The Lipstick Factor (Look good, feel good!)

There really is something referred to as the Lipstick Factor or Lipstick Index. Apparently when times are hard, sales of lipstick increase! Buying a new lipstick or lip gloss is a quick “pick me up” and purchased without overwhelming guilt, perhaps seen as an acceptable indulgence, a treat and something that lifts the spirit.

Economic factors aside, what interests me is the choice of lipstick being seen as a treat: something to look forward to, something a little bit special, something very personal. Now I’m the first one to fall for a new lippie and fortunately working in the cosmetic industry gives me every excuse for market research! But the truth is that a new lipstick in just the right shade of pink makes me feel great. I look in the mirror and think that the woman smiling back at me is looking good! Delusional? Well maybe, however having worked with women for 20 years both as customers and as consultants I can definitely say that when a woman likes what she sees in the mirror, she feels better about herself and the world around her and that cascades down through her family and friends and work colleagues. It is nothing to do with vanity, it is just about feeling good about yourself. Millions of women feel the same!

Lipstick has held a fascination for me from being a little girl many moons ago. My mother always wore lipstick and she could put it on without a mirror (I never managed to master that one!). I thought she looked so glamorous and those tempting shiny tubes of delight never failed to create drama and excitement! I remember tripping about wearing her shoes and a dab of lipstick to make me look grown up. I must have been 5 years old and I felt beautiful! Add more than 50 years and that “dab” of lip colour is now more necessary than ever to bring colour to my face and confidence to my appearance – grey hair can be very draining to the complexion and make you curiously invisible! What’s good enough for the Queen is good enough for me and you never see her without her lippie on!

During World War 2 lipstick was seen as vital and production never stopped. “War Paint” got another meaning and it was felt that wearing lipstick countered fatigue, improved morale and increased productivity! We working women should rejoice and buy another tube! “Keep Your Beauty On Duty” was a familiar slogan on adverts depicting women wearing red lipstick and overalls. The wearing of lipstick was thought to show femininity and strength. Colours were called “Courage” and “Freedom” and were bright reds and pinks. The Red Cross even distributed them, they were of such importance! Combined with the age of the Hollywood starlet, dewy eyed and perfect pout, our love affair with lipstick was cemented.

Fast forward to today and I don’t think there is much change in our attitude when it comes to buying a new tube with all its promise of perfection. Pearly or matte, long lasting or glossy, the lure of just the right shade is there to tempt us. And when we find the right shade, it never leaves our side until the last twizzle of the tube. Why? Because it makes us feel good, it makes us feel pretty or glamorous or both. It makes us, however fleetingly, smile back at the woman in the mirror and puts a spring in our step!

About Mary Rose

Mary Rose Selman
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Twitter: @MaryRoseMK
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