So, we’re back in a recession then But you only need to take a peek inside the average bathroom cabinet to see that something very strange is going on.
At any one time, the majority of us could take on the local branch of Boots with the assortment of potions and lotions we like to keep to hand at home.
And that backs up all the indicators that suggest the UK beauty industry has fared better than many in these times of economic uncertainty.
That’s a bit strange when you think about it, because while we’ll always need to eat, we can survive perfectly well without lipstick, powder and paint.
Yet the number of nail bars and self-tanning studios that have popped up on our high streets over the past 10 years – and the endless stream of new product launches – shows where our priorities lie.
Cheap thrills keep us going throughout a recession. Maybe George Osborne should forget about taxing pasties and concentrate on skin cream because the link between the two things can’t be coincidental.
The deeper the doom and gloom financially, the more we try to bury our heads in a big pile of beauty products – despite the fact that most of the stuff we buy offers little but a lesson in delusion and is therefore a monumental waste of money.
The latest bottle in my cabinet, for example, is a firming oil that promises to tone in two weeks. But not even a daily work-out at the gym could sculpt muscle definition from my bingo wings in such a brief period of time. So why am I lathering the beauty equivalent of vegetable oil on to my body day and night?
Men don’t escape either. There’s a foam that promises to give them hair, but if it really was that simple, the world would be free from terrible weaves and Bruce Forsyth-style comb-overs by now.
Our vanity clearly knows no bounds. Look, we say, I might be in debt but at least my nails will look nice when I’m fending off the bailiffs.
It’s interesting to see how far we’ve come from the ‘make do and mend’ motto to the instant makeovers of today.
But when are we finally going to realise that anti-wrinkle cream won’t make life rosy? Heck, it won’t even make us less wrinkly.