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The lipstick effect kphotographer via Flickr/Creative Commons
lipstick effect

'Lipstick effect' raises beauty product sales in recession

Women put more emphasis on looking good and attracting a partner in tough times.

SALES OF BEAUTY products rise during a recession, according to a new university study, as women put more emphasis on looking good and attracting a partner in tough times.

Researchers at the Texas Christian University in Fort Worth found that although men and women decrease spending during a recession, there is an exception when it comes to beauty products.

“Women have an increased desire to purchase these products in response to recession cues,” said Sarah E. Hill, an assistant professor of social psychology at the University.

Even though they are closing their purse string for other things, they are wanting to splurge on things that can make them attractive.

According to the study (released in May but published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology this month), Boosting Beauty in an Economic Decline: Mating, Spending, and the Lipstick Effect, throughout history people living in harsh environments marked by resource scarcity and financial impovershment have tended to spend more time looking to mate and reproduce.

Economic recessions are also marked by dwindling recources and poverty, meaning that they

might lead people to allocate resources toward more immediate mating effort, including mate attraction.

Sure enough, they say, L’Oreal experienced sales growth of 5.3 per cent in 2008 even as the rest of the US economy experienced a record decline in sales.

The lipstick effect is one of several alternative economic indicators, which include The Economist’s Big Mac Index, the so called Pyjama Index in Limerick and the Men’s Underwear Index (MUI).

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