In Japan, Ugly Economy = Pretty Hair

If you live in Japan and you're wondering where the economy is headed, just check out women's haircuts. A Japanese cosmetics company has noticed that when times are good, hair stays long. Short haircuts mean stocks and bonds are about to plunge. Kao, the second-largest cosmetics firm in Japan, has been getting its data from the streets of Tokyo and Osaka for the last 20 years. Reports InventorSpot (via Reuters), "The hairstyles of roughly 1,000 women are noted each time and the results eerily mirror the rise and fall of Japan's major stock indices." And, says Reuters, right now, short hair is in. Recession? Anyone?



Meanwhile, here in the U.S., a weak economy means fewer cosmetic surgeries. The number of Lasik vision corrections is down, reports the International Herald Tribune. "There's a strong correlation between consumer confidence and U.S. Lasik procedures," says Joanne Wuensch, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets. "People don't spend money on Lasik if they feel like things are really bad." And yet! No economy is bad for getting your tits done.

Millennium Research Group is forecasting a 5.5% increase in breast implant sales this year. Explains Aviva Shedletzky, a senior analyst with Millennium: "Our society is so focused on youth, and people really want to look good. So as long as there's at least some discretionary income, people will keep getting them."

Frankly, it seems long hair would be better in a bad economy — haircuts can be expensive! But are finances and cosmetics linked on a personal level? Do you scrimp on lip gloss when the chips are down? Or do you consider beautification a necessity, right up there with food and rent?

Stocks & Blondes... Japanese Women Style Their Hair to Suit the Times [InventorSpot]
Japanese Women Hairstyles Track Economy Ups And Downs [Reuters]
Cosmetic Procedures Decline As U.S. Economy Weakens [IHT]