Nail polish is the new lipstick: high sales mark new recession indicator

Nail polish sales continue to rise. Photo by ThinkstockNail polish sales continue to rise. Photo by ThinkstockPeople have said lipstick is recession-proof. In fact, in times of economic decline, ladies have purchased lipstick more than ever. Time reports that back in 2001, Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of cosmetics company Estée Lauder, coined the term "lipstick index" to make sense of the increase in sales. It makes perfect since to us-a colorful lip is a quick and affordable way to look glamorous when you can't buy a new fall outfit. "We have long observed the concept of small luxuries, things that can get you through hard times and good ones," explains Lauder. "And they become more important during harder times. The biggest surge in movie attendance came during the 1930s during the Depression."

Despite the lipstick upswing in 2001 and the revived popularity of bold red lips, market research firm Mintel found that lipstick sales have been declining since 2007. Lauder believes women may have stocked up and found their favorite lipstick shades. "The idea of a brand new lipstick shade used to excite everyone," he says. "Today people have so many, they don't want to try a new one."

Now there's a new recession-proof beauty product: nail polish! Market research firm NPD Group claims that colorful lacquer took over where lipstick left off with a 65% sales increase since 2008. We'll admit our own collection of polish has been growing at an exponential rate as different colors come in and out of fashion and as our interest grows in more creative DIY manicures. Picking up a new bottle for $5 at the drugstore can be just the thing to boost your mood, and there are so many fun options to try! And we suspect many ladies who used to frequent nail salons for $15 and up for weekly manicures may be buying their own polish and painting their nails at home as a more affordable option.

Whatever the reasons, we can't seem to get enough nail polish, so we'll believe the evidence and agree. Nail polish is recession-proof! Have you found yourself buying more nail polish than in the past? What is your one beauty pick-me-up you can't live without, even during rough economic times?

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