I have Cried A Million Tears Across a Million Miles

It's All About Our Lipstick - Women Rule the Economy!

Lipstick index

by Yvonne DiVita, Book Whisperer, from Master Book Builders

Lipstick. I adore it. I crave it. I drool over all the beautiful shades and colors. I forcefully push myself to avoid the lipstick aisle in any store I visit that sells cosmetics. And I often fail. Yes, I have at least a dozen lipsticks. Maybe more. 

But a dozen, how paltry is that? I cannot compete with die-hard lipstick fans who share on Instagram - whole shelves of lipsticks in the dozens (plural). I shiver just a little to see the vast rows of lipsticks...some of them open to display the colors! 

My granddaughter, in her 13-year-old wisdom, sighs at me. "Grandma, you have all the same color," she exclaims. She is waving at the ten or twelve lipsticks I keep on my makeup table. The ones I wear almost every day.

"They are not the same," I reply, with a shrug of my shoulders. Because, mostly, they are. I need to break out of my rut and find new shades.

"Look at this," she declares, opening three or four of them. "The same. Exactly the same."

Not the same. I am not deterred by her youth and exuberance for knowing everything. They are different shades of the same. That's all. And among the mauves and pinks sit some very red reds. A bronze or two. A deep purple. Not all the same.

I refer her, however, to my cabinet across the room, where I have about 10 other lipsticks. "See these," I say. "These are different."

She shakes her head and gives a grunt. "No, they are not," she says, opening them one by one. "The same," she looks me right in the eye and dares me to object.

I laugh. "Not the same," I say, closing each one and the cabinet and turning away. "They are all different to me."

The granddaughter is haughty in her knowledge of makeup, lipstick, and how to look good. She has often dressed me for video events. I respect her opinion. It's so interesting to hear how younger women today think about makeup and such. But I never let it color how I feel about makeup and lipstick. Especially lipstick.

Here's a little history of the use of lipstick from a cosmetic brand called Nabila K.

Scandalous Lipsticks in History
Interestingly enough, lipstick was not always as widely accepted as it is today. In fact, it may shock you to know that, at one point, lipstick was declared illegal. It was during the Dark Ages of Europe, approximately the 16th century, that the Christian Church ended up banning lipstick. They viewed any coloring of the lips as a ritual associated with pagan rituals. As such, around this time in Europe, only the lowest class of people wore lipsticks, mainly prostitutes.

I did not do further research to see how correct this is because I have read the exact same information elsewhere many times during my years of writing this blog. Lipstick has been seen as scandalous in the U.S. in the 

Axiology, another cosmetics company, tells us this about the history of lipstick,

...by the 1700s, red lipstick was outlawed in England on the basis that women were using cosmetics as a tool to seduce men into marriage. The charge? Witchcraft! Similar laws prevailed in the United States, where a marriage could be annulled if it was found that the woman had been wearing red lipstick during courtship.

They go on to note that 

In the late 1800s, Guerlain began to manufacture red lipstick made from grapefruit, butter, and wax. The Sears Roebuck catalog was selling rouge for the lips and cheeks by the late 1890s.

By 1912, undisguised use of cosmetics was popular with fashionable women in Western culture. Metal lipstick tubes became available in 1911, making it easier for women to reapply their lipstick on the go.

In 1923, the first swivel-up lipstick tube, the design still commonly used today, was patented by James Brace Mason Jr. During WWII, metal tubes were replaced by plastic tubes.


And here we are in 2024, where girls as young as 10 wear lipstick. Where beauty pageants abound with 5-year-olds walking the red carpet, fully dressed as grown women, sporting bright red lipstick, smacking their lips as they walk because it's all such a game to them.

Beyond that, a CNN article says the purchase of cosmetics, primarily lipstick, could indicate we are heading into a recession. 

Here's the gist of it: there is something called The Lipstick Index, and it may predict our economic rise or fall. 

Of course, the so-called lipstick index is a less technical — and more fun — measure of economic downturn and isn’t always entirely accurate. But as the free-spending post-pandemic party comes to an end in the US, it’s something worth exploring.

But is it? I submit that women will buy lipstick no matter how good or how bad the economy is. The article does say women are willing to spend more, as in the purchase of a $24 lipstick, whereas I generally pay $10 - 12. I've considered higher pricing, but I'm still old school, so I resist.

My time online looking at different brands of cosmetics, some with lipstick in the ranges of $34 - $54, makes me desire more lipstick. Better lipstick. More colors (will the granddaughter approve?). Without worry about the cost.

I shudder to admit such a thing to my husband, who is in the corner with the granddaughter thinking all my colors are the same. Except for the blatantly purple one.

I leave you with this quote from the CNN article, and this speaks volumes to how powerful women and girls are in how we shop, spend, and buy...cosmetics or anything else:

 Social selling has become almost 20% of our brand .com sales. That’s a really interesting and important trend because what matters these days for a brand is what people say about you to each other rather than what you say about yourself.

True or not, the idea of a Lipstick Index makes as much sense as everything else they're throwing at us to predict a recession. Personally, I think it's all rubbish. Time will tell, and before, during, and after, I will still be buying lipstick.


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