May 6, 2015

Is the Lipstick Index Down?

lipstick index down

The lipstick index is a term used by Leonard Lauder to describe the sales of cosmetics (and lipstick) during the recession. Basically, lipstick sales are apparently a good way to tell how the economic health is doing.

During times of a poor economy lipstick sales are up because women (or men) tend to purchase it as a “simple” pleasure versus buying more high end dresses, shoes or other expensive products.

For me, lately, it feels like the Lipstick Index is terribly down!


Because it seems like brands are releasing less and less products!

It feels like a few years ago there was some brand new product or collection to talk about every single day but now it feels like releases are spaced apart considerably. For example, we’re headed into Summer 2015 but I don’t feel like there has been a big push for product launches or collections.

Are brands waiting to release information later? Or are they just releasing less products?

I recall years past when collections for Summer were talked about as soon as January but nowadays launch information is much more later! I don’t mind so much because I dislike talking about Fall Collections in the Summer or Holiday ones in the Fall etc…! I feel like the seasons rush by too quickly in the beauty world.

But I also feel like I have a lot less to blog about lately. It just seems releases are very spaced apart where as a few years ago it was something new nearly every week or even every single day you’d see some new skincare, makeup, or beauty product.

What do you think?

Is makeup and beauty still on its game or have things slowed down a little bit the last year or so?

Is the lipstick index up or down for you?

Do share!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Kelly

    I think you are right in that brands are releasing fewer products and waiting longer to release information. I don’t think this is a bad thing because I personally am over-saturated with products. I have been focusing on using more of what I already own than buying more new stuff. I now only buy something if it is particularly unique or works significantly better than something I already have.

    • Isabella Muse

      YES exactly thank you! I feel like brands are waiting WAY long to release info. Or if they do release tidbits it is across social media and not really information they share with bloggers or the masses. It kinda of trickles slowly out through social media and after they actually do a “big launch” via say their newsletter or website it’s kinda old news and not very exciting as they teased us a plenty on social media.

  • Cindy

    Things haven’t gone slow, internet is going faster. Before we had magazines that could tell us in spring what the new spring collections would be. I could ran out and buy them.

    Now I know since fall 2014 about Chanel Mediterranee. Offcourse it was fall 2014 and I went to the drugstore and bought a dupe. I’m sure I will buy it in summer.

    Now it’s summer and why would I spend so much money on a nailpolish with a colour that I’m already sick off? And there are way more important things to think about. What about that Chanel pallet that comes out in fall? I’m so going to buy it. But then again, it looks a lot like UD naked Basics. Let me just use that and wait for swatches.

    I already know that when I see swatches of that Chanel pallet it will be gorgous. But how gorgous it is, in my head I will be dreaming about summer 2016 collections.

  • Lisa

    I dunno, I have actually had the opposite feeling in the past year or two. So many new products are released that I barely have time to enjoy them. I wear them for a week or two so that I can review, then they go in a drawer never to be seen again. In fact, I feel like on my blog I almost never get to talk about the products I really love, because I’m always trying to cover what’s new. If I were an all-powerful overlord, I think I would only allow brands to release new products once a year, and then I would cap it at like 3 new products each. That way we could actually enjoy what we have for a while, without feeling like we’re going to miss out on something amazing if we don’t buy new products the second they come out.

    • Isabella Muse

      that’s very true! when you blog beauty you just forget to enjoy it all because you’re moving quickly, very quickly onto the next thing!

  • Veronica

    Trend transition, IMO. The nude palette was very in for awhile, but now it’s a bit overdone. Everybody’s waiting for the next thing to get excited about.

    • Veronica

      I forgot to add that competition is also INSANE right now. Most of the big designer lines have jumped onto the bandwagon behind Chanel and Dior, and a few new lines from MUAs and celebrities have started hitting the shelves. It’s hard to find a “niche” line at this point because there’s so much overlap. Drug store prices are also getting so expensive that most people with a little extra don’t find it such a big a deal to jump into the mid-line pricing of lines like MAC or Urban Decay.

      • Isabella Muse

        I still feel like there’s a little lack in the flow of products from brands lately. Lots of repetitive yes but drugstores seem almost more on their game lately than mid-range (prices suck though, agreed)!

