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Forget the Lipstick Indicator, It's All About the Nails
CNBC.com | September 19, 2011 | 03:46 PM EDT

Forget about the bag, the shoes, and the lip gloss. For Spring 2012, nails are the most fashion-forward accessory on the runways of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week , and there may be a reason: the economy.

"The recession and innovation have re-energized the category and clearly played a part in the resurgence," said Bill Boraczek, senior vice president of Global Marketing at Sally Hansen .

"(Estee Lauder Chairman) Leonard Lauder talked about the lipstick index...Today, I believe it should be called the nail polish index," Boraczek said, referring to the concept that women indulge in little pleasures like lipstick when economic times are rough.

In the past, the indicator was lipstick, in today's recession it is nail polish.

"Since the recession, nail color growth has exceeded the growth of the entire cosmetics category at a greater rate every year," he said.

The industry rang up $327 million in nail polish sales to the mass market, and sales have grown 21 percent in the first half of this year, according to market researcher NPD Group . The mass market includes nail polish sold in supermarkets, drug stores, but excludes sales to Wal-Mart Stores .

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