There's an old saying that in ugly economic times, lipstick sales go through the roof. It makes sense: A new shade of lipstick is an affordable -- and easy-to-justify -- splurge. So what better time than now to pretty up your portfolio with beauty-industry stocks?

Hold on a second! Back away from the cosmetics counter, investors. Pick the wrong shade of stock, and your portfolio could end up looking like the bottom of our makeup bags -- littered with a bunch of pretty shades of shadows, lip stains and powders that proved unflattering after we got them home.

Pay attention, guys. You're on our turf now.

Ding dong! Anyone home?
Our male counterparts can be forgiven for their misguided cosmetic industry purchases … to a point. We're here to set the record straight about a beauty company that guy investors seem to be gushing over.

When was the last time you thought about the Avon Lady? Exactly. But somehow, Wall Street didn't get that memo.

Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) shares recently enjoyed major trading interest, thanks to rumors that L'Oreal might acquire it. That speculation implies a lot more positivity than we can muster. So far, the rumor has failed to translate into reality, and Avon's business outlook keeps looking worse.