The term was coined by Leonard Lauder - then-chairman of Estee Lauder - during the 2001 recession. He noted that in the autumn of that year lipstick sales rose, indicating that women facing an uncertain environment turn to beauty products as an affordable indulgence while they cut back on more-expensive items.
From: The Lipstick Index Has a Luxury Twist (Bloomberg Gadfly, June 3, 2016)
Leonard Lauder was right: when times get tough, reach for lipstick. Rabenmütter would like to add: when times get tough, reach for organic lipstick.