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Kissing the lipstick wearing habit goodbye is hard.

Self-care, a well-deserved mood boost and treating yourself once occurred through splurging on makeup. But as we've eclipsed our lips (and noses) with masks, this cover-up job has sent lipstick sales down the tubes. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to wear a mask and do my part to protect others.

But lipstick has gone the way of the handshake in the wake of COVID-19.

The handshake was about social connection, gauging a person's strength and earnestness.

Lipstick, on the other hand, was about empowerment and confidence with a few glides of color whether our lips were parted or puckered for application.

Christy Busby Worsham

I loved the changes of the season when the lighter, festive shades of pinks and corals gave way to the darker, dramatic wines and rusts. And vice versa.

Even the feel of the lipstick barrel cupped in the hand, the snapping sound of its top, the twist that revealed the pigmented bullet, then turning it down and capping the lid after the tinted transformation it was truly an art form.

My lipstick-wearing habits have done a complete about-face since the pandemic.

Time was when I only wore lipstick when leaving my home.

Now, the mask has the outside-the-home jaunts covered.

I rarely wear lipstick in my home even in the wake of the pandemic. But, I have made some quick applications before joining a Zoom meeting just to remember who I was with a bit of pigmented perk.

In 2017, about 120.85 million women in the United States wore lipstick or lip gloss, according to Statista.

Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of Estée Lauder, coined the term "Lipstick Index." It tracked how women spent money in economic downturns, in particular the one our country experienced after 9/11.

Women continued to purchase lipstick then, despite the economic hardships. It offered a compact pick-me-up.

The pandemic has brought a lot of doom and gloom to people's livelihoods as well as their physical and mental health.

Lipstick's pigment is now a figment of our masked reality. Our lives are a little darker, a little less certain overall.

But there's another cosmetic concoction infused with color that is lighting up the makeup sales charts.

Nail polish.

Nail polish is the new lipstick when it comes to treating yourself by finding a good pick-me-up in the makeup aisle.

Does this mean there will be a Nail Polish Index?

Maybe we can keep count on our fingers, with special emphasis on our index fingers.

All signs point to nail polish sales staying steady or increasing while masks prevail.

Myriad colors and nail polish formulas help brush your troubles away as the color sweeps across your nails.

I have a theory about lipstick and nail polish that aligns with an adage about jewelry.

We wear necklaces, earrings and perhaps lipstick for others.

We wear rings, bracelets and perhaps nail polish for ourselves.

Think about it, we never see our necklace, earrings or lipstick unless we check ourselves in the mirror.

But we regularly see our rings, bracelets and nail polish. Hands down.

I must admit I have a favorite, go-to happy bottle of nail polish and it lifts my mood when I wear it.

Applying nail polish is an art form as well. It takes a steady hand.

So as lipstick tubes go to the bottom of the cosmetic bag, purse or makeup drawer, there are 10 good reasons to pull out the nail polish bottle and make your nails look like miniature gems.

We need the temporary escape from our current crisis.

Give this colorful self-care tactic a try, you'll have it made in the shade of your choosing. n


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