The Beauty Industry Grew During the Recession. Now Men are Driving its Success.

As heard on Drivetime

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Rhona Tarrant examines Ireland’s growing Beauty Industry.  Click play above to listen to her report. 

When Sue Jordan began her beauty blog during the recession in 2011, she noticed that content about high-end lipstick performed better than almost any other product she wrote about. She looked into why and discovered a well-established trend: when the economy is shaky, lipstick sales increase as women seek to boost their mood with a less expensive alternative to larger purchases.

Ireland is not unique. After the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York shook the US economy, Estée Lauder reported a surge in sales for lipstick. The trend is backed up by a study and is a fascinating insight into how beauty buying becomes an act of empowerment during tough economic times. While working on a series on the industry for Drivetime this summer, it was surprising to learn that cosmetic companies were among a small number of luxury brands that increased sales during the recession. People may have had less disposable income but aspirations of beauty increased.

The hair and beauty sector has also experienced significant growth since 2012. Research from found a 105% increase in jobs in the sector from 2012 to 2017, with men driving the growth. In a country where men were often discouraged from taking excessive pride in their appearance, attitudes are changing. Stephen McEvoy, who runs a male grooming salon in Dublin, theorised that has as much to do with changing social norms as the Instagram generation in which everyone feels under the microscope.

During the series, I also looked at cosmetics procedures and how the lip filler industry is dangerously unregulated. Current laws mean people providing lip fillers don’t need a medical qualification, including those injecting the substance. I spoke to one woman whose experience with left her with significant damage to her lips and a large medical bill to fix it.

Researching the reports was an interesting insight into how much Irish women and men are spending on their appearance and how the industry is growing to meet the demand.

Click play above to listen to the full report and for more from Drivetime just click here.

© The Listener 2018

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