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Forget The Lipstick Index: This Year, It’s All About Polish

Deborah Lippmann polishes available on

One of the best ways to gauge the health of our economy is to delve into data on consumer buying behavior. The New York Times recently brought a few new optimistic facts to my attention. For one, people are sobering up (or at least going top shelf), because sales of cheap spirits have stabilized after soaring during the recession. Woohoo! Less exciting, but also a great sign, cardboard box sales are up and apparently that is a “strong indicator” of economic rejuvenation. However, there were also some ominous clues, one being that nail polish sales were up.

It used to be that lipstick sales correlated to our country’s financial state: as the economy worsened, women would forgo big splurges and opt instead for small lip color luxuries. In fact, Leonard Lauder, Chairman of the Board of Estee Lauder, coined the term the ‘the lipstick index’ to describe increased sales of lipstick during the early 2000’s recession.

But now lipstick has been replaced by polish as the indicator du jour. As the author, Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money, put it: “For reasons nobody quite understands, the lipstick indicator doesn’t hold up anymore, though nail polish sales now seem to reflect the economy very clearly…and sales of nail polish are way up right now." Well, Adam, the reason is simple. There can only be one true product obsession at any given time and right now everyone is infatuated with polish.

Heavens knows that I have started nabbing up polish left, right, and center — and it’s not because I don’t love lipstick anymore. Rather, it’s because I am completely fixated on nails. Whether it’s the new “It” hue (don’t even get me started on the Hunger Games shades) or fun new nail art designs, I am a women obsessed.

And I know many of you are right there with me! Is anyone else not surprised that polish sales are way, way up? Tell me in comments!


Aside from up top, my other current fave Deborah Lippmann shades all happen to be in this handy set.

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