Lipstick: Lashed By The Mascara

I remember mentioning in my inaugural post that I went from owning zero mascaras about a year ago to having six mascaras this year. That was back in June and I didn't take into account my clear mascara. Well, I’ve gleefully added one more to my precious collection this week.

GOSH Cosmetics is currently having a promotion here in the Netherlands that’s gotten the Dutch beauty blogging community buzzing with excitement. You see, for these two weeks, GOSH has teamed up with a major Dutch drugstore chain called Kruidvat (pronounced krowd-vaat) to offer one free GOSH mascara of your choice (full-size, I might add) in exchange for your old mascara! Isn’t that a fantastic deal? Tuesday was the first day of the promotion and I didn’t waste any time because I knew such promotions always receive overwhelming response.

So, there I was in the store with my half-used and long-abandoned Collection2000 clear mascara that I bought in the UK way back in 2005 (eeek!!). Clear mascaras.....who needs them? Thank goodness I hadn’t thrown it away! It was quite a task deciding which mascara to get because GOSH has numerous types! The evening before, I had tried looking up on the internet for reviews on GOSH mascaras but there were so few of them! Anyway, I ended up choosing the one pictured in the promo brochure, with its sassy red and black tube. In Kruidvat's press release, it was mentioned that this mascara exchange promotion was to promote GOSH's new mascara, which is the Intense Lashes - Lengthening Mascara, the one I chose. At the counter, I passed my Collection2000 mascara to the young sales assistant. She had obviously never seen a clear mascara product before and I couldn’t blame her! She looked at the tube and said, “But this is a lipgloss.” I promptly replied and pointed at the wordings on the tube, “No, it’s not. It’s a ‘No Colour Mascara’. See?” “Oh!” she said.

And that was how I came to own my seventh mascara.

Since the whole range of GOSH cosmetics was on sale, I decided to buy me some other makeup items as well. My first GOSH purchase, I confess. I’m so excited!

I thought I should also mention that in April this year, the same drugstore had another mascara-related promotion. This time, it was with Rimmel mascaras. All you had to do was buy two of the listed promo products to get a free full-size Rimmel mascara of your choice! It was quite funny because the listed promo products were totally unrelated to makeup, for example, dishing-washing tablets, stain removing washing liquid and fabric softeners. That was all right. I got my first Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara and that was all that mattered.

It is indeed interesting to note that for this year alone, there have been two promotions offering free mascaras. Why mascaras? Why not lipsticks or eyeliners? I was suddenly reminded of a news article that I had read many months ago about the correlation between mascaras and economic health.

In December 2008, there was an item in the Wall Street Journal about sales of mascaras bucking the trend in the economic downturn. Perhaps you had read it too in your local papers. According to the article, in a research conducted in the US by NPD Group, mascara sales rose 4% in the month of October that year despite a general decline in sales of makeup. The study found that mascara is the most used makeup item among American women with about half of them using it at least once a day. The contrast in the proportion of women who use mascara and those who use lipsticks was also noteworthy. 83% of the women questioned use mascara as opposed to 64% who use lipsticks.

So whatever happened to the Lipstick Index once proposed by Leonard Lauder of Estée Lauder in 2001?

Note: Gail of oogle makeup wrote an excellent intellectual piece not too long ago about makeup shopping behaviour. In it, she also made a mention of the Lipstick Index, critically questioning its existence. Have a read!

According to the Lipstick Index theory, there is an inverse correlation between sales of lipsticks and the economic climate. Women would stay clear of luxury items but were willing to spend money buying lipsticks in times of recession, like in the Great Depression, the 1990s and after 9/11 (the autumn of that year saw an increase of 11% in the sales of lipsticks in the US). Lipsticks were seen as an affordable luxury to stay attractive. Maximum impact with minimum spending. However, this theory has lost credibility over the years as other research studies have found inconsistencies in it and even no correlation between the two variables. Is mascara then the new lipstick?

There was an article in a Dutch daily, De Pers, in April this year that supports the popularity of mascara. The article stated that according to a research conducted in the Netherlands by Nielsen, sales of mascara rose 12% (and foundations a credible 10%) in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2008, back when 'credit crunch' wasn't a catch-phrase yet. Sales of lipsticks, on the other hand, fell 7%. It was, it seems, the only makeup item whose sales dipped.

