Caviar-Infused Designer Lipsticks Will See Us Through The Recession

Estée Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder's claim that lipstick sales rise during a recession has been disproven, but overall there has been a 9% increase in sales of high-end cosmetics since last year despite the economic downturn. While shoppers are cutting back on clothing purchases, they're still willing to splurge on makeup. Now executives behind several designer brands have come up with an ingenious idea. Rather than hoping women will buy multiple $20 lipsticks, just make one lipstick cost as much as a dress.

The New York Times reports that more companies are rolling out lipsticks that cost $40 and up. Some are able to come up with an explanation that almost sounds reasonable. La Prairie says its Cellular Lip Color costs $55 because it contains caviar extract made from farm-raised roe (this is essential because you wouldn't want just any old caviar mashed up into your lipstick). Clé de Peau Beauté, which is owned by Shiseido, has a $60 Extra Rich lipstick which contains a form of retinol that "counteracts vertical lines." Gisela Ballard, the company's executive director of marketing, explains:

"That's an expensive ingredient. A big component is the color pigmentation, and the shape of the lipstick is unique, which is also an extra cost. It's angled, like a diamond baguette, and because of that shape, you can draw a very precise lip."

It took cosmetics experts years to figure out how to mold lipstick into a slightly different shape, so that alone is worth the extra $40 to $50.

Other designer lipsticks don't contain diamond flecks and aren't even diamond shaped, but they possess a certain je ne sais quois that makes them far superior to the $6 lipsticks we poors are smearing on our faces. When asked why the lipsticks in his new cosmetics line are worth $48, Tom Ford explained, "I wanted really gorgeous, rich, saturated color, and it was inspired by a kind of '70s-meets-'20s, hedonistic mood." If you don't understand how a shade of red could represent the amalgamation of the national mood from two very different decades, then you don't deserve to wear Tom Ford's lipstick! However, he'll gladly take your $48 if you'd like to try to figure it out.

Designer Lipstick: A New Splurge [NYT]

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