No. 7 The Lipstick Index

Makeup is a cheap thrill for penny-pinched shoppers. When the economy is weak, most consumers cut back on nonessentials and instead spend their money on the little luxuries--for example, lipstick. That's exactly what happened during the 2001 recession, when lipstick sales soared even as the overall economy declined. These days, the so-called lipstick index (a term coined a decade ago by Estée Lauder chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder) seems to indicate more tough times to come. Lipstick sales are up 14% this year. And nail polish, which more recently has become a bellwether of economic turbulence, has risen an even more disturbing...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!