In Europe, Beauty Industry Thrives Despite Economic Problems

A segment from PRI’s The World comes from Spain, where the European debt crisis has impacted a variety of industries. But not the beauty industry, which seems to be thriving.

Why would healthy and beauty be growing, while other industries remain flat in the country?

Inexpensive Ego Boosts Are Popular

It could be that people simply need a boost. When unemployment is nearly 23 percent, “inexpensive ego-boosts go a long way” reports PRI’s Marco Werman.

Salon manager Patricia Marquez explains, “a person needs to feel handsome to feel comfortable with themselves, she says. “If they don’t look good it doesn’t matter what they do; you have to feel comfortable in your own skin.”

“The well-groomed will be well positioned when opportunity knocks.”

The Salon Index as Spain’s Economic Indicator on PRI’s The World Listen Here

One theory says that during an uncertain economy, women take refuge in beauty products, especially lipstick, according to Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder.

In 2001, Lauder claimed that sales of lipstick go up whenever the economy goes down. During times of distress, women skip the clothes and shoes, finding satisfaction in simpler beauty enhancements like lipstick.

Analda Santano, who works at the busy Cinema Nails salon, agrees with Lauder’s theory. She explains that people want to be prepared when the economic crisis finally ends and jobs become available. “The well-groomed will be well positioned when opportunity knocks,” she said.

In America, A Similar, But More Expensive, Story

The Daily Beast reports this week on a similar trend back home. “We might be cutting back on basics, but we’re pouring money into our looks,” writes Rebecca Dana, who offers some peculiar statistics about the cosmetic surgery industry:

Between 2009 and 2010, Americans spent 3.8 percent less on food, 2 percent less on housing, 1.4 percent less on clothes, and 7 percent less on entertainment. At the same time, we spent 1.3 percent more on breast augmentation, 5.1 percent more on lipo, 8.1 percent more on eyelid surgery, and a whopping 24.4 percent more on butt lifts.

In a recession economy, looking good appears to be a high priority for Americans and Europeans alike. Perhaps it is important to remember the multitude of other ways you can reinvent yourself during uncertain times. You can get an “inexpensive ego boost” from a class, a book, or a new venture.

Honing your skills as well as your looks will keep you competitive in the job market.

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