Estee Lauder once remarked that lipstick sales actually increased in times of economic hardship, but what has become known as the Lipstick Theory doesn't seem to apply to cosmetic procedures. This morning's New York Post noted that sales of expensive procedures - Botox, teeth whitening and boob jobs - are sagging.

The indicators are grim. Plastic surgeons in California are seeing demand for Botox slackening off; a big manufacturer of silicone implants has seen its stock price collapse by 35%; a survey by the investment bank Merrill Lynch found that cosmetic surgeons predict Botox sales will be slumping this year; Allergan, which makes Botox, has lost 20% of the value of its shares.