It's good to see some Americans are keeping themselves primped and pretty as the economy plummets.

If the fiscal first-quarter results of

Alberto-Culver

(ACV) - Get Report

are any indication, Americans still want their beauty products.

The Melrose Park, Ill., company, which announced earnings and sales Monday that beat expectations, makes TreSemme, Alberto VO5, Nexxus, St. Ives and Noxzema, most of which are competitively priced.

On the conference call, CEO V. James Marino said some of the company's success can simply be attributed to the willingness of some people "to treat themselves to a small indulgence in a very difficult environment. Consumers aren't going down to 99 cents

for shampoo and conditioner. They're going from $3.99 to $2.99."

Earnings rose 2% to $31.7 million, or 32 cents per share, from $30.9 million, or 31 cents per share last year. EPS from continuing operations, excluding restructuring and tax items, was 41 cents. Sales rose 3% to $352.8 million from $343.2 million, powered by growth in Tresemme and Nexxus hair products.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted earnings of 34 cents and sales of $350.3 million.

The company generated organic sales growth in both the U.S. and abroad and continued to see positive results from international expansion.

Alberto-Culver even passed along a price increase to its retail outlets and raised its dividend by 15.4% to 7.5 cents per share. The company also plans to increase its advertising spending.

"It's a testament to our brands and our people who made it happen," said Carol Lavin Bernick, executive chairman.

Shares were recently trading up $1.08 to $25.41.

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