Cosmetics: Recession-Proof (No More?)

It was a widely-held belief that the cosmetic industry is (almost) recession-proof, and it’s easy to see why – how many times have makeup lovers declared that their favorite makeup item would have to be pried from their cold, dead hands? Or the countless times that if a decision had to be made between makeup and another need, the answer would always be jokingly makeup?

But we’re about to enter Year 3 in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and there seems to be no sign of it ever slowing down or fading into obscurity: I’d tell anyone who had an ear and patience to put up with my repeated mantra that COVID-19 was behaving like the flu and that it will never go away. The thing about viruses is that they constantly evolve to be more efficient than its previous iteration and COVID is no different – at least, SARS COVID-2 that is.

But my main focus really is on the fact that the cosmetic industry is staring at a reckoning brought on by the pandemic: Revlon has filed for bankruptcy and the recent releases cycles in beauty-related releases seem to be more subdued. I remember seeing a lot of fanfare whenever a new item was released, but nowadays I’d be lucky to see them get mentioned in the mainstream flow of the Internet. I can’t say I’ve been active on the beauty circles or keep up with the newest knick-knack: after a while, the releases get repetitive and you can only innovate so much with beauty products.

Oh yeah, did I mention inflation?

Everybody is feeling the sting of getting less for each dollar that leaves the wallet and people are more stringent with what they consider to be essential. While wearing a medical mask has made wearing makeup semi-moot (at least, face makeup. Unless you don’t mind smudging that mask with foundation, concealer, and lipstick / lipgloss / lip cream / lip stain), inflation became the salt on the wound that leveled a good number of people who were once vocal about their makeup sprees and posting their hauls.

Watching makeup hauls was once a vicarious activity, but now, it feels more like a sort of rub-in-your-face about the other party’s ability to purchase what is slowly becoming a luxurious commodity, and the first sign of this was when drugstore makeup prices began trying to keep up with SephUlta, sans the acceptable quality that came with the price tag.

It’s already late where I am, so I think this is a good place to end the blog entry for now. I am sure there are more subtleties to discuss with this particular topic, but my mind is unable to cover those bases.

What do you think?

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