uncertain and weak economic conditions may also be the reason that both men and women resort to such behavior. It becomes imperative to find a wealthy partner to sustain themselves. So, buying beauty products and enhancing physical beauty becomes a pre-requisite in such conditions.

    This is how lipstick effect comes into effect. There are many such phenomena which are driven by the very basic psychology of human.

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    Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.

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    In Economy
    • Siddharth Sharma