Eco Edit – Lipstick

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”

Elizabeth Taylor, Actress

It is no surprise that lipstick is a global superstar in the cosmetic industry. According to recent studies, 80% of the American women regularly wear lipstick and over 25% won’t leave the house without wearing it.

Lipstick may not initially come to mind when we think about issues in today’s society but if we use it as an example of an everyday product (that some would argue as a necessity), a cheap luxury item, manufactured globally and made from supposedly natural products we

Some of the most popular brands of lipstick are Revlon, Urban Decay, Cover Girl, Max Factor, Chanel, Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, and MAC Cosmetics.

Studies have shown that lipstick sales tend to rise during gloomy or rainy days.

Can the sales of lipstick predict a recession?

 I learned about this concept from a colleague and using the powers of wikipedia for the official definition

 

‘The lipstick index is a term coined by Leaonard Lauder, chairman of the board of Estee Lauder used to describe increased sales of cosmetics during the early 2000s recession. Lauder made the claim that lipstick sales could be an economic indicator, in that purchases of cosmetics – Lipstick in particular – tend to be inversely correlated to economic health. The speculation was that women substitute lipstick for more expensive purchases like dresses and shoes in times of economic distress.’

Wikipedia

Lauder identified the Lipstick index as sales across the Estee Lauder family of brands. Subsequent recessions, including the late-2000s recession, provided controverting evidence to Lauder’s claims, as sales have actually fallen with reduced economic activity. Conversely, lipstick sales have experienced growth during periods of increased economic activity. As a result, the lipstick index has been discredited as an economic indicator. The increased sales of cosmetics in 2001 has since been attributed to increased interest in celebrity-designed cosmetics brands.

“Health and beauty is one of the fastest-growing categories [in retail sales]. Generally in times of reduced consumer spend and pressure on disposable consumer incomes people want to treat themselves to look good, and spend more on facial creams and makeup.”

This is known as the lipstick effect – consumers opting for affordable treats rather than splashing out on big-ticket items such as furniture.

Palm oil in Lipstick

The main ingredients of modern lipsticks are waxes (even natural beeswax), oils, pigments and emollients

For many years, palm oil has been used in lipstick as it holds it colour well, doesn’t melt at high temperatures and can be applied smoothly to the lips with virtually no taste.

Palm oil has suffered a lot of scrutiny, often been held up as a huge environment ‘nasty’ due to the clearing of tropical forests in order to produce it and posing huge threats to endangered species, namely orangutans.

Palm oil destroys rainforests

In More detail, Indonesia’s tropical rainforests are among the world’s most diverse. They provide critical habitat to species including highly endangered Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants and orangutans. The Indonesian government has announced plans to convert approximately 18 million more hectares of rainforests, an area the size of Missouri, into palm oil plantations by 2020.

Palm oil threatens forest peoples

In More detail, Indonesia’s tropical rainforests are among the world’s most diverse. They provide critical habitat to species including highly endangered Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants and orangutans. The Indonesian government has announced plans to convert approximately 18 million more hectares of rainforests, an area the size of Missouri, into palm oil plantations by 2020.

Palm oil causes climate change

Rainforests are the earth’s largest sinks of carbon, safely storing the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. In Indonesia, rainforests are razed to create industrial palm oil plantations, releasing massive quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.[7] In fact, deforestation causes eighty percent of Indonesia’s CO2 emissions, making the tropical nation the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

In the last 30 years alone, 90% of orangutan habitats have been destroyed due to palm oil production.

What about trade tariff wars?

*Export data for cosmetic industry during 2018 according to worlds top exports .com

France:                                 $9.6 billion                         

United States:                    $5.8 billion                         

Singapore:                           $5.2 billion                         

South Korea:                      $4.9 billion                         

Japan:                                  $3.9 billion                         

Germany:                            $3.8 billion              

Hong Kong:                         $2.53 billion                      

China:                                   $2.47 billion                      

Italy:                                      $2.3 billion                         

United Kingdom:              $2.2 billion                     

Lipstick is arguably the least expensive and most popular cosmetic in the world today. As long as cosmetics remain in fashion (and there is no indication that they will not) the market for lipstick will continue to be strong, adding markets in other countries as well as diversifying currently identified markets.

CEO of US company Stowaway Cosmetics describes the movement of a single product before even hitting the shelves. Cosmetic components come from China and its pigments come from Italy. While many products are filled in Italy, a few are filled in the United States. All of this travel for a single product means increased costs and logistical nightmares. Lipsticks in particular have to be air-shipped rather than shipped on an actual ship, because of temperature variance. An ocean crossing can result in a gob of melted wax. This highlights the increased risk or higher costs due to likely tariff updates.

There has also been increased interest in sourcing formulas from Korea, which has a booming cosmetics industry. A company can then manufacture and fill in the same place, which is more cost-effective in the long term, not to mention that it’s quicker to get the lipstick tubes from China to Korea. “The Italians, for all of their flaws when it comes to speed, really understand color, but the Koreans are much faster on the chemistry,” she says. 

*Sourced from an article from Racked.com

Dare we mention the ‘B’ word?

Since the summer of 2018, the French cosmetics industry has been preparing for a no-deal Brexit, and companies are scrambling to set up legal entities in Europe and the United Kingdom to keep business going as usual.

Britain is the fourth largest market worldwide for French perfumes and cosmetics, and it is its second largest European market, after Germany, with sales of over a billion euros each year.

European cosmetics regulations are some of the most rigorous in the world, and it is unlikely that the UK will adopt different ones immediately, which is good news for European countries who want to continue selling in Britain.

Cost increases

The most likely impact of Brexit on make-up and perfumes is price.

Depending on how we view one of favourite beauty products it seems that if we really want to buy a product that doesn’t harm our planet we will no doubt have to pay for it!

It’s a shame that the higher costs are likely to hit Trump’s pocket and not the livelihood of our beloved orangutans.

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

I think we can all agree with Gwyneth on this one, let’s keep our planet beautiful.

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