“Red lipstick index”: how cosmetics affect your mental health

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Frame from the movie “Allies”

Cosmetics are the support that women are not ready to give up, even in times when the world is unstable. Why? Why? It’s all about the “red lipstick index”.

The concept of the “red lipstick index” was coined by Leonard Lauder, president of Estee Lauder Corporation, in 2001. This is an indicator of the economic situation, which shows that during the period of economic instability, cosmetics sales only increased, while the demand for clothing, shoes and accessories was constantly falling.

Shot from the movie “Obsession”

He cited the 2008 economic crisis as an example, in which sales of cosmetics and body care products increased rapidly. The truth is, lipstick or nail polish is much cheaper than new shoes or dress. Therefore, at a time when a woman has to save money and monitor spending more closely, she will prefer to give up another pair of shoes, but will please herself with lipstick. It looks cheap but it’s nice. At the same time, face, body cream or cleansers have long become an integral part of everyday expenses, which the groom, in principle, is not ready to refuse.

We asked Natalya Bekhtereva about the aspects of this psychological phenomenon.

Natalya Bekhtereva

Natalya Bekhtereva, psychotherapist at the Human Brain Institute Clinic of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the coordination council of the Russian Psychotherapy Association

“Research shows, indeed, that shopping, including cosmetics, has great psychological and therapeutic value – if done in moderation, of course. Whether you’re adding items to your online shopping cart or visiting your favorite boutique, you’ll get a mental and emotional boost in a matter of hours. When we make a purchasing decision, we reinforce a sense of personal control over the environment. We create a space where we can manage the situation, make decisions and make choices. This gives a sense of stability and a sense of security at that moment. Buying from the beauty world can also alleviate feelings of sadness. A 2014 study in the journal Consumer Psychology found that shopping not only makes people immediately happier, but also helps fight persistent sadness, though, when done in moderation.

We focus on the choices we make when buying lipstick – brand, color, texture, etc. choose. In this way, we shift the focus of attention from anxious experiences to pleasant sensations in moments of crisis. On the other hand, visualization and the bright appearance of objects also distract us from anxiety. Buying cosmetics stimulates the senses and thus reduces anxiety. The scent of something new, bright lights and colorful screens combine to create a creative experience that can take us away from our own reality even for a short while. We feel smells, textures, bright pictures – all this distracts from disturbing thoughts. On the other hand, shopping and the sensory stimulation we get from doing it cause us to visualize positive results. The same is seen, for example, in athletes who reduce their anxiety levels through positive visualization and positive anticipation.

And of course, when you buy from us, dopamine, known as the pleasure hormone, is released. But it is interesting that it began to stand out even before the purchase was made. Dopamine increases the desire to keep looking for things that make you feel good. That’s why we enjoy not only buying, but also the way and process of this selection.

Shot from the movie “Revenge haute couture”

But the coin also has a downside – if sales of colored cosmetics are breaking all records in a particular country, it’s probably a sign of a serious economic crisis.

Meanwhile, during the pandemic, and especially during the height of self-isolation in spring 2020, the beauty industry was feeling great and many major retailers didn’t have time to stock up on the most popular products. So the “red lipstick index” only strengthened its position as a working economic hypothesis.

We have seen many brands leave Russia in the last six months, but they have been replaced by new brands, both Russian and foreign. And now if you want to please yourself with lipstick (and that’s okay!), then here is a small selection of the worthy ones.

Matte lipstick, shade Stiletto, Revolution Pro, 760 r.
Matte lipstick, shade Stiletto, Revolution Pro, 760 r.

Matte lipstick, shade Mastermind, Absolute New York, 399 p.
Matte lipstick, shade Mastermind, Absolute New York, 399 p.

True Matte Complimenti liquid lipstick, shade 2, Relouis, 426 r.
True Matte Complimenti liquid lipstick, shade 2, Relouis, 426 r.

Glossy lipstick Glossy Dream, shade 207, Kiko Milano, 1049 R.
Glossy lipstick Glossy Dream, shade 207, Kiko Milano, 1049 R.

Source: People Talk