Is Nail Polish the New Lipstick? It's Kind of Looking That Way . . .

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There's a theory called the "lipstick index" or "lipstick effect," which states that in a time of economic crisis, people will cut back on expensive, big-ticket luxury items but still spend money on small indulgences, like lipstick. This theory dates all the way back to the 20th century and the Great Depression, but we've seen it play out many different times in history. For example, in 2008 after the big stock market crash, L'Oréal reported a 5.3 percent growth in sales. The idea is that small, feel-good items like a lip product can help boost spirits, therefore, people still think they're worth spending money on.

A crisis like the coronavirus pandemic may have tested this lipstick-effect theory once more, but there's one problem: face masks. Because these cover the lower part of your face and cause makeup products to smear and transfer, it's understandable if people aren't too keen on buying a new lipstick during a time like this. It's just not practical.

But if you take the theory at face value and less literally, the lipstick effect could be applied to any makeup product. During a time when lipstick doesn't make the most sense, people might look for a small comfort to enjoy in its place — and nail polish might just be that item. With bold lips on the back burner, there's room for another trend to move into its place. Sure, bright statement eyeliner is having a moment, but you can't deny that trend takes a level of skill that not everyone possesses (including myself, really). A fresh manicure, on the other hand, is something that a majority of people can get behind.

COVID-19 has been tough on the beauty industry already, and it's almost as if brands, too, have predicted that the usual lipstick release may not have the same impact. As such, many have adjusted their strategy accordingly to feature new nail-polish collections instead. Is it in the hopes that fun and exciting nail-polish colors can help fill that lipstick-size hole in our beauty routines and act as a substitute luxury item in a time of crisis? Probably.

Of course, lipstick will always have its place in the spotlight, but for now, embrace the nail-polish trend. This is the perfect time to give your bold lip a break and let your manicure shine with the best new nail colors, ahead.