The lipstick index or lipstick effect is a phenomenon where consumers still spend money on small indulgences, namely premium lipstick, during recessions and economic downturns. After the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Estée Lauder Chairman Leonard Lauder spoke about an increase in the brand’s lipstick sales – theorising that when times are tough and spending is limited, people may look towards little luxuries (like lipstick) to add a sense of normalcy or hope to an otherwise bleak period.

Right now, the world is in the grips of the COVID-19 health crisis, with a potential global recession on the very-near horizon. Public health is the main concern right now, but if you’re looking for either a little bit of respite that beauty can offer, or something to read while you social distance (that isn’t another set of heart-wrenching statistics), see our edit of the most beautiful luxury lipsticks on offer right now (all are available to shop online, too). Stay safe!

Dior Lip Glow in 012 Rosewood, $52. SHOP NOW

A new rosy-tinted iteration of the cult Dior Lip Glow, this is the perfect anti-lipstick lipstick. It’s creamy, hydrating, adjusts to your natural lip shade and won’t smear or smudge. Perfect for anyone who wants a natural lip but better.

Hermès Rouge Hermès in Corail Fou, $94. SHOP NOW

Lipstick for luxury’s sake, the new Rouge Hermès is a work of art in makeup form. Corail Fou is one of three limited seasonal shades – a bright, punchy, satin pink coral. Locked in a refillable magnetic bullet, this is the Birkin of beauty (but cheaper).

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Rock N Shine in Orange Speaker, $59. SHOP NOW

Each season Yves Saint Laurent release limited colourways in its legendary Volupte Shine lipstick. Orange Speaker is like holiday skin in lipstick form: bright, glossy and warm. What’s more, it smells like mango butter and contains glitter sourced from eucalyptus.

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Extreme in 102 Modern, $56. SHOP NOW

An extra-matte finish often equals extra-dry lips, but not in this instance. Chanel have nailed powdery, second-skin texture with its Rouge Allure Velvet Extreme in Modern: a soft, pinky-nude that looks like you have lipstick on, but not in an obvious way.

Fresh X GirlNewYork Sugar Caramel Hydrating Lip Balm Limited Edition , $24. SHOP NOW

If you prefer a balm, this sweet, cake-scented option from Fresh hits all the right markers: moisturising, non-sticky, subtle gloss and a plump finish. It’s packed with sugar and oils for hydration that’s long-lasting and comforting. This particular rendition is a collab with artist GirKnew York.

Lilah. B Lovingly Lip Tinted Lip Oil in b.remarkable, $48. SHOP NOW

While some lip oils give off the illusion of light, barely-there colour, this pick from Lilah. B is quite the opposite. This isn’t greasy in the slightest, but rather hydrating and the perfect amount of colour. A great middle ground between a tinted balm and lipstick.

thoughts?