We've gone from perfecting our pout to getting our claws out if retail sale figures are anything to go by, writes Judy Johnson

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Historically, lipstick has been the quickest, cheapest way to instantly make a fashion statement in the beauty world, but new figures from Mintel predict that nail colour might be about to overtake as our number one beauty fix.

Their research shows that it's likely sales of nail polish will exceed those of lipstick for the first time ever this year. If they're right, the industry would see £233 million of sales of nail products compared with £232 million for lipsticks in the UK by the end of 2013.

From the red pout of Marilyn Monroe right through to the Scarlett Johanssons and Madonnas of today, whether it be a bold, nude or even bejewelled lip as per Jessie J in Do It Like A Dude (we won't judge), lippie has long been the frontrunner of beauty sales. But anyone with an interest in cosmetics will have noticed the surge in nail experimentation over the past two years, with new product innovations leading the way for consumers to get creative.

New textures and technologies have seen caviar nails, concrete-feel nails, chalkboard nails , matte nails, tie-dye nails and even creative twists on top coats  among others feeding the trend for nail art and inventive manicures.

Charlotte Libby of Mintel explains, "An explosion of new textures and effects is emerging which allows young women in particular to easily personalise their nail look. Nail make-up is also relatively purse-friendly, offering a range of affordable options and results that do not need daily application, cementing its position as a go-to sector for all consumer budgets."

It's no wonder, then, that the bigger names are getting in on the act. Clinique launched its first nail polish range , a sensitive-skin friendly formulation, earlier this year, while Marc Jacobs has recently launched a colour collection too.

Whether the overtaking of sales happens remains to be seen - personally, we like to wear both at all times. Which side are you on?