From the NY Times:

"After the terrorist attacks of 2001 deflated the economy, Mr. Lauder noticed that his company was selling more lipstick than usual. He hypothesized that lipstick purchases are a way to gauge the economy. When it's shaky, he said, sales increase as women boost their mood with inexpensive lipstick purchases instead of $500 slingbacks."

Rather than shoring their mood with inexpensive cosmetics, I believe heavier lipstick purchases is a way to attract men, which is hard-wired in times of loss and stress: Women seek the protection and nurturant love of the male, and lipstick, a red sign of sex, replicates arousal — males respond to red signals on lips and elsewhere on the body. Even without realizing it, the male sees 'aroused female' by certain cues, and instinct starts to take over. Hormones are exchanged and generated.

Thus a surge in lipstick purchases underlines perceived shortage and scarcity, and marks the start-gun of a hard-wired survival strategy. Men for their part would seem to be looking at a revival of females-becoming-more-female in affect, clothing and outward lineaments.

That is much more to the point than a mere 'boost in mood.' It is also a direr indicator of societal dislocation.

Scott Brooks confesses:

I've always been attracted to a women with very little or, preferably, no make up. There's something about a woman who has the confidence to go natural.

Marion Dreyfus replies:

Sure, sure: 99% of men aver they like the natural look. But if you saw most women without make-up, you would be shocked. The subtlety of make-up is that it appears to be natural, yet improved. And it makes a woman feel good, actually, to be enhanced subtly, so her eyes are more defined, or her lips are moisty-colorful. And her partner usually has no idea how it is done.


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