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Andrea Felsted

Can Revlon Be Saved With a Surge in the Lipstick Index?

The storied brand has fallen victim to the same type of problems that toppled traditional department stores. But will an economic downturn give it a glowup?

Revlon used to be the name of the game.

Revlon used to be the name of the game.

Photographer: Chaloner Woods/Hulton Archive

The beauty industry is having its department store moment: American cosmetics giant Revlon Inc., controlled by billionaire Ron Perelman, filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy late Wednesday. The company had assets of $2.3 billion as of late April and total debts of $3.7 billion, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday. It’s the clearest indication yet of the impact of shifting consumer habits on the beauty industry. 

Against the backdrop of Revlon’s heavy debt load, upstart brands are in the ascendancy — from those created by members of the Kardashian clan to luxe names such as Charlotte Tilbury, as well as trends that quickly go viral on Instagram or TikTok.