Skip to main content

Women forfeit glamour for beauty on a budget


Move over, “lipstick factor.” There’s a new beauty shopper in town, and she’s all about “austerity chic”—looking good for less.

“It is a common perception that lipstick sales go up in times of economic adversity, yet this research reveals a very different picture. Hair care and skin care actually are the beauty categories where women are spending the same or more,” stated Nica Lewis, head consultant for Mintel Beauty Innovation, referring to recently released consumer research conducted in the United Kingdom, France and the United States.

According to the research, just 3% of women in each country said that they bought a lipstick to make themselves feel better. In fact, lip color landed at the top of the list of cosmetic products that women would be most likely to spend less on or stop using.

Underscoring the findings, Euromonitor International reported in its May 2009 U.S. Color Cosmetics report that value sales of lipstick declined by 5% in 2008, despite fashion trends emphasizing that lipstick is back.

In light of the recession, women are getting more creative with their spending when it comes to beauty, and are investing their money in moisturizers, body lotions and hair care. This budget-conscious mindset also has opened the gateway for greater sales of those products that are multifunctional or offer greater convenience, according to a separate Mintel report. For the first quarter 2009, Mintel found that 27% of skin care products launched boasted “convenience” claims.

Women also are adapting their beauty treatments in an effort to stretch their dollars. For example, Americans are most likely to scale back on beauty treatments by extending the time between treatments or opting for cheaper, at-home solutions for such things as facials, manicures/pedicures, waxing and hair coloring. Americans also were more likely to buy value-sized or multi-action products, reported Mintel.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds