Food For Thought

Liponomics: how the recession affects lipstick trends

During recessions we’re forever being fed little “gems” of information like how the length of a woman’s skirt is dependent on the economy. Yes, it was interesting the first time we read it, but this fact has been recycled over and over again by media outlets that just can’t get enough of the “r” word. 

Less obvious, and more interesting (for beauty junkies, at least) is how telling of the times the colour and shape of a woman’s {lips} are. According to prominent trend forecaster Li Edelkoort there is a definite link between lip trends and the celebrities of the time, societal emphasis on particular body parts, and, most importantly, the economic and financial status of society in general. During the first economic depression of the 30s women drew their lips outwards with square edges that emphasised the stern, perfectionist appearance of the era. Lip colour was a glossy reddish brown and reflected the sober mood that saw women opt for a steely, androgynous appearance. All in all a stark contrast to the plumped pouts of the 1960s, which wore only soft, discreet colours. The rejection of conventional beauty, prosperity and consumption, and the sudden shift in sexuality (which saw the most focused-upon body parts become boobs and bums) meant that mother-of-pearl and baby pinks, were chosen for their subtle effects throughout the hippie era. The 60s were followed by three decades of bold lips that made a statement, but now in the financial crisis of the noughties, it seems we’ve reverted to the more natural look of the flower power generation. The return of traditional family values and a quest for balance and happiness rather than material richness have paved the way for the return of natural beauty. On-trend lips are soft, natural, and slicked with a shimmering beige, pale pink or apricot shade. Perfect for channelling fresh-faced, radiant beauty.

Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…