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Nail polish is the new lipstick

I hope you like convenient economic theories as much as I do, because here's a tale of a makeup man who came up with a good one. In 2001, Estee Lauder exec Leonard Lauder devised the "Lipstick Index." It was his way of rationalizing why the sale of lipstick increases during a down economy -- he thinks it's because small, affordable luxuries become more important during hard times. That's all fine and well, but lipstick sales have been on the decline since 2007.

Lauder doesn't mind. He counters that it's because women have already bought all the lipstick colors they want ... and have moved on to nail polish. Right. You heard it here first ladies, nail polish is the new lipstick.

What a coincidence. Estee Lauder sells lipstick and nail polish.

Nail polish sales have increased 65 percent since the recession hit in 2008, supporting Lauder's hypothesis, but I think it has more to do with saving than splurging. Manicures cost money, so to save the 15 bucks or so on that treat, maybe women are doing their nails more at home. A new nail polish color is an affordable treat, and with all the wacky colors out there, it's no longer the case that salons have the biggest and coolest selections -- our drug store aisles now do, too.

Recession or not, I'm glad to hear that lipstick isn't as popular anymore. I for one am not a fan of the smelly stuff and am happy that the bare-lipped trend is working to my favor. Nail color, on the other hand, is something I can fully embrace. Love me some Pink Parka and Chinchilly!

But a pick-me-up? Lipstick and nail polish? That's not what I'd call them. I think I'd rather boost my mood by buying my lunch, or seeing a movie, or going tanning (it's so warm and lovely on a cold winter's day!). That's how I spend my recession pressed dollars.

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