See ya, lipstick: It’s all about foundation now

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Interesting piece in the Financial Times the other day about how, thanks to the recession, foundation is now the number one, can’t-live-without-it beauty product for British women.

Previously, the honour went to lipstick—ever heard of Leonard Lauder’s “Lipstick index”? The Estée Lauder chairman came up with the phrase back in 2001 when he noted a inverse correlation between a slumping economy and lipstick sales. Apparently, when the economy tanked, lipstick sales skyrocketed… until now.

I’d venture a guess that foundation is usurping lipstick here in Canada too. I know we beauty editors have all written the obligatory “Return of Lipstick” story over the past few years, but did it ever really catch on?

Here in Canada, we’re not fans of a made-up look (it doesn’t go with our Lululemon pants and North Face jackets). And I know I’m not giving up my gloss (or more accurately, lip balm) for a dark, matte lipstick that ages me 10 years. It’s like my reverse-Botox theory. The more Botox you have, the worse it actually makes you look. Same goes for makeup.

Anyway, this finding also has a lot to do with an emerging beauty trend, which is simply having Great Skin. (Yes, I capitalized it—that’s how much I love this development.) As the rest of the face has become more bare (we’re not shellacking it on like in the 80s or even much of the 90s), it only makes sense that skin is now “in.”

It’s easier to fake good skin, too, since foundations these days are a lot smarter than they used to be. They’re lighter-weight, more natural-looking and have light-reflecting properties, plus many have added sunscreen and skincare ingredients. Also, many women are taking better care of their complexions than they used to—no doubt thanks to the dazzling array of products out there and the rising popularity of cosmetic dermatology—and they want to show that off.

Can you tell that skin is my hands-down favourite beauty topic? I could write for hours about it, but for now, I’ll leave it at that—all this skin talk is making me want to go do the Clinique 3-Step… or something.

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