Foundation Replaces The Lipstick Index

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Estee Lauder (EL) Chairman Leonard Lauder coined a new economic indicator during the 2001 recession that became known as the lipstick index, after observing the correlation between economic downturns and lipstick sales. “When lipstick sales go up, people don’t want to buy dresses. When things get tough, women buy lipstick,” Lauder remarked at the time.

As reported on the front page of Saturday’s Financial Times, evidence is growing that in this recession, sales of foundation have surpassed lipstick sales in the UK and US. The FT reports that in the US in 2008, lipstick sales fell 5.8% while liquid foundation sales grew 2.5%. According to L’Oreal, more 18 to 19 year old women cited foundation as their “must have” beauty product over lipstick. Only women over 60 valued lipstick as more important.

Foundation’s growing popularity is reflected in the planetary cycles of Saturn in Virgo (Sep 2007-Jul 2010)* and Pluto in Capricorn (2008-2024), as Saturn and Capricorn rule the skin. These planetary energies demand more from a beauty product than a mere pick me up. They need to provide value and a natural yet polished appearance since these energies relate to work and professional reputation.

Saturn rules time and Virgo efficiency. Foundations at all brands and price points have become multitaskers, saving money by eliminating the need to purchase multiple products. Today’s foundations contain sunscreen, moisturizers, and ingredients that claim to correct uneven skin tone. The foundation trend will continue under Saturn in Libra* (Jul 2010- Oct 2012) as Saturn in this Venus-ruled sign values a radiant looking complexion.

Lipstick is not going to make a woman look any younger. Besides, prestige brand consumers can always get a free lipstick when they buy foundation during the brand’s gift with purchase promotion.

*Saturn will also be in Libra from October 2009 to April 2010

No disclosures.

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