The correlation between financial recessions and increased cosmetic sales has long been noted by economists and beauty industry watchers -- conventional wisdom is that when faced with financial uncertainty, women turn to little luxuries rather than investing in pricey and trendy items (like handbags).

The cosmetic of choice for recessionistas has traditionally been a tube of red lipstick -- think late 20's, early 30's flapper glam -- because it gives the most transformational color bang for its buck.

But we've all heard that this recession is different than any other, and it turns out that this rhetoric applies to our penny-pinching cosmetic choices as well. The Financial Times reports that this time around women are splurging on foundation rather than lipstick.

We want to know -- What's your must-have recession beauty item?


What's your must-have beauty product?
Foundation - I want to fake a beautiful complexion!60 (38.2%)
Lipstick - Nothing's more glamorous than perfect lips.27 (17.2%)
Both - I want it all!70 (44.6%)



We wondered what is behind this shift in cosmetic priorities: Is the stress of this recession showing on our faces and are we trying to mask the effects with foundation? Is it simply a desire to emulate younger skin?

One person who is not surprised by foundation's new popularity is Bianca Alexander, Director of Makeup Artistry for M·A·C cosmetics, who told StyleList that she thinks foundation's popularity is due to better education and better formulas. "Magazines, morning television and beauty blogs have been spreading the good news about foundations and tools (i.e. brushes) being more imperative in making one look more pulled together and refreshed than a lone lipstick," she says.

In addition, the naturally glowing complexions (read: shiny) of seasons past are being replaced by a more polished look. And, foundation technology has improved greatly, making liquids "super light" and natural-looking. The advent of mineral powders "that offer a 'powder' feeling of coverage, while looking luminous and sheer" have also made flawless skin more accessible.