In an article in another newspaper, De Telegraaf, earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Dutch Cosmetics Association (NCV) said that the popularity of lipsticks has been declining over the years. It is the mascara that creates the buzz these days with innovations in the brushes – materials used, the shape, oscillating – and in the mascara itself – collagen-infused, volume-boosting, curling, lifting, lengthening, you name it. These days, mascaras are the driving force in the makeup market in general. When a new mascara is launched, you gotta have it!

So, I suspect this was the motivation behind the earlier-mentioned free mascara promotions. Women. Cannot. Resist. Mascaras. Update: Checking the Dutch blogs and forums, it seems that many Kruidvat stores have already run out of GOSH mascaras! Those ladies who haven't got their hands on a GOSH mascara have resorted to writing in forums desperately asking if anyone knows which Kruidvat store still has stock! GOSH Cosmetics must be enjoying monitoring all this.

Anyway, I do wonder about the so-called decline in the popularity of lipsticks and its fate. Firstly, it isn't really that women are totally ditching lip beauty. There are after all many other lip products as alternatives - lip balms, lip stains, lip pencils and especially lip glosses. Glossy, juicy lips have been in in recent years, so surely the rise in the popularity of lip glosses has helped compensate for the fall in the demand for lipsticks (Lipgloss Index perhaps, Mr Lauder?). Secondly, the studies mentioned above were carried out this past year. This period does especially coincide with the nude lips trend where emphasis has been on the eyes and less on the lips. Well, aren’t we now seeing colour back on the lips on the runways?

I hope we will herald the return of lipsticks with pomp. It deserves better. While I find the mascara an absolutely fascinating tool, I still love the old-fashioned unabashed poise of the lipstick, whatever the colour. What about you?


Naomi said...

I've never been a lipstick girl myself although I do love my lip glosses and balms. I however do love mascara and usually have about three on the go at any one time. I feel so naked without my mascara on even when I have a full face of makeup on.

Lorla said...

Yes, I think you've got it right with the turn to mascara as a go to product for women. I am not too particular about mascara (Rimmel Sexy Curves suits me just fine). Thank you for the links to all of the interesting articles as well.

I had to laugh at your exchange with the sales lady when she didn't realize that it was mascara...too funny.

Witoxicity said...

I love lip balms too as it works great on dry lips. It's interesting what you said about feeling naked without mascara on. You must fit perfectly in the profile of the majority of the women who took part in the research! :)

Rimmel Sexy Curves is a good mascara for a natural look, I think. It gives just enough curl and length without overdoing it. I like that.

As for the sales assistant, I hadn't expected that reaction from her. If she had looked properly, she would have seen that the brush inside was not that of a lipgloss! :D

Anonymous said...

Another informative and very interesting post! I have got to say, that mascaras are my favourite makeup product. I just love using it and love collecting it too hahaha!

freckletone said...

wow.. that was very informative! i love both mascara and lipstick.but the number of lipsticks i own is 5x the number of mascara. i just cant stop buying lipsticks because maybe i feel like each colour is different(or at least thats what i convince myself) lol..wheres for mascara,i stop at 6 because theyre all black,they all work quite well and i just want to finish them up before the shelf life

p.s. great blog! im following you!

twinsouls888 said...

Very cute blog, I followed you ^_^

Witoxicity said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. So, you're yet another mascara lover and collector! :)

Thanks for dropping by my blog and following! If my calculation's right, you've got 30 lipsticks in your collection! Wow! And I so admire your will power to stop at 6 mascaras!

It's lovely of you to stop by and thanks for following. I appreciate it! :)

Bijin Blair said...

I'm more of an eyeliner girl, but if I have to choose between mascara and lipstick, mascara will definitely win =D Thank you so much for such a thoughtful post on the 'mascara index' haha

Funkiimonkee said...

Me too! I have a collection of mascaras now and it's quite bad since I don't think I will go thru them all before their due date! I love your blog- you write great articles:)

Witoxicity said...

Ah, the eyeliner is indeed another must-have! Thanks for dropping by!

I'm glad you enjoyed reading my posts. I haven't got that many mascaras but I already fear that I won't be able to use them up before they expire. :(