The Lipstick Effect by Juliet Ashton
When the big things are going wrong, the little things really matter.
Right now it feels like the big things aren’t just going wrong, they’re nosediving like a burning 747 whose flight attendants are punching each other out for the oxygen masks. So we turn to the little things. The lovely, want-able, achievable little things.
It’s called The Lipstick Effect, because there’s some evidence to suggest that sales of lipstick go up during a recession. As do sales of chocolate, and magazines, and bath gel. Because they are small comforts we can all afford, even when the mortgage rate is sprinting, and our disposable income is so small we need a magnifying glass to locate it.
Small explosions of beauty are vital when Donald Trump is at large. Forget about global warming for fifteen minutes while you close your eyes in a hot bath that smells of (my current favourite, and cheap as chips from Waitrose) amber and bergamot. Christopher Columbus imported the first bergamot oranges to Europe, and the oil was a major component of the very first eau de cologne created at the end of the eighteenth century. And I can smell of it for £1.50.
Likewise my red lipstick. It gives me instant confidence. It’s a “Yeah? So what?” to the nay-sayers. I can choose to splurge £30.00 on Chanel Rouge Allure Intense, or I can dash through Boots and nab a £3.99 Seventeen Lip Lustre in Hotting Up. Either does the trick. Both would make my Nana cross herself and mutter that I look like a floozy, but sorry Nana, if I took make-up advice from you I’d be barefaced beneath a battered hat, and that’s not a good look on me.
Chocolate. Now, there’s a subject most modern women could take as their Mastermind specialist subject. For me, it must be cheap. Do not come at me with your 72% cacao. Nor do I want fancy bits in it; save your air-dried raspberry for your more discerning friends. Leave me in the corner with a family bar of Dairy Milk. Do not ask me to share. I am a family in this context.
Small rewards get me through the tougher days. We all need something to look forward to. When you can’t afford a safari, well, a copy of Vogue won’t make up for it, but it’ll transport you for a while. Especially if you draw a moustache on Naomi Campbell.
Perhaps the drip drip drip of small but good things remind us that nothing stays the same. Trump will, eventually, bow out. Your house will sell. Your children will learn the ways of the dishwasher. Your husband will realise that disturbing you in the middle of anything involving James Norton is a bad idea. Your fringe will grow back.