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Lipstick’s booming luxury market confirms ‘lipstick effect’

Lipstick brands are enjoying an increase in demand.

By LLM Reporters  |  July 4, 2022
Lipstick

The world economy is under pressure as it struggles to recover from the impact of the global pandemic and a range of other socio-political factors in 2022 – and the UK, which is still adjusting to the effects of Brexit, is under particular strain. With a dip into recession looking likely, the idea of an economic downturn is a stressful one – yet despite this, it seems our spending on small luxuries hasn’t just weathered the storm, but is actually surging.

While we might be pulling back a little on bigger splurges like huge new homes and fancy supercars, it seems our desire to treat ourselves in smaller ways is still as strong as ever. Known as the ‘lipstick effect’ – a term coined in 1998 book ‘The Overspent American’ – our eagerness to keep indulging at such times is thought to be due to a desire for a little bit of emotional uplift and consolation. And let’s face it; few things have the power to make you feel like a million dollars when you need it most like a brand new shade of your favourite high-end lipstick.

Lipsticks
According to data recently released by NPD Group, sales of lipsticks and other lip gloss products rose 48 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 when compared with the same period in 2021, with the numbers exceeding $222 million and more

While today, the term doesn’t apply only to spending on lipstick itself, it’s this particular little luxury that inspired the concept in the first place, and looking back, it’s clear to see that in history, every economic recession was accompanied by the ‘lipstick effect’. Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder, provided evidence in 2001 when he announced that sales of lipsticks had surged following the 9/11 terrorist attacks – while later, after the 2008 financial crisis, sales of lipsticks rose sharply once again. 

The current situation is no exception to the trend, and in this post-pandemic era, with the global economy slowing and the population still healing from the emotional trauma of the past two years, our craving for a little pick-me-up is an understandable one. According to data recently released by NPD Group, sales of lipsticks and other lip gloss products rose 48 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 when compared with the same period in 2021, with the numbers exceeding $222 million and more than twice the growth of other beauty categories. 

Seizing the day: How lipstick brands are cashing in

The current spike in lipstick sales presents an exciting opportunity for high-end beauty brands – but how can they build upon the current momentum in the longer term? BeautySourcing, a professional beauty supply platform, offers some insights from the packaging perspective.  

Collection of lipsticks
In just a quick swipe, a lipstick can enhance our natural beauty and boost confidence, offering a much-needed means of self expression

After a long period of stress and uncertainty, and with more doom and gloom seemingly on the horizon, women are looking for something to make them happy, quickly – and a brand new lipstick is just the ticket. While research has shown that the initial dopamine hit associated with splashing out on something for ourselves is short-lived, it’s something that many can’t help but continue to chase – and when you consider the longer lasting pleasure something like a lip colour can provide, and the instant boost you feel when putting it on, it certainly seems like one of the better choices.

In just a quick swipe, a lipstick can enhance our natural beauty and boost confidence, offering a much-needed means of self expression. But for many women, it isn’t just the product itself that has the power to put a smile on their face, but the packaging, too.

Many of the world’s leading luxury beauty brands have made a name for themselves not just for their highly pigmented, long-lasting lip colours, but for their opulent choice of casings – with decadent, shimmering golds, beautiful branding and sophisticated, understated designs all part of the appeal. 

Woman applying lipstick
Many of the world’s leading luxury beauty brands have made a name for themselves not just for their highly pigmented, long-lasting lip colours, but for their opulent choice of casings

Then, there’s the comfort of holding something soft in your hand, or feeling it against your skin. Tactile elements like this are becoming increasingly important to brands wanting to cover all bases, and product formulations are becoming softer and smoother, with even packaging feeling soothing to the touch in a bid to appeal to our subconscious desire for comfort.

According to BeautySourcing, these new lipsticks and their casings have scored a full house on what it takes to capitalise on the so-called ‘lipstick effect’, ticking all the right boxes and more.

Plastic liquid lipstick container with air cushion tip 

This liquid lipstick container by Shantou Danzhihong Plastic Co. Ltd. can be used for a range of different purposes, including to house lip glosses or other cosmetic products – so expect to see a gorgeous product incorporating it hitting the shelves of your favourite brand boutiques soon. With a small air cushion on the stick tip, just click the button to push out the liquid for easy application with the safe and lint free applicator. 

red lipstick
The current spike in lipstick sales presents an exciting opportunity for high-end beauty brands

Cute capsule shape soft touch lipstick tube 

Jinze integrates both visual pleasure and tactile comfort into one lipstick tube. The container is designed in a capsule shape without any edge or corner to press into your skin when holding it, making it a comforting and palm-friendly choice that is further enhanced by its smooth and satisfying matte finish.

Refillable lipstick tubes 

Then there’s Qiaoyi Packaging, which has recently launched a 50/50 round lipstick tube that is also an appealing choice for those concerned about sustainability. It’s airtight to preserve all formula, and when empty, it is easy to refill with a new product. As well as being an eco-friendly packaging alternative, it features fully customisable colours and detailing – which means some of our very favourite luxury brands could be snapping them up sometime soon.

For more on BeautySourcing’s professional insights and trending product recommendations, head to www.beautysourcing.com.