    • Isabella Muse

      *nods* valid point Veronica. Lots of repetition!

  • JJ24

    Ya it does feel like things have slowed down, like with urban decay last year or the year before it was a new LE palette every month but now it’s like two maybe three all year. Same thing with too faced they used to launch LE palette’s regularly now they are fewer and most are permeant ex natural matte. MAC got to a point where it was a new collection every week and now it’s like three collection a month or sometimes even two months.

    On the other hand NARS seems to be releasing more collections and LE stuff.

    But overall i’d say yes things have slowed.

    • Isabella Muse

      yes yes yes! UD felt like a constant steam of products like every few months. The year they did Alice in Wonderland is a good example as that seemed like a year they had a ton of different things going on. This year, really, there hasn’t been a huge UD launch. Summer is pretty big yes but there isn’t an huge special edition palette I’ve seen in a while like say Oz or Wonderland, etc…! MAC is considerably slower as well! Their Summer Collection is a bit tiny too this year! I’m glad someone agrees because I kinda thought maybe I was just being burnt out or something haha!

      • amy

        It seems MAC has taken the hint that not everyone has the disposable income to buy from so many collections, and from the competition-especially those under the same umbrella. Also, inside Macy’s, Inglot & UD are set up right across the way in many stores, and with so many sick & tired of stalking for MAC products, we’ve found more accessible products that are cheaper & actually accessible.

      • JJ24

        Totally not just you, maybe they are listening to all the complaints about too much LE stuff and focusing more on quality permeant stuff. At least it seems like UD is as their new stuff has been very good.

        Also it does seem like info on new stuff is being kept quiet until close to the release unlike before where things were talked about months before the release.

  • Renu

    I agree entirely! Last year, I was buying too much and exceeding my budget because there were so many must-haves. This year, I have a couple of gift cards and discount vouchers lying around because IDK, there’s nothing much around. Lorac, Stila, Estee Lauder, ABH, Pixi… so many brands have been rather quiet lately. Come on, you lot, some of us need retail therapy!

    • Isabella Muse

      I’m glad I’m not alone because I really feel like brands are super hush hush at the moment!

  • Agona

    I actually don’t mind. I’m trying to focus on what I own right now. I was oversaturated with product and did a HUGE purge last fall/winter. I did some polling of some friends and internet research, and it turns out that most products last you an entire year before you pan it, and that’s only if you use it every day. 6 months for liquid/cream products like lipstick or liquid eyeliner. I have one friend (I don’t know how she does it) that only buys 1 eye shadow, 1 blush, 2 eyeliners, and 2 lipsticks every X-Mas and that’s what she uses the entire year. After I found that out, I felt really bad about busting my budget month to month. :-\

  • amy

    Exactly! Also, with so many brands sharing an umbrella, they’re also competing amongst themselves.

    Anoter thing to keep in mind is, when the “Lipstick Index” came about, shortly after the Great Depression, one could buy a lipstick for a nominal ampunt, while a dress or shoes were relatively expensive. Now, we can expect to pay the same amount for lipstick as a nice piece of clothing. With so many brands pricing lipstick at $35-50 USD-which I flat refuse to indulge in, personally-I can expand my wardrobe, or put that money toward a more “classic” piece that will last years.

    • Isabella Muse

      very valid point! For $50 you can indeed buy a nice dress or accessory item! Or least put that $50 towards a nice dress/bag! and yes, many of the brands are under the same umbrella and basically release repetitive items or even items with exactly the same formula!

  • christine valle

    Well, when lipsticks went to $30 each, Economics kicked in. Plus the drug store brands upped their game. Why spend $30 when a $15 lippies is just as good?

    I think the cosmetics company brought this on themselves. Some brands will fail and there eventually be fewer brands.

  • Rachel R.

    I agree that their seem to be less collections, and that they’re smaller. The one exception is MAC, with a bazillion LE collections. Most of which are mediocre in both products and packaging. I agree with the poster who said that we hear about collections later because the internet is now our primary source of information, as opposed to trade and fashion shows trickling down to be reported in magazines, which used to take months.

    I feel so many companies are doing the same sort of collections, and many brands’ quality is just not up there. MAC and NARS have both had really spotty releases the last year or so, for example. A lot of luxury brands’ quality is not really that good, or maybe they do one or two products well, and the rest is middling-to-awful. I know I’m not going to spend my money on Dior eyeshadows when Urban Decay is better.

    Stila came out with a few sheer blushes and lippies for summer, and that seemed to be it. Ditto BareMinerals. I love Tarte, but they’re in a bit of a rut now. Bobbi Brown has only been cranking out browns/neutrals lately, it seems. The drug store brands have been upping their game much faster than the higher-end brands. Higher end brands are becoming lower quality, with a lot of them adding/using more talc and other cheaper ingredients. With the economy not doing so great, a lot of people are buying the drugstore.

    Urban Decay came out with great new colored blushes, lipglosses, and eyeshadows that weren’t all nudes. MUFE came out with a brights palette and lipglosses that included brights and funky shades. They got my money instead of the myriad of brands who brought out nothing but a nude collection with too-orange bronzers and a “pop” of red or fuchsia lipstick and nothing else. I love a nude eye with a bright lip, don’t get me wrong, but I have more than enough products to do that with.

    • Isabella Muse

      yeah I hate to say it mac le is just blah lately. I typically look forward to their LE stuff but lately it’s just rubbish! Rachel, excellent observations many of which I completely agree with!

  • Zovesta

    I’m new to the internet beauty world, so I didn’t really notice, and assumed this was the pace they always went! There are thousands of cosmetics out there still, guess there doesn’t always need to be something new out, especially since so many things seem just the same…

    Personally, I’ve been buying cosmetics a lot lately. I used to buy clothes a lot (at thrift stores), but I finally feel that my drawers are full enough, so I’m swapping over to makeup for awhile. And frankly, it’s the opposite for me… my cosmetics cost anywhere from $1-20, while a piece of clothing is around $1-7. The expense is quite flipped around!

  • Ashley

    I was fired 3 years ago for working at an Estee Lauder counter, because my sales weren’t high enough. I was hired in August, most working people are saving money to send their kids back to school, registering them, buying school supplies, lunch money, etc.
    While I was getting the “talk” by my supervisor she said that regardless of how poor my sales had been, she tired to tell me that in recession times lipstick sales actually increase, just like your article states. What a crock of *&^$. During tough times people aren’t going to be rushing to the Estee counter and paying $30 for a lipstick. They are going to be using that money for food and other living essentials, a $30 lipstick during times of struggle isn’t going to be seen as a necessity. Sorry I totally disagree with this stat, plus after 6 years of going to college and spending $100,000 on my education, and getting a degree in textiles & apparel. I graduated 3 years ago, I have yet to find a decent paying job. I still live at home with my parents, I’m 27, I work 3 jobs: at the school district, waitress, and retail on the weekends. There’s no way in hell I would be able to afford to live on my own. I currently make poverty wages, I wonder how many other twenty somethings are in the same situation as me? A $30 lipstick is not at the top of my list to buy when I’m feeling down, whatever condition the economy is in. I buy the product based on whether I “need” it, not because the recession and feeling sorry for myself.

    • Genevieve

      Well Ashley, this is a very familiar story in Melbourne Australia too. Most of my friends have found that when their children graduate from university, it doesn’t mean that they will get a good, well paying job in their chosen field. Both my own sons had periods of working in different occupations till they found their present occupations in their career choices. And yes, they lived at home – one still does. It is extremely expensive to purchase a first home here. Most average homes are about the $500,000 mark. I really sympathise with you in your current situation. It is very tough for you.

  • Leslie

    In my opinion, alot of the lipstick collections that come out have unflattering shades, poor formulas, etc. I’m always on the lookout for that perfect ruby red with a little shimmer for evening. I haven’t found it yet and it’s not like I have a box full of red lipstick that I hate. I swatch before I buy. I’m also searching for that perfect everyday rosy shade. The closest I’ve gotten is MAC Sophisto and I’ve repurchased 4 times. But…I still search for another one. 🙂 Also, $30 is my limit for lipstick. Anything more is ridiculous.

