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What is “the Lipstick Index” and what does it say about the economy?

What is “the Lipstick Index” and what does it say about the economy?
/ Jamie Grill / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The "lipstick index" is a way in which experts measure how women spend money when the economy is suffering.

The term was coined during the 2001 recession by Leonard Lauder (then-chairman of Estee Lauder), in response to the dramatic increase in lipstick sales, indicating that women facing an uncertain environment turn to beauty products as an affordable indulgence while they cut back on other items. In other words, when the economy goes down, lipstick sales go up— most likely because applying makeup and looking good helps women feel more secure during hard times.

But like so much else in the world, COVID-19 has turned the lipstick index on its head since the pandemic has actually made women stay home more and wear masks in public— thus eliminating the need to wear lipstick.

So, what now?

On Nikki and the Morning Show, Nikki, Marc, and Sam discuss the theory and why the “lipstick index” may or may not apply in 2021. Listen below. Enjoy!

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