Lipstick had a pretty poor 2020. Often obliged to hide the lower half of our faces behind coverings, we ditched the bright colors in favor of a natural lip that wouldn’t smudge our masks, relegating lipstick to the bottom of our makeup drawers. Why bother, when no one could see us smile anyway?
In the United States, lipstick sales saw a bigger drop than any other type of cosmetic, according to consulting firm McKinsey, with e-commerce giant Amazon seeing a 15% decline in sales (compared with a 5% increase for eye cosmetics). In the four weeks leading up to April 11, lipstick prices on the platform also fell by 28% — the steepest dip of any beauty segment.
Some have even declared the demise of the “Lipstick Index” — a term, coined by Estée Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder after lipstick sales rose in the month after 9/11, to explain why, even in times of turmoil and economic uncertainty, we still seek small luxuries in our daily lives.