Back to resources

The “lipstick” effect – how dentists are experiencing a surge in demand for cosmetic work

Loven Ganeswaran


The “lipstick” effect is a theory that during economic crises, the sales of less-costly luxury goods will go up. It’s believed that this effect can be traced back to the Great Depression, where cosmetic sales continued even though many people were out of work and struggling financially. This continuation of purchasing has also taken place in WW2 (alongside a propaganda campaign to wear make-up as a patriotic duty) and after other historically significant events. 

At the beginning of lockdown, UK online beauty sales soared by an impressive 53%, supposedly because consumers were turning to self-care that they could manage at home. It’s now believed that this increase in sales is the beginning of a similar “lipstick” effect to those that have been recorded in the past. Instead of indulging in unnecessary luxuries, consumers are focusing on products and treatments that make them feel good about themselves and can help them to improve their lives from the comfort of their own home. 

Alongside this beauty-sale-boom, there has been a significant increase in the uptake of aesthetic and cosmetic surgeries. It’s believed that this is for two main reasons: that more people are becoming self-conscious after seeing themselves on Zoom, and that lockdown offers the opportunity for people to undertake and heal from procedures discreetly. Consequently, some cosmetic surgeries have seen appointments double since the beginning of March.

What does this mean for cosmetic dentistry? 

With the ‘lipstick effect’ in full swing, dentists are experiencing a surge in demand for aesthetic and cosmetic dentistry. It could be considered that this is due to several factors. With more dentists embracing the digital, patients are now able to consider and access the cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry treatments they might have been interested in without a trip to the practice. This means that patients can access professional, high-standard, and bespoke care from their dentists to ensure that they’re getting the quality treatment journey they need – all without leaving their house. 

Interestingly, booking for initial remote consultations for aesthetic and cosmetic treatments has seen a huge boom over the last few months. It’s believed that this is because remote appointments are accessible, take up little time, and are often cheaper than in-person consultations – meaning it’s likely that remote consultations will continue to increase in popularity after the pandemic.  

End-to-end teledentistry platform, Chairsyde, allows dentists to provide exceptional patient services remotely. With a package of animations, photographs, annotations, and a bespoke visual treatment journey for patients – dentists can provide aesthetic and cosmetic treatment options clearly and effectively. Already we’ve seen dentists experiencing up to a 32% increase in treatment uptake through using Chairsyde. 

It’s an interesting time to consider the ways that patients prioritise their spending and what matters most to them. Ensuring that as practice you’re in a position to facilitate your patients’ needs remotely and give them access to the services they need is vitally important.

Suggested reading

A new era of patient communication

A new era of patient communication

Anirudh Kapoor explains how Chairsyde is helping to transform patient communication. Dentistry has seen various changes through time. The last year has been no exception with the COVID-19 global pandemic sparking various arguments and opinions about the way that...

How to make a dental photography portfolio

How to make a dental photography portfolio

Creating a dental photography portfolio is now considered to be a must for dentists – especially ones who are just starting their career. A good portfolio can help you to stand out in a crowd and showcase specific skills when applying for a job.  As dentists...

Sign up for the latest insights
direct to your inbox

    Please see our Privacy Policy for more information