  • Deby Prechtl

    I actually don’t like lipstick and only own two, which I wear on very special occasions. Lipstick makes me feel self conscious, like I’m trying too hard. I also don’t like the way lipstick feels, and often the way it smells is offensive. I think that I look overdone in most lipstick colors. I am fair skinned but have a lot of natural color in my lips. Since I already look like I am wearing a rosy nude matte lipcolor without wearing anything at all, I usually only wear Burts Bees Replenishing Lip Balm which has a faint rose tint and is just enough.

    Avidly I followed your series on the L’oreal Reds, thinking “what if I went out on a limb and actually TRIED a red lipstick?”. I think red lipstick looks great on others, not so sure on myself. The Reds as of yet have not shown up in our stores here, but the coordinating nail polishes have, and they are a disappointment.

    While I dislike lipstick, I love nail polish! And I was so underwhelmed by the Reds as interpreted through nail polish, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t find the lipsticks. There was not one I felt was flattering to my skin tone. Every one was a bit “off” to me, but that is frequently the case with L’oreal colors–they are never quite right, IMO!

  • Lisa

    Yeah, I dunno guys. I had gotten pretty sick of all the MAC LE collections, but after the MAC Toledo collection was so good, I’ve been paying closer attention. In March/April MAC released 10 collections: Cinderella, Pencilled In, Eyes on MAC, Julia Petit, Bao Bao Wan, Trend Forecast F15, MAC is Beauty, Philip Treacy, Mia Moretti, and Pure and Gentle. That’s one collection per week on average. Sure, some of them were small, but some were huge, and on top of that MAC rereleased the Huggable Lipcolor Line and the Extra Dimension Eyeshadow line. This feels like an insane pace of product releases to me, and definitely not a slowdown. Then there’s a new contour palette every three seconds, and all those new UD lipsticks, glosses, and blushes, etc., etc. etc.

  • Genevieve

    You always bring up great topics to discuss Isabella!
    I always buy a lipstick from our ‘drugstore” type shops in Australia when I am feeling down or to celebrate something -because these are not too expensive. By the way Estee Lauder lipsticks retail here for $50 plus…..
    I think a lot the drugstore brands have improved their formulas over the past 3-5 years and give the HE brands real competition (think Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipsticks.) Most High End brands are simply too expensive for the average person raising a family, paying a mortgage to afford.
    Another factor in the lipstick sales has been the rise of lip glosses. Many girls use lip glosses, when once upon a time, they would have bought a lipstick.
    As for releases – yes MAC overindulges with gimmicky releases of average quality – not that I have bought any of their makeup because it is ridiculously expensive here and can only be bought from one department chain (Myers). Similarly Bobbi Brown can only be bought from David Jones.
    It seems that the makeup brands have run out of ideas for new products.
    There have been a lot of blushes, highlighting and contouring products released this season – more than eye shadows or anything else.

  • Victoria

    I’ve actually been kind of bored with UD lately, just because I got accustomed to their LE palette releases and they’ve been focusing more on individual products and new shades. I went into a huge frenzy over the Vice 3/Vice LTD palette but the only thing I’ve gotten excited over since then are the new Moondust shades–which I still haven’t purchased because $20 for one shadow is extravagant. I’ll drop between $40-$60 on a palette that gives me 8 or 12 options and room to play around…but not if most of the shades are retreads. (Luckily I’m not there yet because I missed the first three Vice releases. I’m still so mad I let the Oz palettes go, though!)

  • mirandagrosvenor

    I’ve had so many lemmings drop dead the minute I actually got into the store. The L’Oreal Palette Nudes, Lorac Unzipped…just didn’t have that oomph when I actually saw them. Nordstrom had a MAC eyeshadow collection that looked fabulous, but I got there, and the packaging was so cheap-seeming and looked like it would crack if I looked at it sideways. I guess I’m just content with what I have, & finishing things up is a bigger high than buying new things willy-nilly.

  • Ruthless

    I feel companies and brands have to work for my dollar. It’s not simply enough to release a collection, it has to perform well and be affordable for me to bother with it. There is just too much good stuff out there to bother with crap.