Why Southern Women Will Always Put On Lipstick

Mask or not.

You might have heard of the lipstick index, a strange indicator of economic turmoil. Historically, the lipstick index has risen during hard times, reflecting the fact that women often treated themselves to a little tube when there wasn't room for much else in the budget. Not surprisingly with all the mask wearing, the lipstick index has completely been derailed during the past year. We're not seeing the normal rise in lipstick purchases that we have witnessed during other periods of economic downturn but, I'm not quite convinced that statistic speaks to the Southern half of the country.

Throughout the past year I've often referred to my "mask lips." You know when you take off your face covering or mask and lipstick is smudged all over? Lipstick-loving women know this to be a thing now. I apply some form of lip color just about every day and I bet there are countless other Southern women who have been doing just the same, day in and day out, no matter what life throws at them, masks included.

The first few months of the pandemic, I barely put on mascara, taking each day in a kind of haze. But then Easter hit, and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to turn a new leaf and get a little dressed up. I thought it might spur in me a more rosy outlook. It did. Ever since, I've been starting each day like I've got somewhere to go and someone to see. And let me tell you, it can do wonders for the psyche.

While I know not everyone finds joy in getting dressed and putting on a full face just to be hidden behind a mask, I do think that is has a certain appeal for the routine-lovers among us who crave that normalcy during times when things are so beyond that. There's something to be said about finishing my daily 10-minute mirror time with a swipe or two. It's the finishing touch, the jolt of energy, the suite of armor I need to keep on trucking. Plus, it's really hard to go cold-turkey on a good red.

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